Wednesdays are busy days here at my church. Especially this week. We are the main packing site in our area for Operation Christmas Child (sending shoeboxes of stuff to kids around the world for Christmas) and on Wednesdays we also are the hosts for an inner-denominational Bible study group for women. Which means when I go to the bathroom on Wednesdays, I need to time myself correctly or else I'll run into a busy girls bathroom.
Today, I didn't time myself well.
When I walked in there were some women chatting and all I heard was "Yes, pray. It's a fast and pray kind of situation."
Which made me think. I really don't understand the whole concept of fasting.
It's mentioned in the Bible a few times and on occasion I'll hear people mention it.
I'm a Lutheran - and we really don't talk about fasting much. The closest we get is giving up something for Lent and even that's optional.
I think I had a friend in high school who fasted once.
I tried in college one year for Ash Wednesday. I think it was because I wanted to be "super holy" or something. Instead of eating, I prayed and read my Bible during meal times that day. I don't really remember what came of it other than being really hungry and it made me even more emotional than usual. Which, being an ENFP... that's not really a good thing. I don't think I even had coffee that day.
Crazy. I know.
Let's just say I was really excited for communion that evening at chapel. Bread and wine - GIVE IT TO ME NOW.
Then, during my internship year, my senior pastor fasted during Advent. By February he was in the hospital.
That same year I hosted a 30 Day Famine with the youth at my church. This I understood. They didn't eat for 30 hours, raised money to help hungry kids around the world, and by being hungry they could gain a better understanding of what other people went through. That made sense. But it's still not necessarily the fasting I'm talking about.
I'm sure there are Lutherans who do fast. They just don't talk about it. (Which is good, because even Jesus tells people that when you do, you should pretend you aren't so you don't draw attention to yourself.) However - this doesn't help in my dilemma.
I understand the whole giving up something for Lent thing - which is a form of fasting you could say. You "fast" from a certain food or bad habit or something. It's supposed to help you grow. You learn to sacrifice as Jesus sacrificed. I get it. It's like the 40 days in the wilderness when Jesus fasted and the Devil tempted him.
So... is that it? We starve ourselves because Jesus did that one time?
Do our prayers magically become louder? Maybe the groans of our stomachs are actually just really loud prayers.
I don't mean to be sacrilegious or anything. I just.... I just don't understand.
Can someone PLEASE explain this to me!