12 Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. 13 And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him.
Even Jesus disconnected from the world to fast and pray. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke speak of Jesus in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights. They also describe other times Jesus pulled away from the demands of the crowds, His ministry, and even His closest friends to pray.
There are times that we, too, need to pull away from the things of the world and focus on God. “The things of the world” can certainly include more than just food. In fact, in our world, it is more likely to be television, movies, Facebook, Twitter, cell phones and internet that keep us “tuned in” to the world. None of these things are wrong in and of themselves, but they are avenues for a mental and spiritual “crowd” to gather around us and drown out the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit.
Fasting is a means of disconnecting from the distractions of daily life and consciously choosing to bring God into greater focus. Giving up physical nourishment is the first step in engaging that process. If you think about it, though, we nourish our souls as well as our bodies. We do so through reading, talking, socializing, playing and leisure. When we fill our souls up with all those things, we don’t feel a hunger for God.
During this time of fasting, we are sure to feel physical hunger, but let’s be intentional about cultivating spiritual hunger as well. Let’s draw away from the crowds, and lay aside for a season the activities we use to nourish our souls. Instead let’s allow ourselves to enter a state of spiritual hunger – a hunger for righteousness. Jesus said that being spiritually hungry is a blessed state, because we can be sure of being filled with food that truly satisfies our deepest needs. (Matthew 5:6)
During this time, you will find that being still before the Lord will set you in a place of increased peace, strength, and hunger for God. Are you disconnected from the things that nourish your body and soul? What do you need to deny yourself so that this can be a powerful time in your life?