Saturday, May 16, 2009
prayer and fasting
Today has been quite an emotionally trying day for me. Perhaps you've been there. It all started last Sunday when some one was telling me about their family troubles. I was so touched and grieved over the situation, I blurted out "somebody has to do something", well perhaps that was in my brain. Before long, I decided that we should fast and pray over the situation. Now I have to begin by telling you that I am as carnal a Christian as the next person. I do not like fasting, however, it is needful and powerful to do with prayer. Before long, I heard of some more grievous situations. Again, I thought to myself "somebody has to do something!" and again I was reminded that it is my job to pray. Before long I was coordinating a corporate (church wide) fasting and prayer mission directed at and on behalf of some heartfelt needs.
This is all well and good, and if I were a normal person, perhaps I could be awarded a cookie, however I am NOT a normal person, and as I said, I am not really good at fasting at all. As the day approached, people told me their prayer requests and some planned to fast from certain things all or part of the day such as food in general, coffee, Internet, whatever. We all decided to set time aside to be in prayer, coordinated by me....... about now you may be thinking "you can't be serious".
I had decided to fast from coffee for starters. As I rolled over in bed, I didn't feel much drive to get out. I knew that instead of my cup of coffee, I would be enjoying a big glass of water. I went outside to pray with big pained frown. When I returned my frightened family was already consuming cereal and I wasn't needed in the kitchen. I went about my day except for a minor altercation with my husband who decided that it was in his best interest to avoid me.
I had decided to fast from breakfast and lunch along with my coffee fast. Around lunch time I became increasingly nervous. I didn't want to cook or be near food. The kitchen called my name like a bad nightmare. I decided that everyone could suffer with meal 4 of the nasty rice and bear casserole gruel. There would be no temptation there. I went off to pray.
After lunch time, I was becoming increasingly disgusted with myself. I was nervous and sleepy. When the "Closet Boss" asked me if I wanted to go out on the river, I was all for it. There's no food on the river....right? Of course she borrowed my kayak and I took the heavier canoe since it is harder to maneuver. The river is high now, and the current is a lot to work against. For this reason we decided to go down river first. In my imagination, a new neighbor was barbecuing next to the river bank. He invites us up for a delicious meal and won't take no for an answer. He hands me a juicy high quality brat. I am being tormented by the delicious smells of the...... "Mom, why is your canoe stuck in the bushes?" Closet Boss asks. Onward we go, the easy way, down the river.
Since we used to live down river, and across, we recognized many cabins along the way. Closet boss had fun remembering and reminiscing about walks we went on when she was much younger. We decided to stop at our old house, now somebodies retirement investment. I had to pee. Sorry, but 5 kids later, my bladder is almost as demanding as "Miss Belly Fat". Closet Boss is horrified.
With cat like ability, I jumped out of my canoe onto a floating dock and then onto the embankment. Every time I am wearing my wetsuit, I also have this problem with imagining that I am a spy. Here I was, jumping out of an...er....water craft... with my wet suit on. After completing my secret urination mission on the side of the bank, I snapped a quick photo of our old property for posterity. Closet Boss remained horrified for the most part. Its hard having a mom with a weak bladder who thinks she's a spy.
Soon the river became much faster. Its quite high with all the snow melt off the mountains. It began to dawn on us that we would need to paddle up river to get home.
After near exhaustion, we pulled our respective water crafts out of the river. I was ready to collapse. My husband wasn't happy with me for being gone so long. I didn't bother to explain the physics of up river versus down river. I was pretty sure he wouldn't buy it. Especially after suffering with his 4th meal of bear gruel. Through a case of mistaken identity, I was left alone with a napping baby while the rest of my family went off fishing. I felt quite sorry for myself for the first 30 seconds. Then there was this gentle reminder that today I was planning not just to fast, but to pray.
As I felt the prompting to pray, the presence of God overwhelmed me. I felt closer to God than I had in a long time. Immediately, I realized that a couple of meals lost was well worth this closeness that I was feeling to God in prayer. I had all the windows open in the house and every so often violent wind would blow through. It felt just like the Holy Spirit was assigning angels in a blaze to fight the forces of darkness and accomplish His work in the requests that I was making. It was great, cool, and better than the best spy movie.
I decided to grill a big meal for dinner. My family had had all they could take of the bear gruel. I hear when you fast, you are supposed to resume your meals as if you had missed nothing (in other words, not eat like a slob). Though I had pretty good intentions, I wasn't incredibly successful at resuming as if I had missed nothing. This can be blamed in part to the Closet Boss's oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. At any rate, I do recommend prayer and fasting, and I do believe that it can change your life and the lives and situations that you are praying for.
Matthew 6:16 “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
Mark 9:28-30 (New King James Version)
28 And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?”
29 So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”