Last month, I offered to fast for you intentions. I received eleven requests and added some of my own intentions. While I offered all of my fasting and sacrifices for all of the intentions, each day I kept one particular intention in the forefront of my mind, so that when I was tempted or inclined to indulge myself in some way, a specific person and a real and concrete need came to mind.
This wasn’t a bread and water fast. There were no hard and fast rules (pun intended). I simply made little sacrifices as the opportunities presented themselves. I anticipated they’d all be food-related sacrifices, but my desire to use the opportunities God presented quickly led me to include a multitude of other fasts. I fasted not only from food but also from favorite songs, getting the last word in, wasting precious minutes on social media, and spending time selfishly.
Here is what I observed:
- This simple mindfulness helped me to turn to God frequently throughout the day. Every hunger pang, errant thought, or niggling temptation brought me back to my Father in Heaven.
- I felt privileged to suffer (ever-so-slightly) for these intentions. Doing so brought me joy.
- Numerous opportunities to make small but significant sacrifices exist every day, no matter how “good” or “bad” a day I’m having. How many opportunities have I routinely wasted that could’ve been offered to God for the needs of those I love or others’ intentions?
- Fasting in this manner inclined me to pray more frequently and more earnestly, even if the prayers were simple ejaculations.
- My choices, however small or personal, are not all about me. My actions – whether virtuous or sinful – are not truly private. They affect not only me but others as well.
The day I fasted with the intention of my two-year-old’s physical safety in mind (because he’s that kind of crazy), I posted this status update on Facebook:
“Toddler damage report. 7/3/2015 – One afghan ripped from the wall. Three dresses thrown down stairs. One roll of toilet paper, unrolled. One stick of butter, unwrapped. One bumblebee, dead. Fresh cherries, squished. Salt shaker, emptied.”
That same day, I also turned my back on my son for a half-second at pool’s edge to grab his sister’s goggles. He was seated on the edge, where I’d been keeping hold of his arm. I asked his sister to watch him, turned my back, and in an instant, he was under water. He was just fine, as I was right there to scoop him up, but I wondered if something more dramatic may have happened had I not been fasting for this intention. Maybe not, but I’m glad I’d been sacrificing for the wiry little guy that day.
And, to top it off, I lost about eight pounds over the past month.
Because this was such a positive experience, I intend to consciously fast in this way each Friday. So, if you have an intention, please feel free to send it to me via a Facebook message or by using the contact form. It would be my privilege to pray and fast for you.