Neighbors: Fasting for the City and the World, Part II

Dec 31, 2007

(Please refer to “Fasting for the City and the World, Part I for the introduction to this piece.)

Why was it so difficult to get into the swing of a 24-hour weekly fast? “Primarily, it’s that I had become used to the luxury of eating when I want until I am full,” said our nonetheless determined striver. “So the first time I fasted, it felt like I was suffering a lot. I was intensely aware of feeling faint. Everything I looked at reminded me of food. It seemed that so many of my thoughts and actions were attached to the idea of food—making food, buying food, meeting people for food…It was overwhelming.

“The first time I tried fasting, I just gave in and I felt bad—guilty that I couldn’t even go 24 hours,” she continued. “But eventually I came to realize that God was there with me, and to remember that there were others trying to do the same thing with me. I knew, too, as a human being, that this ‘failure’ was a part of my human side, and that this was one of the very weaknesses I was intended to learn about. The temptations we face every day. So I knew that I must keep trying.

“The first time was the worst, and then it got easier,” she notes. “Whether it was because I knew what to expect, I’m not sure. There were medical issues as well, and once I understood those and how to address them, things went much more smoothly”.

This person has been refining her fasting routine for over six months now, and is encouraged by her every little triumph. “When I fast, if I feel myself slipping, I turn to God for help. During this time, he’s in your thoughts more frequently. That’s another benefit of fasting. You feel closer to God. I don’t know if ‘oneness’ might not be going too far, but you definitely feel closer.”

She shares a final thought on the foundation for her deepening fasting practice: “The most important thing is to keep reminding yourself of why you’re doing it: It’s linked with prayer. In my case, prayer for the community and the world. It’s been a boon to me, because after doing it I can say, ‘Well, now I’ve done this, I’m praying for all of us—and I believe in the power of prayer, and that this is an important job I’m doing with other believers.”