So my friend Suzy recently finished observing Ramadan, a month of daylight fasting. And we started chatting about fasting and whether or not Christians fast. I’ve had a few thoughts.
My Catholic friends are all very accustomed to fasting during the Lenten season, forty days from Ash Wednesday to Easter. Unlike Ramadan where no food or drink can be taken in during daylight hours, Catholics during lent give up something in their lives as a sacrifice to God. My dear Catholic friend (one who I have had many enlightening Catholic/Protestant debates with over the years) feels that fasting during Lent draws her closer to the Lord instead of the things of this earth.
So what about me, a Protestant Christian? I have fasted before in similar to Lent mechanics. I always give up my greatest temptation, sweets. That’s what hurts the most (check out my hips if you don’t believe me). I start out by letting God know: I tell him what exactly I’m giving up (I need to be precise, otherwise I find ways to cheat), I tell God for how long, (this gives me a finish line to keep my focus, and anyone who knows me, knows I have focus issues) and most importantly, I let God know why I’m doing it. I present my specific prayer request since in the Bible fasting and praying go together like chocolate and peanut butter. See, how hard giving up sweets is for me? So, I’ve found in my own life, that fasting is my way of letting God know that a specific prayer request is extra important to me.
Would love comments on your own personal experiences with fasting.