Lent with the Lord's PrayerDuring lent one of the practices of the church is fasting. Many people give up something for lent chocolate, coffee, sweets, and meat to remind them that there are in the time of the church year when we are asked to draw closer to God as we head slowly toward the death and resurrection of Jesus. As we study the Lord’s Prayer this lent, praying give us this day our daily bread, we often don't have to worry about food. The practice of fasting allows us the opportunity to think about our daily bread. After Jesus gives us these words of the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus talked to us about fasting.
16 "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to men 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 6:16-18).Jesus tells us to fast in a way that the focus is on God. Fasting is about your relationship with God about drawing closer to God. So don’t act like the fast you have chosen is a hardship. Remember that you are doing this for God.
The story of Esther reminds us of this connection to God in fasting. When Esther who is married to the king learns that her people the Jews are to be destroyed because they want to practice their religion which means they are not willing to practice the religion of the King. When the edict is given to destroy the Jews, the people began weeping and fasting. One of the leaders of the Jews whose niece married the king is asked to do something to change this. She struggles first with this decision. As she is preparing to change the king’s mind she asks her people to fast for her.
15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 "Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish." 17 So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther's instructions (Esther 4:15-17).Fasting for Esther was a time of preparation, a way to draw closer to God when taking an important action. Fasting becomes then a way to help us prepare. We can fast when we are faced with a life decision.
So how do we fast? When you fast you can chose as most in lent do to give up one item. The point being that when you crave that item you pray to God. Or you can choose the early practice of the Christian church to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays. You would stop eating at sundown on the night before and end you fast at sundown the next evening. During this time you can drink clear liquids (water, juice, broth). Then allow this time to draw you closer to God. Allow the hunger pangs and cravings be a reminder in your day to stop and be aware of God’s presence and pray.