by Sarah (Guest Blogger)
Fasting has always been a practice among God’s people, and is still a commandment from God today. So, what is “fasting?”
Fasting is going without food and drink for two consecutive meals or, in other words, 24 hours. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I am invited to fast once a month on the first Sunday (Fast Sunday). Like most growing teenage girls, I love food and, like for most people, it can be hard for me to not eat. Our bodies get hungry and thirsty, so why should we abstain from eating and drinking?
I have a strong testimony of fasting because I have found the answer to that very question and know the great blessings I can receive by fasting. I want to share why I fast and why I know the importance of it.
1. Commandment of God
My first reason for fasting is that I have been commanded by my Heavenly Father to do it. I decided early, as a young girl, that I would always follow His commandments and that I would make Christ the center of my life. Christ is perfect, and the greatest example to follow. When I was eight years old, I followed His example and was baptized into the church, just as He was baptized. In the New Testament (Matthew 4), we learn that Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights; He followed the commandment to fast. Just as I followed Christ’s example to be baptized, I want to keep Him at the center of my life and follow His example in fasting.
Also, John 14:15 states, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” I know that if fasting wasn’t important, my Heavenly Father would not have commanded me to do it. I love Him and my Savior, Jesus Christ. By fasting I show my love and gratitude to them.
2. Spiritual Power
Spiritual power comes from a strong testimony and having the Holy Ghost with us. Satan is constantly working to tear me down and keep me away from the truth of this church, but I know that with spiritual power and faith in my Heavenly Father, there is no way that Satan could overcome me and my beliefs. Throughout my life, fasting has always helped in this battle against the adversary by giving me spiritual power.
As Carl B. Pratt said in his October 2004 General Conference talk, The Blessings of a Proper Fast, “Fasting without prayer is just going hungry for 24 hours.” Every time I fast, I begin and end it with prayer. Whenever I start to feel hungry, I pray some more. I also study the scriptures and other references to the gospel during the time that would have been spent eating. Even though I don’t physically eat while fasting, I get fed spiritually because as I do these things, I have the spirit with me, and receive spiritual power from it. The spirit testifies of truth and helps me to gain a stronger testimony of this gospel. There is nothing that I would trade for the testimony that I have- the spiritual power I have gained, which is why I am thankful for fasting and how it has helped me receive this spiritual power.
Fasting brings great blessings. As I stated before, it is a commandment, and Mosiah 2:41 says that those that keep the commandments are “blessed in all things.”
Last year, I was called to be the Young Women Class President in my church. In this responsibility, I am asked to watch over every young woman between ages 12 and 17 in my ward (a local congregation) at my church. That gave me a lot of responsibility, and I felt very inadequate and unsure about if I could fulfill this calling. When I first started, I prayed a lot for help. One Fast Sunday I fasted and prayed for my Heavenly Father to help me in my calling. That month I began to see changes in myself. I knew that I was magnifying my calling and becoming a better president and example to the young women in my ward. I was more confident, and that alone was such a blessing to me. I know that it was my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ helping me, I know that they still are helping me in this calling today, and I know that fasting helped me receive blessings from the Lord not only in that situation, but in many others as well.
Fasting is not just going hungry and thirsty for a day. It is a commandment from God that brings spiritual power, strengthens testimonies, and brings innumerable blessings. These things are too incredible for me to pass up, which is why I fast every month.