Is there something specific we must do during a fast, any action or behavior that’s required? We discussed in previous posts that fasting is more than merely abstaining from certain foods or fluids. It’s about connecting with God and proclaiming our desperation for His intervention in our lives.
So how exactly do we do that? By following the example of the disciples in Acts 13:
“1 Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers…. 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.”
While they were worshiping – that’s when God responded.
The word ‘worship’, as defined in a couple different online dictionaries, means “to show reverence and adoration; to regard with great or extravagant respect, honor, or devotion“.
How do we show God reverence and adoration? How do we regard Him with great respect, honor and devotion?
1) We praise Him. Not only does God deserve our gratitude for all the good He’s done in our lives, He deserves our admiration simply for Who He is. We need to tell Him how amazing He is, often and in our own way. Sadly, many Christians think worship is their 20 minute commitment on Sunday morning during the music portion of church. But it’s so much more than that! Proclaiming His attributes must be a daily practice, and not just with music.
2) We talk with Him. The Lord’s Prayer in Matthew is our guide: we speak adoration, confession, gratitude – then share our concerns and supplications. And we listen to His response, because prayer was meant to be a 2-way dialogue. We can also speak His word back to Him and proclaim His promises over our lives. What matters is not whether we can stand, sit or kneel, but that we communicate. And when we don’t have any strength left in us, we may feel compelled to get on our face before Him and just lay still in His presence.
3) We study His Word. We can’t know God, or His promises, or His instructions on how to live the abundant life, if we never read the Bible. A 15-minute devotion is great for helping us stay focused for a while, but to really understand God’s plan for us, both long term and short term, we must give the Scriptures our undivided attention. We’ve got to dig deep, and that requires more than a few minutes. His Word is rich with truth; explanations of His character, encouragement on avoiding sin, inspiration when life is hard, as well as blessings and promises. But we have to meditate on it.
4) We obey Him. Praising Him, talking with Him and studying His word will mean nothing if we do not follow His instructions. He wants us to be loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. He wants us to put others before ourselves, believing the best about them and apply grace liberally rather than judging them. He wants us to trust Him rather than worry. And so much more. But His truth is clear; to be blessed, we have to choose life by doing things His way.
5) We give and serve. The Bible is clear that we are relational beings and we need each other. Not only are we to give money to our church to keep it functioning and take care of the poor, but we need to reach out to others in need. There are so many ways to serve others. We can speak encouraging words, volunteer in a ministry, cook meals, provide transportation, offer childcare, anything. But we must remember that we reap what we sow, and God wants us to give to others so He can bless us.
The common factor in any type of worship is time. But as busy wives and working moms, the thought of adding more activities to our schedule is overwhelming! I can say from experience that whenever I make extra time for the Lord, I’m always able to fulfill the rest of my duties.
How to worship throughout the day:
- schedule a large chunk of time to devote to God – get up an hour or two early, have a friend take the kids for a while, leave the house so you can’t be distracted
- lay aside some things you enjoy and spend time with God instead – going to the gym each afternoon, watching TV or movies in the evenings, chatting with friends during your lunch break
- utilize those little bits of time in between – in the shower, while you’re doing your hair and makeup, driving to and from work (or practice?), every time you go to the restroom, prepping meals or doing any kind of housework.
You can pray, listen to podcasts, watch a TV preacher, turn on Jesus music – anything to keep your mind focused on Him. Let’s put Him first and see what happens!
For more blog posts on fasting: