For most Christians, spiritual fasting
is a way to draw closer to God. By focusing less on our physical selves, through prayer
and fasting, we can direct our hunger toward God.
While the purpose of spiritual fasting is not to earn God's favor, there are some benefits to self-denial. Primarily, it can produce a transformation in usincreased spiritual clarity, the ability to hear God's voice more clearly, soul cleansing, and a greater dependence on the Lord.
The Lenten fast is a specific 40-day period of self-examination, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline in preparation for Easter. Churches that observe the Lenten fast usually associate the practice with three biblical parallels: the 40 days and nights Moses spent with God on Mount Sinai, Israel's 40-year desert journey, and Jesus Christ's 40-day fast in the wilderness.
Today, fasting during Lent takes on different forms, not always characterized by a total denial of food. Some Christians abstain from certain foods only, like meat or sugar, or they limit meals to one or two small portions a day. Others choose to give up something besides food, like watching television, or some other self-indulgent pastime.
Former Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, USA penned this wonderful meditation on the Lenten fast:
Fast from criticism, and feast on praise.
Fast from self-pity, and feast on joy.
Fast from ill-temper, and feast on peace.
Fast from resentment, and feast on contentment.
Fast from jealousy, and feast on love.
Fast from pride, and feast on humility.
Fast from selfishness, and feast on service.
Fast from fear, and feast on faith.
--Arthur Carl Lichtenberger (1900-1968), The Day Is at Hand
Learn more about the different approaches to fasting and Lent:
Photo: Dougal Waters / Getty Images
The road into the future isn't always clear, and Joyce strayed away from God's direction, all the while knowing that something was missing. Broken commandments
and a broken family finally prompted her to take the first step on the journey home to God, who had been faithful and waiting all along. Many blessings and trials later, she has learned to walk by faith and not by sight, and she knows that she never walks alone.
Read: Joyce's Journey Home
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How well do you know the sons of Noah
? You're probably familiar with their names: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. But do you know which of the three was born first? What were their wives' names? And most importantly, of Noah's offspring, which son fathered the bloodline of the Messiah, Jesus Christ
As we await the release of the movie Noah, in theaters March 28, 2014, we'll continue our study of biblical Noah and the family God used to replenish mankind on this planet after the flood.
Photo: Getty Images
This week's post is a member-submitted Christian poem called God Gives Beauty For Ashes
. These lines celebrate the way God cares for us, working all things together--the good and the bad--for our good.
God Gives Beauty For Ashes
Photo: Christine Balderas / Getty Images
God gives us beauty for ashes
and His love washes away our tears.
He stills the storms around us
and gives hope to replace our fears.
God gives strength for our weakness
and comfort when we are in pain.
He gives peace to calm our anxieties
and sends sunshine after the rain.
Read more ...
Do you have an original Christian prayer that would encourage or benefit a fellow believer? Perhaps you've written a unique poem you'd like to share with others. We are looking for Christian prayers and poems to encourage our readers in their communication with God. To submit your original prayer or poem, please fill out this Submission Form.