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Fasting Together

Family Devotion:

We’ve spent several weeks talking about abiding in Christ as a weapon against anxiety. As a refresher: my adopted definition of abiding in Christ is a moment by moment connection to God, His Word, and His love for you. With this definition, we focused for a week each on prayer, Scripture memorization, and worship. This week, as politics get into full swing, I want to talk about fasting as a way to enter into even deeper connections with God and your family. No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, our mandate from Jesus in Mark 12:29-31 is to love God more than anyone or anything else, and love others in the same way we love ourselves. When this begins in our own homes, it becomes a natural overflow into school, work, church, and all other venues of our lives. Fasting is a perfect catalyst.

Now, you may be thinking of the super-technical definition of fasting which refers to not eating for a period of time in order to focus on prayer. There is nothing wrong with this practice for adults, and in fact I highly recommend it, but for growing children, this is certainly not medically recommended. I have found that periods of fasting from other things, such as TV, video games, comic books, or even candy, chips, or ice cream, is a highly beneficial activity for families.

A couple of years ago, my children decided that they were feeling that the use of electronics on Sundays was detracting from their ability to focus on the Lord. We were having trouble getting out the door dressed appropriately and ready to worship God without bickering over whose turn it was on a specific device or whether teeth had been brushed and shoes put on. So, we decided to observe a weekly electronics fast every Sunday. The rule was that all of us, including Mom and Dad would only use electronics for work or homework on Sunday, with the exception of an occasional family movie at the end of the day. Additionally, we would replace the time with extra praise and worship music to focus on God.

A natural result of our electronics fast was that we had a lot of extra free time we had to creatively fill. Board games, walks, read alouds, and fun conversations became much more regular and the result was a much more peaceful home focused on loving God and loving one another. We are still practicing this electronic fast weekly and have found it to be an excellent reminder of what is most important.

Family Activity:

  • Spend a few minutes in prayer together asking God what commonly gets in your way of loving Him and others.

  • Set a goal of fasting from that thing for an appropriate period of time. (For instance, if you have ice cream every night before bed and it creates a sugar rush so that getting ready for bed becomes a huge ordeal, try giving that up for two or three nights in a week and replace it with a devotion, prayer, or praise song together.)

  • What changes took place as a result of your fast?

  • Are there more permanent changes you should make as a result?

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