Here’s Karen’s second question:
On a more practical note I find fasting a meal doesn’t gain me any time to pray. Meal times I usually eat with my kids (4 1/2 and 2) and even if I fast I still have to sit with them and supervise their meal - certainly not conducive to wrestling in prayer. Maybe the answer is to fast from ebay or reading a book or something similar in the time they are resting after lunch as well….
How do we Fast A Meal and find time to pray with little kids (or a busy job etc.)? We could, as Karen suggests, “fast” from something else; Janelle talked about this in her post FAM Club Qualified.
But even if fasting a meal doesn’t open up a chunk of time for prayer, it can still help us seize many moments to pray. I addressed this topic in our original FAM Club series, beginning with a quote from Ian Duguid:
“If we find that we are forgetful to pray for a particular need, fasting will remind us to pray over and over through the alarm clock of our hunger pangs! If we find ourselves short of time for prayer, fasting creates space to pray in the time we would otherwise have been eating.”
Several of you asked how to make time for prayer in the midst of busy lives. It’s great if you are able, like my mom, to take advantage of the “space” a mealtime creates to get away and intercede on behalf of your family. But for me, with small children, that’s a little impractical. I barely have time to eat as it is! And I imagine that if you are on the job or in the classroom, extended prayer time might be difficult to come by.
But my hunger pains, and my sense of weakness from a lack of food are like a snooze alarm ringing throughout the day. Each time I think—“I’m so hungry” or “I want food” (which is pretty often!) I take the opportunity to reaffirm that yes, I am weak, I am powerless and that is why I am appealing to the All-Powerful One on behalf of my family members. I need food. But I need God even more. And so do my loved ones.
By the time I break my fast, I find I’ve prayed for my family members many times—certainly more than if I had not fasted. I’m grateful for the reminder.
Another FAM Club member, Esther, wrote in this week to tell us how she put this idea into practice:
I’ve never really understood how ‘fasting’ works until it was made so simple & yet so empowering when I read what Nicole wrote in ‘A Timely reminder’ on Jan 15,2008. Ever since then, I’ve been excited to fast & pray! Each time the hunger pangs come when I fast, I quickly pray “Lord, I need YOU to help (this family member) love YOU, more than I need food now.” “Lord, I need YOU to help me TRUST that YOU are able & eager to help (x), more than I need food now.” I never knew what a blessing ‘hunger pangs’ can be! They’ve served to remind me ever so persistently during the fast, that we need GOD! Here’s the good news! I’ve been fasting for my brother since then & what a joy it is to finally see the fruits! God has blessed him lately with a godly Christian brother mentor, he’s started doing daily devotions, & to me as a sister, what a joy it is because our relationship as a brother-sister has grown close! This year, I’m excited to fast for another family member. & I’ve invited my mom to join me! By God’s grace, we’ll see yet another breakthrough in HIS time.
Esther’s story can encourage us all to express our desperate need for God through fasting, and to eagerly look for His grace at work in our loved ones!