Challenge Day 11

Today’s Inspiration. Several months ago, I was longing for God to show me what he wanted me to do—what his work for me was in this life—when he reminded me of something. He had already given me things to do, and I wasn’t doing them—at least, not all of them. One of the things that had been on my heart, but I hadn’t moved on, was to start a writing group at my church.

When I realized I needed to be faithful in the “little things” (Luke 16:10), I started planning for the writing group. I got a plan put together, and then I had to wait. And—surprisingly, although I’m not very good at waiting—I was able to be patient. And now? In September, it’s going to start. (Eek!)

There are still some choices to be made, some choices that my friend and I discussed over coffee earlier this week (she also happens to be heading up this particular area of ministry at our church through her role as pastor’s wife). We talked about possibilities and choices that need to be made, and then, when we were both agreeing to pray about it and getting ready to wrap up and leave, she said, “I don’t know if you fast, but I think this is something I am going to fast and pray about.”

I don’t know if you fast….

That little statement of my friend’s, and the conviction that I should consider fasting about this (not just consider, but do it) are the inspiration behind today’s topic: Fasting and praying. Yes, it’s a very personal inspiration for me, but I think in some ways it can all apply to all of us. Two of us are seeking God’s direction for starting a new thing—seeking his glory, his hand in the ministry, his tug at the hearts of his people—and I’m sure that at some point in our lives, each individual has decisions to make that could require some focused time in prayer. So if you’ve ever considered the need to fast, today’s challenge will help you to explore—perhaps even act on—that option.

A pile of plums. Photo text: Challenge Day 11, fasting and prayer. #writinglifeaugustchallenge

Today’s Challenge. With such a personal inspiration for today’s challenge, I’m going to challenge myself, personally, to fast over the soon-to-start writing group and the options for it. Fasting is “forcing yourself to focus and rely on God for the strength, provision, and wisdom you need.” When searching for resources and a Biblical basis for fasting, I found the website I just linked to—they also have pages about how long one should fast, how to start fasting, types of fasting, and scriptures about fasting. I determined that I should fast because I am making an important decision (Acts 13:2-3; 14:23) and this is a way to take my eyes off of distractions and focus on God and what he wants (Matthew 6:16-18). And rather than fasting from food, I’m going to fast from the most distracting thing in my life: social media (meaning I’ll be scheduling this post rather than posting it manually, and posting on Instagram early rather than doing it in the morning).

But that’s just what I’ve decided to do.

For your challenge, you have a choice: Your challenge is either to explore what the Bible says about why, how, and when to fast, or to fast from something and pray about something in a Biblical way. If you’re not sure where to start, do what I did: check out the All About Prayer website linked above, or search for something like “prayer and fasting bible” and see what pops up.

Today’s Participation. I’ll be honest: I’m not a person who makes a regular practice of fasting, and my friend’s question is the only thing that made me realize that might need to change. I’ve been actively choosing to rely on God more and more in my own and my family’s life, and along with that it makes sense that I focus more on God when I’m seeking direction. (I feel like saying “duh!” to myself on this one.) For today’s participation, I’d love to hear your thoughts on fasting—perhaps a before/after today’s challenge, a description of how/why if you make it a regular practice, or whatever is on your heart on the topic. You can post in the comments below, on the challenge post under @rhondalorraineblog on Instagram, or create your own Instagram post using #writinglifeaugustchallenge and PM me to follow your account—if it’s private—so I can see it.