Day 14 | A Family That Fasts Together...
BY PASTOR KRISTEN BOLES | BISMARCK FAMILY AND CHILDREN’S PASTOR
Family is my passion. All families, from my family to individual families, to the one unified church family, I LOVE FAMILY. My desire is to see strong moms, dads, kids, and strong family units that serve Christ together. But what does that have to do with fasting? Let me tell you!
Many adults decide that they are going to enter into a fast. They mentally, physically and spiritually prepare for it. They decide the reasons why they are fasting and focus their prayer time on those things. But do they invite their entire family to join them? There is so much power in the family unit, that’s why Satan has been attacking the family for thousands of years. No one will ever be as close to you as your own family. Your DNA gives you a special tie to one another. Family is powerful and important!
In the book of 1 Samuel 1, we meet Hannah, who is so desperate for a family that the Bible describes that she “was deeply distressed and prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly,” (v.10). She also told the LORD that if she was blessed with a child of her own, she would dedicate him to the LORD. In verse 22 we see Hannah’s dedication to the LORD when she says, “As soon as the child is weaned, I will bring him, so that he may appear in the presence of the LORD and dwell there forever.”
WOW! Hannah wanted Samuel to dwell with the LORD forever and she knew that the temple of the LORD was the place he was to live in. Luckily for us, we live in the times where the veil has been torn and the LORD dwells just as powerfully in our homes as He does in our churches. We can raise our children to dwell in the presence of the LORD forever, without sending them away from us. So, what does this have to do with fasting? I’m getting there, I promise!
Fasting as a FAMILY is POWERFUL! However, children are still growing and developing, so they cannot go on a fast without food. Children can give up sweets, junk food, processed food or non-food things like tv, electronic devices or video games. If we teach our children to give up things that our flesh desires in order to get closer to Christ, we are truly embodying the words of Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Your children will learn that regularly giving up things will get them closer to God. It’s normal and truly helps us know God more.
One more crucial thing to do with your family while you are fasting together is to PRAY TOGETHER. It may seem silly to spend extended time in prayer with your children, especially if they are young, however the earlier you can introduce them to the power and enjoyment of prayer, the earlier this become a normal habit they will develop as a part of their Christian life. Matthew 18:20 says, “Where two or three are gathered in My name, there I am among them.” Parent + child = two, so God is with you. Husband + wife + child = three, so God is with you. The Bible never says, “A person must be at least 13 before I will dwell among them.” So even praying with your smallest child still invites the presence of our Heavenly Father in your home.
A family that fasts and prays together is strong. A family that fasts and prays together is committed. A family that fasts and prays together grows closer to God. A family that fasts and prays together invites God into their homes. Let’s all be families that fast and pray together!
If you would like more resources on praying together as a family, we have a “Family Prayer Guide” available at each campus with many, many ideas on how to engage a child at almost any age in prayer.
Pastor Kristen Boles