About 240,000 Nebraskans are food insecure and, in Omaha, there are about 100,000. Nationwide the number is about 5.3 million people if Google is to be relied on. Those numbers are staggering and we who have plenty, often forget or ignore that reality. One simple way to remember and focus on those in need is to purposely fast from food. This could be a skipping a meal, not eating for part of the day (i.e. morning, evening), or even a whole day. Fasting from food lets us experience what it feels like to be hungry, even a little of what it might be like to be food insecure.
It is also a reminder that God gives us our daily bread. We have plenty to eat, but we do not always give thanks to God for that gift. The Lord’s Prayer contains that line, and we need to remember that our abundance comes from Him.
A few spiritual benefits of fasting are:
- It allows you to remember that there are those in the world that need us to help provide them with the basic necessities.
- It enables you to concentrate more on the spiritual world when you consciously give up worldly pleasures. “He must increase, but I must decrease.” -John 3:30
- It helps you refocus on God when life gets too busy. Sometimes we barely have time for lunch, skipping it reclaims some of our time to give back to prayer and reflection.
The Bible has many examples of people who grew closer to God by fasting. Barnabas and Paul prayed for God’s direction and fasted (Acts 14:23), Hannah fasted when she prayed for a son (I Samuel 1:7), and Jesus fasted for 40 days before starting his ministry (Matthew 4:2).
Today, reflect on their experiences and yours as you fast from a meal.