Tag Archives: in prayer

When Fasting—In Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – January 15, 2015

fasting - empty plate

When Fasting—In Prayer

Fasting. Renunciation. Doing without. Skipping a meal—or two, or three.

Fasting may not be considered “popular” or trendy in certain circles today. Maybe, just maybe, believers in God could consider fasting, again. And perhaps, you or your friends already fast. And pray. If so, wonderful!

For some people, fasting is one among many spiritual disciplines. Even if you have never fasted yourself, you probably have some familiarity with the idea of it. The idea of doing without, abstaining from food, even from drink, is centuries old. For example, “giving up” or abstaining from something as part of a Lenten discipline.

Some years ago, I did, indeed, fast. On a fairly regular basis, I ate no food for some amount of time. Usually a twenty-four hour period of time. But a number of times, I went without food for two days, and even three days, several times. When I was in the middle of this practice, I often felt the benefit. At times, I felt a clarity, a freedom in prayer and communication with God.

But then, I felt this clarity and freedom at other times when I was not fasting, as well. Note: there is no sure-fire formula, no seven-easy-steps for having a deep, significant encounter with God every single time!

 Now is the time for a necessary caution. If anyone has any issues with eating, or with your health, be careful. Perhaps even ask your doctor or another health professional about fasting and whether it might possibly be hazardous for you. Be prudent and cautious, please. Be wise, not foolhardy. I care about you and whether what I suggest—fasting—may be damaging or hurtful. If so, don’t do it! There are many other ways to come close to God.

For many throughout the world, fasting is a proven aid to prayer. As our helpful prayer guide Rev. Howell says, “Fasting is giving up something good in itself, something I have and love, but which I do without for a time for the sake of God. When we satisfy every desire, and as often as possible, then our deeper desire for God comes to be masked over, desensitized.” [1]

Fasting usually is in reference to food (primarily) and drink (secondarily). But fasting can also be from other things, too. What about a silent retreat—fasting from speaking? Or fasting from media—no screens, for a period of time? You could be creative in choosing something to fast from. God loves it when we use the creativity God installed within each of us.

I don’t do food fasts very often now, because of health reasons. Yet, I know that this is a valid, beneficial, centuries-old practice. Praise God, I can find a way to focus in on spiritual things and develop my daily spiritual walk with my God, my Higher Power. So, help me, God.

For more information and a good, basic introduction, I suggest the chapter on fasting from Richard Foster’s classic book on spiritual disciplines, A Celebration of Discipline.

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blog, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.

[1] James C. Howell, The Beautiful Work of Learning to Pray, Abingdon Press (Nashville, TN: 2003), 53.

Using Scripture in Prayer—the Light to My Path

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – January 10, 2015

PRAY God's word light to my path PS119

Using Scripture in Prayer—the Light to My Path

Scripture—one of my favorite helps for praying. And, one of the ways that is most easily accessible to me, too! Now, that is for me, and not for everyone. (See my related post from Friday, found here: Ways to Pray—the Individual Way http://wp.me/p43g3i-6o)

Because of my personality, temperament, and way of dealing with the world and with my inner self, I find that scripture is an easily-used tool for prayer. One of my favorite verses from the Bible is found in Psalm 119, that wonderful acrostic Psalm that uses God’s Word as a theme and centerpiece in its composition and in each verse. Psalm 119:105 reads “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” So true. God’s Word not only helps me know how to pray and why I am to pray, but it also assists me in the wording and vocabulary of prayer.

A steady diet of Scripture and regular bible reading and study helps me keep on an even keel, and assists me to stay anchored in God’s will and ways. Otherwise, who knows where I would end up? Probably bobbing somewhere in the ocean of my own self-indulgent thoughts and feelings.

Is there someone out there who has a question about wordless prayer? As the Apostle Paul mentioned in Romans 8, what about those prayers that are so deep that we can’t even find any words for them? Well, yes. So true. The letter to the Roman believers lets us know that the Holy Spirit helps us to pray, and even helps us when we don’t have any words to express our deepest longings, those deepest desires and groans that come out of the depths of our souls.

No matter what the situation, God is so pleased when we read the Bible. What a wonderful way for me to get more familiar with God’s will and ways.

Through reading God’s Word, I can more readily know and understand what pleases God, and how to experience and communicate God’s love.

Let’s pray. Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for the Bible. Help me—help us to read it regularly, so that we can understand You and Your character. Thank You for this excellent opportunity to know You in spirit and in truth. Thank You for hearing us when we pray. Amen.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blog, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.

Sound or Silence? God is with Us in Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – January 10, 2015

GOD Draw near to God Jas 4-8

Sound or Silence? God is with Us in Prayer

Silence—and its polar opposite, noise. Rev. Howell says some penetrating things about both subjects. Like fearing silence, and being distracted by noise.

Do I fear silence, Lord? And, what about the opposite? I know I am so easily distracted by noise. (And pretty, shiny objects, too.)

I can vividly remember, in my teens and twenties, shying away from silence. I was often afraid of being alone. Yet, I also clung to God and was alone in the Heavenly presence. I started my relationship with God, my seeking to know God more intimately, in those decades. I can also remember some significant times of prayer and communion with God, in those decades.

Often, even now, I avoid silence, avoid self-reflection and self-discovery. I know—intellectually—that God knows me more intimately than I can possibly know myself, yet I can be afraid. As Howell says, we can be “afraid that God might just disturb us, afraid that God might really take us somewhere we prefer not to go.” [1] (40)

God willing, may God guide and guard us always, wherever we may travel in life.

Alleluia, amen!

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blog, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.

[1] James C. Howell, The Beautiful Work of Learning to Pray, Abingdon Press (Nashville, TN: 2003), 40.