Fast Sunday Cometh

November 3, 2007 at 11:07 am | Posted in American politics, Church, Fast Sunday, fasting, Mormon | Leave a comment

danithew on Mormon Mentality came up with a great idea to remind us to prepare for Fast Sunday. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, every first Sunday of the month is Fast Sunday, wherein we are to fast for two meals (or twenty four hours). Though it isn’t specified to fast exactly twenty four hours, many people do to show an increased faith. The last two or so hours tend to be the hardest. One time on my mission, we held a mission wide fast on the first Sunday of August in 1996. That Sunday was a particularly hot day, and those last two hours were miserable. But we were fasting to find someone that month and baptize him by the end of the month. My companion and I were the only ones in the mission to have accomplished just that. We found a young man through a member family and baptized him on August 31.

With the fast, we also provide a fast offering to the church, money to be used to help those in need. Generally the fast offering is to cover the amount we would have spent on the food we would have eaten in those two meals. It is recommended that we give a generous fast offering though. This money assists members of the ward who are in dire need, and it is definitely needed.

Fasting on the first Sundays also gives us a chance to ask of the Lord, through fasting and prayer, for assistance in some manner, whether for ourselves or for others who need the Lord in their lives. In Matthew 17 we learn an important lesson about praying and fasting:

14 And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying,
15 Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.
16 And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.
17 Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.
18 And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.
19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?
20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.

Why can’t prayer alone do it? Probably because it requires preparation. Even the Lord’s closest disciples need to prepare to be in tune with the Spirit in order to accomplish the will of the Lord. And that’s where this post of mine comes in. Fast Sunday requires preparation. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin said of fasting without preparing:

We observe that in the scriptures, fasting almost always is linked with prayer. Without prayer, fasting is not complete fasting; it’s simply going hungry. If we want our fasting to be more than just going without eating, we must lift our hearts, our minds, and our voices in communion with our Heavenly Father. Fasting, coupled with mighty prayer, is powerful. It can fill our minds with the revelations of the Spirit. It can strengthen us against times of temptation.

There is no point in going fasting without praying, and there is no point in just praying if you don’t know what you are praying for, in this regard.

Fast for a purpose other than to go starving.

Elder Joseph B. Worthlin continues:

Fasting and prayer can help develop within us courage and confidence. It can strengthen our character and build self-restraint and discipline. Often when we fast, our righteous prayers and petitions have greater power. Testimonies grow. We mature spiritually and emotionally and sanctify our souls. Each time we fast, we gain a little more control over our worldly appetites and passions.

Fasting and prayer can help us in our families and in our daily work. They can help us magnify our callings in the Church. President Ezra Taft Benson taught: “If you want to get the spirit of your office and calling as a new president of a quorum, a new high [councilor], a new bishop [or, I might say, a Relief Society president]—try fasting for a period. I don’t mean just missing one meal, then eating twice as much the next meal. I mean really fasting, and praying during that period. It will do more to give you the real spirit of your office and calling and permit the Spirit to operate through you than anything I know.” 4

And that is its strength. It helps us improve. It helps us get closer to God. It helps us get further away from worldly passions and desires. These are good things to do. Our lives would improve with each fast.

So as today is the day before the fast, I recommend to all my readers to prepare for the fast. Think about the things you need from the Lord. Think about the Lord. Pray that you get closer to Him.

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