As the plane broke through the clouds that day, I was reminded of how fasting and prayer opened me up to the voice of God in the past and I wanted to share this experience; this invitation. For me, fasting began as an act of obedience, a duty, even an obligation but it turned into something similar to that plane ride – a revelatory time in God’s presence when I can hear Him clearly and better discern His will and ways. A time when He lifts me above the clouds and the storms of life and shows me a different perspective – His perspective. Fasting opens our spiritual ears and eyes to God. It removes all the distractions. It gives us an opportunity to know God in a deeper and more intimate way; a way that created, in my life, a deep friendship and a reverent Lordship. When we put our flesh in submission to our spirits, give up food and other distractions and fix our eyes on Jesus in worship, fasting and prayer, something powerful takes place.
I am reminded of the prophetess Anna from Luke 2. She chose to worship the Lord day and night, through fasting and prayer. Luke 2:36-39 shares that after just seven years of marriage, Anna was widowed and lived as a widow until the age of 84. She never left the temple but stayed day and night, worshiping, praying and fasting. She even met Jesus as a baby and saw the fulfillment of the long-awaited promise. God would rescue Jerusalem. The Savior had been born! I love her response to this encounter. Her first response after meeting Jesus face-to-face was praise. Anna praised God! (Luke 2:38) She gave glory to the God she knew, trusted and worshipped. Her second response was to tell everyone. “She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.” (Luke 2:38) She told those in search of rescuing that there was a Solution – a Rescuer- a Savior.
THREE LESSONS FROM ANNA:
1. Worship through prayer and fasting.
2. Praise God in response to the gift of our Savior.
3. Share the Gospel, the Truth, and the story of our Rescuer.
Anna’s purpose was God-inspired, God-given, and God-ordained. The commitment, devotion and love she had challenges me. I can only imagine the depth of knowledge and friendship she must have had with God. She knew Him in a very deep way. Fasting has become a powerful and treasured part of my life. It has become a sacred time to spend with the lover of my soul. A time, like Anna, to worship, to sacrifice, to praise, and to share the story of my Rescuer, the God that spoke three life-changing words to me years ago. God’s desire to spend time with us, to speak to us, and to take us deeper is an open invitation. I’m encouraged to say “Yes!”, to seek, to listen, and to rise above the circumstances and distractions of life with a passion to see and hear God’s perspective. To hear His voice. To know Him more. He invites you too.
“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”- Joel 2:12