I recently got an email from a dear ‘blog’ friend, Jenn. She had some practical questions on fasting and I thought it would be helpful to post them here, so we could get lots of feedback. (with her permission, of course, thanks Jenn)
“I would like to ask you some questions on fasting. I know the general idea is to abstain from food and spend time in fervent prayer. My question is...How do I do this as a mom? My children are with me ALWAYS! Not eating is the easy part, but how do I get that deep connection with God if I am still having to go about my daily routine, interruptions and all? Is is really a fast if I am not able to spend LARGE chunks of time in prayer?”
Don’t we all wonder these things?
First off, I totally believe it is our heart before the Lord, not the actual mechanics and specifics of a fast that matters to Him. Let’s not get into some performance mode where we think we need to check things off a list to make the fast ‘count’. (speaking to me here )
I am in a season, with the ages of my children right now, that I can go into my room, for a half an hour or so at a time, for prayer. I usually do this at lunch time, putting an older one in charge.
I try to linger a little longer in my morning devotion time on a fasting day as well.
I am sure Brian would accommodate a chunk of time for me to set aside more time in the evening if I asked.
Setting aside time in the afternoon for ‘quiet time’ for everyone in the house is another time for prayer.
I also try to keep computer and distractions; phone, errands, etc. to a minimum on fasting days so that I can try to maintain a quieter heart, trying to ‘pray unceasingly’ throughout the day as I go about my duties.
I take more time to read scripture, even calling the children to listen for 15 minutes at a time if I need to keep them busy too.
I have a note on my fridge to remind me to pray. I have scripture on my bathroom wall, the fridge and in my ‘memory booklet’. I set a timer to stop and cry out to Him or praise Him.
It does take a little more effort, being a mama with children all around, but it can be done. Does it look like a saint of old on his face before the Lord for six hours every day, no! But again, the Father knows our hearts. Even the desire to seek Him more, or the attempt to, is what He looks at.
For me, the verse “the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force” comes to my mind. I simply cannot wait around waiting for the perfect time to fast and pray. I need to be ‘violent’, so to speak, with making the time. I can choose what to do with many of the hours of my day. Yes, some are out of my control, but I can choose to use the others for this purpose. I can plan ahead with cooking. I can not answer the phone. I can make the children play quietly. I can not turn on the computer. (did I just say that out loud????)
Cry out to God for wisdom. He will lead us into what fasting and praying should look like for each of us individually. He longs to answer our cries. He waits to be gracious to us.
One little reminder though, we are mamas and wives. We should not be shirking these duties so we can ‘seek the Lord’. I have been tempted to just shut myself in my room, because, come on, I am s.e.e.k.i.n.g. G.o.d. here! There are times I can be alone in my room having a wonderful time of prayer and then there are other times I need to keep the door open and sweetly (at least I try to respond sweetly) answer questions. I might only get through two things on my prayer list, but at least I got through two, right?
Please share thoughts and questions so we can all get some ideas and help each other. Thank you, Jenn, for sharing your question!