Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Recently I read about fasting in the scriptures. I read about Jehosaphat, king of Judah. When he discovered that his nation was to be attacked, he 'feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.' (2 Chronicles 20:3)
I read about Ezra, how he lead a group of Jews from Babylon back to Jerusalem.  'Then I proclaimed a fast...before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones...So we fasted and besought our God for this; and he was intreated of us.' (Ezra 8:21 & 23).
I read about Nehemiah and his concern for the Jews in Jerusalem, that he 'sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven' for their welfare.
In the book of Esther I read about her request that all of the Jews fast for three days that she might find favor in the sight of the king and save her people. (Esther 4:16)
Next I read about king Darius who 'passed the night fasting' when Daniel was cast into the den of lions. (Daniel 6:18)
 I found a beautiful passage in Joel 2:12-13 where the LORD invites '...turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God...'
In the New Testament I read about the Savior teaching his disciples that fasting and prayer are indispensable requirements to do His work. (Matt 17:21)
 Cornelius fasted as he sought guidance and direction from the Lord (Acts 10), and in Acts 13 we learn that the leaders of the church in Antioch fasted as they sought divine direction in calling and sending forth missionaries (Acts 13:1-3); and that those missionaries 'ordained them elders in every church, and prayed with fasting...commending them to the Lord, on whom they believed. (Acts 14:23)
In the Book of Mormon I read Alma's powerful declaration as he taught about repentance, obedience, being born again and cleansed through the blood of Christ: ' Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself that they are true...' (Alma 5:46) And in Alma 17:3 we learn why the sons of Mosiah had such amazing missionary experiences, '...they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God...they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God.'
I have had my own experiences with fasting which are tender and sweet. In the disappointments and trials of life, fasting as one of the tools I use to call upon my Father and ask for His divine direction and intervention. Through the years I have seen the fruits of this effort. My problems have not been taken away, but my ability to deal with them, my patience and self-control have increased remarkably. I share with all of you my witness that fasting brings us closer to the Lord, it helps in developing a proper perspective and correct priorities, it blesses my life.