Lately I have been reflecting on the blessings of fasting. In my faith we fast on the first Sunday of the month. We abstain from food and drink for 2-3 meals. We also give a fast offering, money that goes towards the poor or persons in need. Fasting isn't just about not eating. During this time we should pray and have our hearts open towards what we are fasting for. And you don't have just fast on the first Sunday.
It's best not to fast when you are pregnant or nursing. That being said, in the last 10 years I have only been able to fast for two years or so. It's hard to remember to fast or get back in the habit in between children. I have been trying to improve in that area because sometimes I would get to church only to realize it was the 1st Sunday. I have had wonderful experiences fasting since I was a youth but I am so thankful that I have been reminded of how much I love fasting. Not that I love not eating. I absolutely love food. But I love the peace I feel and the increased love I have for others when I fast.
Fasting blesses lives and gives us an opportunity to sacrifice and show our Heavenly Father that we want to do our part in helping others. I have been blessed to fast for those around me in the past months. Our ward, or church group, held a fast for a ward member whom I have never met. It was amazing the love I felt for this person as we fasted as a family.
I am thankful I was able to fast for another friend with hard medical problems. Our family was praying for him daily. And we were able to fast for him and his upcoming surgery. We prayed and fasted for certain things like guiding the surgeons to make the best choices for him. What a blessing and great cause for rejoicing when we could see him making great progress. I don't think my personal fasting changed the course of his life, for I know there were many people praying and fasting on his behalf. But my love for him increased. My compassion increased. My heart was turned more towards my Savior. And I am thankful for that experience.
Some times life doesn't end with a miracle. Or at least not the one we were hoping for. Someone who I really admired, and whom are family was praying for, went home early to our Father in Heaven. And some might think that fasting maybe doesn't work. Or it didn't make a difference. But I know The Lord hears our prayers. And sometimes His will must be done. There are hard things on this earth. I am thankful that I was able to fast for him. My love for him and his wife increased.
I know fasting is personal. And I am not trying to boast or say how great I am because I am finally fasting again. But I wanted to share that I am glad to remember what a blessing fasting is. I encourage you to fast and see the power and love that comes from it. I know fasting can help us spiritually prepare. I can help us to be more in tune with the Holy Ghost. It can help us overcome additions and hard things. It can help miracles to come to pass. We can fast for our children, spouse, family, friends, and neighbors. We can fast to express our gratitude. We can seek guidance and help. We can fast as an extended family or a group of friends.
I hope that you will find fasting a blessing in your life no matter what faith you have.