The Art of Fasting and Prayer
Some people want the world to be black and white when it comes to spiritual or religious teachings. Some people want no guidelines and believe our metaphysical existence entitles each living creature an innate key to tapping into the power of creation. Some believe it is nonsense to entertain a notion of the unseen and that all can be explained by mere physical entity. Some believe there are elements of all of the above, and are searching for answers to understand how the puzzle comes together. Others have the jigsaw pieced together and are shocked at how dumb everyone else is for not having figured it out. There are folks who are confident in what they believe, yet remain searching to understand more; open to new ideas and learning; making mistakes, hard choices and exploring for answers, rather than trying to create a religious, spiritual or secular philosophy that will protect them from their insecurities and insulate them from discoveries of other “truth”.
What does this have to do with fasting and prayer? The connection is that a person’s view of what they need from God (the world around them) will affect their fasting and prayer life. Yes, I wrote that… fasting and prayer life. Jesus did assume that fasting would be a part of our everyday life (Matthew 6:16ff), not if but when. The same for prayer (Matthew 6:5ff), it is not if, but when. The problem is the “when” gets caught in definition, because each person has his or her own viewpoint. When several random artists take to painting or drawing a painting or picture, it would be extremely unlikely that any of the renditions will match exactly. From color variations to angles, lighting and mood, the artwork of each will reflect their own perspective…but it is their artwork nonetheless. Figuring out your fasting and prayer life is much the same way. It has to fit your perspective and your relationship with God.
There are many examples of both fasting and prayer that one could imitate in the Bible and ultimately it is up to each follower of Christ, student of Jesus, Christian, soldier of Jesus, disciple of Jesus…however you want to describe yourself…to figure out how and when to fast and pray. Always remembering it is not if, but the when, that counts in Jesus’ teaching and life example. I believe that this takes a lot of pressure off the “religious” aspect and helps one focus on the art of doing it.
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