Day three of fasting and prayer. I’ve been reminded throughout the day to pray for Pastor Saeed as we continue our 21 Day Fast. I think fasting does that. It seems to sharpen my inner hearing and makes me more alert.
Let’s keep standing strong with Naghmeh Abedini. Press on with whatever version of prayer and fasting you have chosen. Naghmeh’s schedule is incredibly grinding as she travels to speak to world leaders and media outlets on Saeed’s behalf. A self-described “homebody,” she admits the travel can be exhausting. So today, let’s pray specifically for God to renew Naghmeh’s strength.
A few more thoughts on fasting:
“Give me some tips on how you fast.” My friend’s question the other day got me thinking. How do I fast? What have I learned that’s made fasting a valuable part of my prayer life? First, I should point out that fasting does not make us super saints. In fact, Jesus cautions his disciples not to be prideful when we fast. Or when we pray. Or give, or serve.
When you fast, Jesus tells us, don’t parade around your spirituality for others to see. Dress nicely, wear your makeup, go about business as usual. Then your father in heaven, “who sees is done in secret” will reward you (see Matthew 6:16-18).
To some very religious people who were proud of their fasting, Jesus told this parable:
“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evil doers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (Luke 9-14 NIV).
Instead of making me proud, fasting should gently squeeze me into the place of humility. My awareness of sin starts to bubble to the surface when I fast. That humbles me. So confession has become an important part of fasting. It’s like spring cleaning for my soul.
Today’s simple tip? Use this season of fasting and prayer to humble yourself. It’s a good time for personal reflection and confession. Click here to read some of Naghmeh’s thoughts and insights during her fast.
And remember, God is pleased just because you are setting your mind to seek Him. Don’t forget how much He loves you. Go boldly to that throne of grace and ask the Lord’s help in areas you feel stuck. Repent and receive His forgiveness and power.
“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up (James 4:10).”