Luke 4:1, 2
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days He was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them He was hungry.
Did you know that when you accept Jesus as your Savior then the Holy Spirit comes and dwells within you? It is the Spirit of God that fills us and helps us get through our forty days of fasting with praying.
Ash Wednesday is less than half a week away, and by now you should know what it is you will fast on during this time. I am going to tell you mine, chocolate. Now you may think that sounds silly but let me tell you it isn’t. Chocolate is the one thing I have every day and a few times each day. I don’t know of one day I haven’t had chocolate. I do more than crave it, I practically live on it. I wake up and have coffee; before I go and run I pop a piece of candy in my mouth. When I come back I make myself cocoa-wheat for breakfast. I start to study, I eat a chocolate cookie. I eat my lunch with chocolate milk. In the afternoon I eat a chocolate cookie or a piece of candy. Dinner time is over, I have chocolate dessert. Now you can understand my addiction to chocolate. Some days I will eat cinnamon over chocolate for breakfast but that is the only time I will replace it.
What I am trying to tell you is that what I am giving up is something that really will be a struggle. Every part of me will crave the chocolate and this will be the hardest forty days for me. What will get me through is the knowledge that I am fasting and praying for Gary’s recovery.
Jesus gave up a lot more than that, and filled with the Holy Sprit He was sustained but at the end of the time Jesus was hungry. Jesus was also prepared for the spiritual battle that was about to begin and his 3-year ministry.
When you fast it is important that you pray because that is the reason we are called to fast. When we fast and pray we draw closer to God naturally, and it is in that intimate moment of prayer that we can really open up and give Him the petition of our hearts. Don’t fast on something silly, make what you fast from really be a struggle for you. It is in that struggle that God becomes your strength, He hears your prayer and He sees your faithfulness to it. He sends His Spirit to help you. Let us pray.
Holy God, who loves us and helps us with our fasting and praying, let what I give up be a struggle for me, Lord, so that I learn just how badly I want that for which I am praying. This I pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen