I have been involved with Moms in Prayer International (formerly Moms in Touch) for about 10-12 years and have learned a lot about prayer, praying and the power of prayer from this association. Being on their email list, I periodically receive notices about upcoming events or prayer requests. However, last fall I got two messages that have started me on a learning and growing expedition. Both of these emails dealt with fasting, the first was a statewide month of prayer and fasting challenge and the second was sent from national headquarters declaring that the staff has set aside every Wednesday to pray and fast for our students and their schools and encouraging us to join along. I did not heed either of these requests at the time, but recently the subject of fasting has been continually brought to my attention. And so, I am doing what I generally do: reading, studying. learning and applying.
After a topical search in The Bible, I picked up a few books on the subject. The first one I read is Fasting, which is a very quick, light and easy discussion on fasting. I think it is a good starting point, but definitely leaves a lot out. I think Franklin did a good job of explaining the difference between fasting and abstaining from food (or dieting), particularly since the latest rage in dieting seems to be something called intermittent fasting. He also pulled in several scriptural references and situations in which people in the Bible fasted. I do think he took some liberty, but understood his points. And he did mention the benefits of fasting to us spiritually, emotionally and physically. What I didn't care for was his focus on the rewards of fasting in his book. He included many anecdotes of people being healed or getting things after they had spent time fasting. While I am not discounting the physical and material rewards, I think he neglected the personal gains and growth that may be the greatest rewards. I think he led readers to believe that if you fasted all your worries would disappear, yet I know many women who fast and pray faithfully and their physical rewards remain unmet, their healings have not occurred, but they have some mighty strong bonds with the Lord.
Elementary Fasting 101. Worth the read.