Sunday, 11 January 2009
by miss sunflower
Right now, my mother (and my church in my home town) is doing a corporate fast as a part of the fasting movement that Jentezen Franklin has started. I'm not sure when the movement started exactly, but this is at least the second or third year that my mom has participated in such a fast.
As I was flipping the channels this evening to find some mindless entertainment, I came across Pastor Franklin's broadcast and stopped to learn more about the movement and I was inspired. After the show, I jumped on the website to learn more and was pleased to see how organized everything was; he outlines the types of fasts, why you should do it, health concerns, etc..
I wholeheartedly believe that fasting under the right conditions can change lives and bring you closer to God. I've seen it happen for others, but my previous attempts at fasting have been for more superficial reasons.
If you remember, I posted awhile back about the thinking fast that I participated in that was sponsored by Pastor Gregory Dickow. I'm wired to be very cynical, so when I was diligently participating, I felt myself change; unfortunately I wasn't as disciplined as I should have been, so I'm doing this again for sure. However I must admit that my personal experience with traditional fasting has been very flawed.
The first time I really fasted was back in 1999 when I graduated from high school. My two good friends were planning a trip to Disney World to celebrate our graduation and just to have one last hurrah before we started college and went our separate ways. The problem was that my mom couldn't afford to send me--she was a single parent and had four kids, so money was always an issue for us. Any extra money was being put aside to make sure that I had all the necessities that I needed for school in a few months, so that I could stay afloat while I was looking for a job.
I wanted to go on this trip so badly, that I put it in my head to fast so that God would help me; I didn't eat anything until after 5pm and I didn't watch anything but Christian programming. So when the money came for me to go on the trip, I was thrilled. The second time I attempted fasting was a year and a half ago when I was applying for law school. I didn't listen to any type of secular music for 3 months, so I thought I was doing something super special! I was very disappointed when I got rejected, but I'm working on my Master's now, so it all worked out.
In retrospect, I realize how silly it was for me to fast for a trip (I was just 17 then, so cut me some slack on that one) and to get accepted into law school. I truly believe that God cares about everything that concerns me, including my little superficial wants and my desires to excel, but my heart was not in the right place when I fasted before. God didn't give me these instructions, I made up my own rules to my little game, expecting for God to swoop down like a genie and give me what I wanted--never mind the fact that I had made little to no effort back then to have any type of real relationship with Him. I liken my former self to a kid that is only nice to his/her parents when they want something and treats them like crap when life is running smoothly.
I'm still not sure if I'm going to participate in the 21 day fast now, but I know that my heart and mind are open to fasting for more substantial reasons; for consecration and a deeper commitment to God rather than some form of "spiritual wish making".
Have you ever fasted before? What did you fast and how was your experience?