Each week in the classroom I have a chance to say to a diligent child, pressing in while poring over his or her math work, “Keep at it. You know, practice makes better.”
The phrase has been “Practice makes perfect” for way too long–practice will never make us perfect, but it will make us better.
About two years ago I began a spiritual practice that has greatly impacted my life, especially lately.
I sensed God telling me to fast 2 meals every Friday as a way to intercede for a struggling family member. I somehow knew in ‘my knower’ that the action itself would just move things. Don’t ask me how, I was simply confident in the power of fasting. Unschooled but confident.
Fasting now has been a regular part of what I do every Friday, so much so that I actually look forward to it. My list of people I pray for (out loud and in my spirit) has grown. Denying my flesh is letting my spirit grow more in tune with God, and skipping meals is getting easier.
Now, I cannot go away to a quiet place to pray. There is no closet………I spend my days at an elementary school.
But I can stand aside at recess and pray in place with one eye on the playground.
I can walk and talk quietly to my Heavenly Father while in the hallways to and from music and PE and all the other places I’m to and fro-ing.
Fasting is NOT a traditional part of my spiritual background; I have been a believer for 40 years in the Protestant/Charismatic faith, with a more ‘modern’ view of church practices. But I often think important things have been lost in all that modernity–there is something powerful in pursuing spiritual practices as we observe the seasons in our life.
To that end, I have been been paying more and more attention to the liturgical calendar and the seasons–such as Lent–researching the Biblical references to fasting. What does The Word have to say about it anyway?
In his book “God’s Chosen Fast”, Arthur Wallis reminds us that our Saviour didn’t say I F you fast, He said W H E N you fast (Matthew 6:16-18).
Jesus urged his followers to do something new, stepping aside from their Hebrew ways, to instead anoint themselves with oil and wash their faces when they fasted–so they would shine–shine with joy and peace and light.
That is my desire–to lift Christ up wherever I am and be a witness for Him, drawing people to my Father’s light.
Wallis goes on to define God’s chosen fast as,
In my set apart time I am certain it is accomplishing God’s will and my in-my-spirit prayers, in the words that I don’t say, are prayers from the Father.
then share it with others as
appropriate and respectful.