Expectant Prayers ®

Jennifer Jo Weiss

Slow Down and Fast

You may have been wondering where I have been for a week now...well we were fasting.  Our family decided that we all would fast (in various forms) along with our church.  The week was very peaceful and I feel like it served its least in our family.  Fasting is something that I make a practice of regularly, but this was a family first!

 We followed a 7- Day Prayer Guide that our Pastor handed out with the weekly bulletin, but we were told to choose our own type of fast and what to include.  We chose a Daniel Fast (also known as a partial fast) with the focus changing daily.

One day we fasted sweets (no sugar, candy, or any sweetened drinks of any kind), another day video games, we tried to fast talking (but that really didn't work out too well) and most of the week we fasted TV and computer.   It really is an eye opener to do without things you've become so accustomed to over the years.   

You quickly realize if you are disciplined or not.  

Let me use TV as an example.  We turned them off and posted a sign on each one reading "NO TV".  One thing we all commented on right away was how quiet and peaceful the house was without all the noise.   With eight of us in the house, there were several hours a day that a television would be on somewhere in the house.  It became like white noise... something to block out of your mind.

I don't mean to harp on TV either, but I think it's difficult to find  good , wholesome programs for the family that aren't full of "adult content".   Good grief, you can't even watch the commercials without some sexual innuendo's being used; trying to sell perfume, hamburgers, or whatever!  Come on folks!  If we are what we eat, then we are becoming a sick nation just by the filth we ingest on the daily boob tube (no pun intended).  
For some, TV is the first thing they plug their minds into in the morning and the last thing they see at night.  Hour upon hour of entertainment, daytime soaps, sports, music videos, news, and movies.  Gone during the day?  No problem, they just use the DVR and save their shows for later.  What are It makes me ask... what are Christians viewing habits like?  Are they any different from the world?   I've never watched a lot of TV and I  pray that I never lose my mind enough to start!  If the Word is true and it says to "set no vile thing before our eyes"... why are we visually consuming such things?  An hour here, an hour there and before you know it our day is over.  All we have to show for it was a life filled with the magic of television.  How is there time for anything else??????

...but back to the fasting part...We found it rather enlightening that the kids seemed to get a lot more accomplished during the day without any TV or other distractions.  Chores were completed on time and they actually got ahead in their school work.  Book report books were finished ahead of schedule!  There was a lot more interaction between all of us and we even had time to play games in the evening like "Charades" or "What I Would Say" (a game we made up). 

Even though we are fairly strict about what and how much TV and other indulgences they are allowed, it encouraged us to consider other daily guidelines when it came to all extra curricular activities.   I discovered it's not necessarily about restrictions as it is restructuring the daily priorities. 
I think they have all decided to go on a TV/game/computer "diet".  They are not depriving themselves of their favorite things, but they are cutting back on their portions!   Best of all, it was THEIR idea!

As our kids get least some of them... I found it nice to let them realize the importance of taking stock of their time and responsibilities.  There is joy discovering things about themselves on their own.  A lot of it comes down to choices, too. 
Some parents would protest that their kids would NEVER be able to go without computers, games, and sweets for even a day.    My question is... well, have you encouraged your kids to at least TRY????   Where is the self- control in our homes these days?    Our habits are controlling us.

Fasting helps you focus on God, set priorities, return to a place where you can hear from and be used of the Lord, opens time for prayer and devotion, reveals the hidden areas of our hearts, heightens our sensitivity to things, and allows God the opportunity to work in our otherwise hectic lives.  If you haven't done any "fasting" in awhile, I would recommend it.  Remember, too, that fasting isn't just about food... you can fast just about anything.  Just ask yourself what you spend a lot of time doing and then try that for starters!   Maybe you have a habit of eating out every day... maybe you eat too much chocolate.  Those could be fasted! 
Of course, you could always do a normal fast, which is nothing but water... but I wouldn't want to
scare anyone away from the idea of fasting.   My point is to pick a place to start and get to it.
I think you'd see instant rewards!

Congratulations to friends Rebecca and Brett who recently announced the upcoming arrival of their first baby.  He or she will make their appearance in late summer.   We are so happy for you and your growing family! Our prayers are with you!

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