Though I am not usually a participant in Lent, this year, due to the gravity of the spiritual war we are in while planting Hope Fellowship, I decided it would be a good idea to observe the spiritual discipline of fasting. I'm running a couple of fasts for Lent: I have sworn off Coke (I'm a two-a-day type) and I have chosen a day each week to fast from food. The day I've chosen isn't important--I don't want to appear to be fishing for praise from men and thus have my reward.
The Coke thing is hard: I have refrigerator full of them in my classroom and a refrigerator full of them at work at Domino's. The fasting from food for a day was difficult, but not as hard as the Cokes--I knew food was just hours away.
So what did I learn?
I'm not doing it for holiness, per se, or as a rote Christian requirement. The desire for those things I've given up are used as a stimulus to pray for and about our church plant.
And let me tell you, it works.
As if planting a church isn't on my mind enough, it is a constant burden while fasting. But it was an easy yoke. I knew throughout the experience that I was communing with God. My awareness of Him was heightened--not in any mystical, go-out-in-the-desert way--but in a way that had my entire day focused on Him. Through my hunger I found joy and assurance that He was in control, aware of everything we need as a family and church plant, and has every intention of fulfilling those needs in His good time and by His good methods. Incredible is a good word for the experience.
And the kicker? Less than a day after my first full fast, multiple prayers were answered.
Should it surprise anyone that God's ways, taught through His word, work?
Sometimes, I'm afraid, we are surprised. But it sure is an awesome surprise.