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With increased violence and the rise in natural disasters, it's easy to start believing it's safer to stay home than to risk venturing out into an unstable world.
2 Timothy 3:1 states that perilous times will come, yet, God assures me that He hasn't given me a spirit of fear (2 Tim 1:7).
So how do I live a peaceful life in unpredictable surroundings?
Scripture gives examples of men and women who turned to fasting when seeking God's direction, freedom, and safety in unstable times.
In making major life decisions such as where to live or what job to take, my husband and I spend time fasting, and seeking God's direction. Doing so helps us to be confident and assured of God's leading, especially when our choices have led us to live in the Tsunami Capital of the world or in the middle of Hurricane Alley.
Psalm 32:8 states that when I look to God for direction, He will instruct and teach me the way to go, counseling me and keeping a loving eye on me.
Searching through the Bible I find those who fasted before major life changes included Moses before receiving the Ten Commandments (Exodus 34:28). and Jesus before starting His public ministry (Matthew 4:2).
There's also Esther, a young Jewish woman who called a fast during a crucial time in the history of her people. Facing a plot that threatened to wipe them all out, she sought God's direction in addressing the King. Through her willingness to request a fast and look to God for guidance in her situation, all were saved (Esther 4:16).
As well, Paul and Barnabas received direction for their first missionary journey after a time of fasting (Acts 13:3).
When looking to biblical examples of fasting, the story of Daniel in the lion's den stands out.
Carried off and forced to live and serve in a foreign King's court, Daniel was no stranger to surviving in dangerous times. As a Jewish youth taken into Babylonian captivity, scripture states he had an extraordinary spirit that distinguished him above all the others serving the King. His devotion to prayer and fasting helped to prepare him for the challenges ahead.
Long story short, Daniel's co-workers heard he was up for a promotion and schemed to have King Darius sign an injunction that would condemn him to the lion's den. Once signed, Darius who was Daniel's #1 fan, realized the consequences of his signature.
Deeply distressed, Darius tells Daniel, "Your God who you constantly serve will Himself deliver you" (Daniel 6:16). Quite a statement coming from an idolatrous King.
And Darius didn't stop there but spent the entire night fasting for Daniel's deliverance (Daniel 6:18).
Rushing to the den the next morning, Darius found Daniel unharmed, a discovery that led him to believe in the God of Daniel, as well as, issuing a decree calling all who lived in his kingdom to do the same.
A truly remarkable account of one man's deliverance from a lion's den, and a king and his kingdom's deliverance from spiritual darkness.
Our family has relocated numerous times, so often that I've stopped counting. With each move, we fast in preparation for the journey.
In a late November move from Missouri to Colorado, we experienced safe travels as we drove on dry roads to our new home. Little did we know at the time that just south of our route, a winter storm had hit with fury, closing roads and causing treacherous driving conditions. Still, our route remained clear until after we arrived. Once we reached our destination, the snowflakes began falling.
Scripture tells of Ezra, an Old Testament prophet, who God called to relocate Jewish exiles in Babylon to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. He realized the journey back would be dangerous, lined with bandits and enemies eager to attack.
Interestingly in this story, Ezra finds himself in a humbling situation. After boldly declaring to the King that "the gracious hand of our God is over everyone who looks to Him," he realized he couldn't ask the King to send soldiers and horsemen for protection. Doing so would have shown a lack of faith in God's provision. So instead, Ezra proclaimed a fast (Ezra 8:21,22).
His fast called the exiles to humble themselves before God and ask for a safe journey for themselves, their children, and all their possessions.
Ezra writes, "So we fasted and petitioned our God concerning this matter, and He answered our prayer" (Ezra 8:23).
After safely arriving in Jerusalem, Ezra states, "The hand of our God was on us, and he protected us from enemies and bandits along the way" (Ezra 8:31).
Don't Leave Home Without It
A few years ago after a time of fasting, our family was driving home on a beautiful Colorado afternoon from a shopping trip when we were hit head-on by a drunk driver.
Although it was a startling incident, we experienced God's peace and comfort during it, and walked away unharmed.
Fasting can bring direction to our lives, safety to our days and lead us on a path of freedom when we learn to trust God to be sufficient for all things. It is a worthwhile spiritual discipline, sure to be beneficial to all believers who practice it routinely throughout their lives.
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Lynette Kittle is married with four daughters.Her writing has been published in numerous publications including Focus on the Family Magazine, Decision, Today’s Christian Woman, KirkCameron.com, Ungrind, Start Marriage Right, Growthrac,and more. She has a M.A. in Communication from Regent University and also serves as Soul Check TV's associate producer.