I could have thought up a catchy title to this blog about prayer and fasting. I felt it best just to strip things back and merely reflect! and share with you my learning and experiences over such a period. I do not intend to reveal when this prayer and fasting season occurred or why it took place, as that is something which is between me and our Heavenly Father.
I spoke to my close friend about this topic and she mentioned in passing for me to consider sharing my own learning. I will be doing this, but I am also going to highlight to you the wonders of the living God, during what I would call an intense period. I am also going to provide you with some biblical scriptures which strengthened me and will also encourage you to.
In Matthew 6:16-18 Jesus gives specific instructions over how we should conduct ourselves during the fasting period “and when you fast don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you that is the only reward they will ever get, but when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your father, who knows what you do in private. And your father, who sees everything, will reward you.
When thinking back to the start of the period of fasting and prayer I was worried! Why? I hear you ask. Well, I could list a number of reasons, but what I have learned is that by doing so there is a danger of making a situation far bigger and worse than it actually is or would turn out to be. Please remember this !!!! Don’t give a situation/or a negative thought more power than it deserves. Don’t dwell on it or on what may go wrong!
Instead “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” 1Peter 5:7
During the period of prayer and fasting, I was working within an office setting where I am confronted with different challenges, different meetings and dealing with different personalities. Ordinarily, you may be thinking that you do this all the time, what made this period time you are referring to so different? Well, my intentions were to ensure that a special guest, who I am sometimes not deliberately sideline or keep in one room was with me in all the rooms, who I am referring to I hope will become clearer during this blog.
During this fast and prayer period, I was initially battling with my body over helping it adapt to the fact that I had made changes over what was going to be consumed physically and otherwise. I also was conscious of not letting my inner challenges manifest themselves in a public environment. As I was not looking for sympathy from colleagues but gaining the right frequency to Him. I attempted to tune out in the working environment, whilst fulfilling the duties of my job asked of me. The interference of distractions became more explicit, at least to begin with from small things such as smells of foods to urges, to check my own smartphone, office conversations, banter became more pronounced.
As I stated at the outset of the blog my intention is to share my overall reflections. My special guest was with me, and I had my part to play in drawing closer to Him and if interference occurs as my friend often would tell me “you have to crack on and push through”! and I did just that.
I want to illustrate to you all of my sincere intentionality of spending more time with my Heavenly Father during that particular working week . Before I do that let me be real and share what some of us do, myself included to our Heavenly Father by providing an example we may be able to relate with.
Imagine your parent/ carer comes to see you at school, college, work place whilst your in the middle of your lesson, or serving a customer and you feel a little embarrassed and speak to them whilst you are in the middle of something, you briefly and the ask them leave quickly. That was something I was not prepared to do this week or again to my Lord.
Don’t misunderstand me I would be fulfilling my working duties and responsibilities but I was going to use my work break times for more focused time with Him and on my way to different settings seek out those who maybe need to have a chat with me over things not necessarily work related.
I ventured out not hamstrung at my desk awaiting the next telephone call or meeting, listening to some praise and worship music, going for a walk and sitting down on a park bench. During this specific week, people approached me and struck up conversation over how their day had been, and I was able to offer reassuring words.
Significantly I was able to have a long conversation with a work friend, who I had not spoken with for a while ,we shared a lot, it was the right time for us to have caught up and conversed, we would normally bump into each other briefly exchange hellos and then move along, this time was different, we spoke for an hour, may be more offered each other encouragement.
When the prophet Isaiah mentions what God views as what a period of fasting should truly involve he mentions this.
Isaiah 58:10 ” Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon”. Please do read Isaiah 58-6-12
When thinking back on that period of time God made a way, the path for me seeking him was made clear as I had wrongly perceived that there would be many obstacles placed before me in a work setting which may have hindered or interfered with my pursuit of him. Outside of work there were challenges. This period of time was really intense, and after some adaptations which I had to make it was a rewarding experience leading me to want more.
The final day came and my my mind began to think about food shopping , It was never really about the food this period! . Whilst inside the supermarket , I picked up a plethora of items soft drinks, bunch of fruit, meat, biscuits and tea etc. A normal shop on a Friday for many people. Something felt different I got home with my bags, I was not really enthused to even empty the shopping bag content . Instead I returned to the routine which I had started and had served me well for the preceding days and gave thanks.
My friend asked me a few days later, knowing I’m a chef, he says modestly, how was your meal, I was real with her and said I did go shopping but It didn’t feel right cook and indulge. Something had changed and stirred in me
This is kind of reminds me of the walk I’m on with Christ. Tastes change, mindsets shift, priorities change. Whilst I will maintain a healthy diet, and the body will adapt . The period was never really about food, or not being on social media, or refraining from alcohol etc. Whilst those are bi- products it was more about true connection to our Source. Notice I have emphasised that point several times.
Another way to describe my feelings at the end was kind of like you have travelled to another country which very tranquil and peaceful .You return back, to the fast paced society. I am gonna be real I waivered a little bit.. I prayed. The below scripture encouraged me and was referred to during a service I attended, emphasising the importance of being strong and in also carrying out God’s work.
1Corinthians 15:58 “So my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless”.
This blog is partly for me and for you in not forgetting that we can focus and maintain contact with Him despite distractions and during a prolonged period in his presence positive change has already begun, try it!