Small Group is a place where I meet up with some mates from my local church. We pray together, read the bible together and encourage each other in our faith. At the moment we are reading a book together, The Celebration of Discipline, by Richard Foster.
In the chapter on ‘fasting’ we actually tried it out, rather than just read about it. Over the course of a normal work day, none of us ate breakfast or lunch. We met at the end of the day to break the fast; share a meal together and relate our experiences.
The point of fasting of course is not just to go hungry. Nor is there anything wrong with food or with eating. It is after all one of the very tenants of our existence! The challenge of Foster’s book is to put God first; to let nothing come between Him and us. Very easy to say, very hard to do.
During my fast, at times when I would otherwise be eating, I either read my bible or spent the time in prayer. While there was no startling revelation per se, indeed I have read my bible and prayed many times before, just the action of inviting God into times and places where I usually do not, subtly changed my perspective to be more gracious and light of spirit. Inevitably this experience left me wanting to seek God more.
During the day I found my stomach acted as a quiet (rumbly) reminder that this day was a day to seek God. An opportunity to not be distracted by routines and the often selfish living.
Foster says in his book that “fasting reveals the things that control us.” I realised today that I have an obsession with food that is controlling. Jesus says, “hunger and thirst for righteousness, then you will be filled.” I intend to fast again next week.
5 The discipline of Confession