This week Associate Pastor Nyahaley Labor is sharing the devotion from Epiphany Lutheran Church:
“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.’’ (Matthew 6:6; 17-18)
Matthew chapter 6 teaches us about a whole lot of things. It teaches about giving to the needy; praying and fasting; and it also teaches about money and possessions, all of which are important to our wellbeing. However, today, I would like to focus on fasting and praying.
Fasting is a good spiritual practice and a teaching of the scripture. It is an act of restraining one’s self from certain activities to focus on God and engage in prayer. In the Bible, fasting was more in the form of restraining one’s self from food. Today, due to health issues and more, fasting ranges from giving up food, drinks and several other activities that may be a huge part of our daily lives to spend time in prayer. Many people embark on fasting when they are going through hard times and are asking God for a breakthrough.
However, today, as we journey through these troubled times, I believe we have all been placed in situations where we have to adjust to a new way of living. Some love to travel and have not been able to do so. Others loved socializing, but that seems impossible. Some love going to the movies and football games but cannot do that either. There are so many things that we loved to do that we cannot do at this time, and it is taking a toll on so many.
As I sit back and think of all of this, instead of drowning in our sorrow, why not take this time as a time of fasting and praying. Why not take those moments that we spent doing the things we loved to do and turn them around as a time of fasting and praying? Turn them around as a time to thank God for His goodness. Fasting is not limited to Lent.
Jesus fasted in the wilderness for 40 days and nights so that He could connect with His Father in heaven. When we fast and pray, let us follow the example of Jesus. Let us be cheerful, using our time as a time to connect with God.
Sometimes you just need a moment with God, meeting Him where you feel closer to him. And even if it is the middle of your pain, your struggle, your worries, your doubts, take that moment and have your one-on-one time with him.
Merciful God, into your hands we commit ourselves. Grant us the strength to remain steadfast and strong in your presence. Draw us closer to you in fasting and prayer so that we can have that one-on-one time with you. In Jesus’s name we pray. Amen.