What is fasting and why do it? ~ Dear Miss Mormon

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

What is fasting and why do it?

Dear friend,
Have you ever been so busy that when the clock struck 5 o'clock you realized you hadn't eaten all day? Well sorry, but that's not fasting. Have you ever counted weight watcher points or cut calories trying to squeeze into those old jeans? Ya, nice try, that's not fasting either. Growing up I was encouraged to fast by my parents, however, there were many times when I simply went hungry for a day instead. My pointless hunger could have all been made worthwhile if I had only understood why we fast. (**side note-- In my parents defense, it was not from a lack of effort on their part to get me to understand...being Mormon doesn't always mean you're not stubborn!) Since then, I have learned fasting is not only to go without food or drink for a period of time, but to do so combined with sincere prayer.

In the Book of Mormon, a young missionary named Alma runs into friends he hasn't seen in a very long time. As I read about their meeting, I get the sense that at first he was a little nervous about who his friends would have become after all the time they had been away as his joy was "added more" to see "they were still his brethren in the Lord". What allowed them to stay strong in their faith? "for they had many afflictions", what kept them close to the Lord? Their experience gives us an example to follow for "they had given themselves to much prayer and fasting, therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with the power and authority of God." (Alma 17:2-3,5 emphasis added)

Fasting allows us to be more sensitive to the spirit, and to give greater strength to our faith. Now as I fast I always start and end with a prayer. Throughout the day I try to reflect on the thing I've chosen to focus my fast on; whether that be a question, a person, or a struggle I may be having. I'll be honest, its hard at first to look past the hunger, but when I do, I feel the spirit more strongly and know I'm closer to it than I was before. Happy fasting!

With much love,
Miss Mormon

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