On page one of the Bible we see God demonstrate his creative power by ordering the cosmos, and putting mankind at the center of His creation in a garden designed to suit their needs. In this way, God played generous host for the people he had made. But the people he had made didn’t trust his provision, so they partnered with another rebel created being to rebel against God’s good ordering.
Thousands of years later, God the Son became incarnate, and taught the people of Israel how to become members of the Kingdom he was establishing on earth. He reminded the people that God was the generous host, and was able to sustain his people, give them their daily bread and clothe them like the lilies of the field. Jesus demonstrated this trust in God’s sustaining power by the way he lived his life, largely in poverty, and by his ultimate death. Jesus so trusted in God’s sustaining power that even death couldn’t prevent it.
Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament, we see people talk about or even practice fasting. Fasting is a practice of self-denial, mostly of food stuff, for the purpose of penance (in the case of sin) or faithfulness. Fasting allows us to throw ourselves on the mercy of God as the sustainer of all life and deny ourselves of even the thing that gives us life.
Especially in times of great need, this practice reminds us who is ultimately in control. In the story of Esther, all the Jews living in Susa fasted and prayed as a way of reminding themselves Who was their ultimate sustainer.
Identify one day this week when you can fast from something food-related. Throughout the history of Christianity, fasting has largely been associated with food, but the degree to which you abstain from food can differ. Sometimes people will simply abstain from meat, sometimes of grains, and sometimes of all food altogether. However, the fast should be food related.
Spend a whole day fasting. At meal times, spend time in prayer.
During your prayer times you can of course pray freely. However, it is a wonderful time to pray one of the daily prayer rubrics, or if you’re looking for something more simple, pray the Lord’s prayer, but this time really focus on the phrase, “give us this day our daily bread.”
The Lord's Prayer Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.