Prayer and Fasting for Your Marriage

Prayer and Fasting for your marriage could be really helpful!

It always makes me smile when Science validates my faith. It’s almost like God smiling and saying “Hey – I know what I’m talking about!”

I ran across this article from the Guardian Magazine last week about fasting. Scientists are finding that fasting helps the brain battle Alzheimers and Parkinsons. They are in the early stages of research, but say that a consistent giving up on food for a day or two a week lowers calories and is a positive benefit to health.

I thought this was interesting timing.

36 Days in the Wilderness

We began this year with a fast. It wasn’t a full-on food fast, but it was a sacrifice. We gave up TV for 36 days. Reason being? We wanted to give something up that is a luxury in our lives, and ask God about what he wants to do with us.  How we should devote our time, our business and our lives to him for the coming year.

I felt 36 days was a good number because there are 365 days in the year, and thats roughly 10 percent of the year. It’s what I felt in my spirit, so we went with it.

I found that giving up the television wasn’t too difficult for me. For Lisa, it was a bit more intense. It was a good struggle for her (she kept threatening to watch a full 24 hours of television when we were finished! :))

14 Days in the Land of Fruits and Vegetables

Since we are gluttons for punishment really seeking God’s direction for our ministry, we also decided to do a Daniel fast for a couple weeks before our first speaking engagement this year. We want to give that over to God and seek his guidance and direction for what he wants to do in our ministry.

There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions. Ezra 8:21

I’m not passing along our story to sound all spiritual. I’m passing it along, because I think this principle could be helpful for you and your marriage.

We’ve really been changed from our experience, and we’re only heading into month 3 of 2012. I’m not saying it’s some magical silver bullet, but I do believe that adding this element of being humble before God by giving something up (usually food, but can be something else that you ‘depend on’) will teach you a discipline that is essential to marriage.

Reliance on God, not yourself or your spouse.

I like to control things. I like to know how I’m going to make money, or how many voiceover jobs it will take to meet a goal, or how to make things happen in my marriage (usually selfish manipulation).

Its all about me. When you do the fasting thing, in essence, it’s like you are saying – ‘God, you are bigger than I am, and I realize that. Every time I need physical sustenance, or want to turn to the thing to fill the empty space, I instead turn to you’. When we do this regularly, it builds something in us…a dependence on God, not on ourselves or our stuff.

Some tips for fasting for your marriage:

1. Have a specific area or thing where you need an answer, or would like to see God move. Many who are just getting started just jump into it, or say “Well, I’m not going to eat anything today and that’s my fast”. You need to have a specific thing you can pray for while fasting. Figure it out before you start. Author Mark Batterson says that a fast without prayer is simply a diet (while legit – its not my point today).

2. Start Small. Perhaps you just give up one meal to start. Then give up a couple more the next time around. Then you can move up a day or more. Or, give up the phone for a weekend. Or television in the evenings.

3. Do it together. We decided to do both of these together – and it helped us encourage and spur each other on. It gave us a connecting point, and something to talk about. It also gives us a point of reference when God shows up in our lives.

4. If this interests you there are some great resources online: Personal Guide to Fasting and Prayer, Jentezen Franklin Tips for Fasting

So, we did it for the spiritual reason – but reading that article about the health benefits also made me want to continue to fast regularly for longer and healthier life! I mean, I want Lisa to enjoy me for as long as she can. 🙂

Is fasting something that you have done in your marriage?

 

photo by Oblivious Dude

About Stu Gray

Stu is Husband to Lisa and a Dad to the coolest kiddo around. He's a book lover, writer, Batman Fan, and a speaker into microphones and rooms full of people. Get Marriage encouragement in your email when you subscribe to Stupendous Marriage updates!

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