One of my closest friends practices fasting better than anyone I've ever met. Nearly every year during Lent, he fasts from food for six days in a row, eats on the Sabbath, and begins again the following day. I recently asked him to write about this practice, but being more Scripturally and spiritually attuned than I am, he begged off. Still, feeling there was value in others being able to read about this practice and with the possibility that others might even try to fast for a day for the first time in their lives, I convinced him to do it anonymously on my blog. He's going to keep a sort of diary each day and I'm going to share it here. I hope you find my friend's journey exciting and convicting.
Tuesday, February 27, 2018 Day 14 of Lent
Sunday evening I felt pretty hungry. I write that because that was unusual for last week, but I was ready to move into my eating day yesterday. A couple of things are developing though, in regards to my eating. First off, my stomach has shrunk down a bit, so I feel full a lot quicker than I normally would. This creates a problem because I often feel like I really need to eat on the day I eat, but I am not really able to eat as much as I initially want. On top of all of that, I eat like I normally would. Richard Foster, in his book, “Celebration of Discipline” talks about extended fasting (in an excellent chapter, btw) and that when you come off an extended fast you should ease into it with fruits and things like this. This is not how I do it, and my stomach hates me today for it. It’s a strange experience, but waking up the morning after eating, I feel a bit more sluggish and I have a bad taste in my mouth. Tuesday ends up being a day of getting back into balance. A final note on eating: I notice that our diet contains a lot of sodium. In our household, we aren’t even eating a ton of processed foods, really. But there is salt and sodium in everything, and I taste it more and more the longer the fast goes on.
My prayer life has gone well this year. There have only been a couple of times that I am not praying the four offices (morning, noon, evening, bedtime) each day. One of the things I find with my fasting is that I am much more consistent with prayer. It becomes a normal part of my routine. And I never know what is going to grab me from my prayer books. I think one of the things I want to focus on this week is the personal and relational aspect of prayer with God. By that I mean, I am experiencing much better focus, and I am challenged and convicted. I am aware of my dependence upon God, and I also feel grateful during different times. There is something about going without a main part of your life that brings into focus those things you take for granted and yet that are so important. These are all good and important things in the fast, but I think I need to either take note or pray more intentionally about experiencing the presence of God and the love of the Holy Spirit.
I’ll close with a reading from the Divine Hours that I read last night. It is a Celtic prayer:
The will of God be done by us;
The law of God be kept by us;
Our evil will controlled by us;
Our sharp tongue checked by us;
Speedy repentance made by us;
Temptation sternly shunned by us;
Blessed death welcomed by us;
Angel’s music heard by us;
God’s highest praises sung by us.