Sunday, March 1, 2015

From 40 Days For Life: DAY 12: Fasting 101

40 Days for Life
Dear Deacon John,
The call to participate in 40 Days for Life is a call to pray and fast for an end to abortion. We say a lot about prayer ... but we don’t always say as much about fasting. So let’s take a deeper look.
Fasting is in Scripture. Christ instructed us how to fast … and gave us His own example by His time of fasting in the desert.
Fasting can often be something we love to talk about but don’t really like doing. We have access to a lot of food and comfort today ... and giving up even the slightest thing can sometimes be harder than we’d like to admit. 
We live in a world that can often distract us. We stray from the simplicity of depending on God for true joy and satisfaction. But fasting refocuses us on what we truly need and don’t need. 
If you have not been fasting, you may think you’ve missed the boat – that since it’s Day 12, and you didn’t begin your fast on Day 1, it’s too late to begin. Well … maybe you can’t fast for all 40 days, but you can for the next 28!
Our North American outreach director, Steve Karlen, just posted a great column about fasting. Here’s an excerpt from that article … along with a link at the end so you can read more.
Fasting: What, why and how
By Steve Karlen
Fasting, it seems, is something of a lost art these days. As people of faith we are quite familiar with our Christian obligation to pray, to serve others and to be generous toward those in need. But sometimes fasting gets lost in the shuffle.
And so, as we continue this 40 Days for Life campaign, let’s reexamine fasting.
While fasting has traditionally meant voluntarily going without food for an extended period, it can also mean any form of self-denial that we undertake.
Why do we do it? The short answer is because we’re following the example of Jesus:
          Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be
          tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty
          nights, and afterward he was hungry. 
          – Matthew 4:1-2
The longer answer is that fasting provides a powerful opportunity for us to reject sin and to intensify our prayer. It helps us tune out distractions. For example, the uncomfortable sensation of hunger reminds us that it’s time to eat. But when we fast, that hunger can serve as a reminder to pray!
And when we recognize that our hunger is but a mild annoyance compared with Christ’s suffering on the Cross, we’ve got the perfect opportunity to reflect on God’s tremendous love for us (as well as abortion-vulnerable mothers and babies, post-abortive mothers and those who work in the abortion industry).
Self-denial is also a powerful reminder that our hope is in God alone. We’ve all gotten up on a Monday morning and said something like “If I didn’t have my coffee, I’d never survive this day!”
Well, if we give up our coffee during 40 Days for Life, we’re forced to turn somewhere else to survive Monday mornings. Why not turn to Christ, who reminds us, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9)? The grace of God will inject more life into our day than a shot of espresso!
To read the rest of Steve Karlen’s column on fasting, go to:

Today’s devotional is from Carmen Pate of Alliance Ministries.

Day 12 intention

Pray to God, who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, to end abortion.


Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

— Ephesians 3:20-21

Reflection by Carmen Pate

God’s power working in and through His people is unlimited and far beyond our comprehension when we submit to God’s Word and Spirit. He receives glory when we are obedient to His calling and faithfully serve Him in His strength.

Consider God’s hand of providence on this nation because of the faithfulness of a few who were totally committed to God and His truths.

It is interesting to note the words of Mother Teresa of Calcutta: “Yours is the one great nation in all history which was founded on the precept of equal rights and respect for all humankind, for the poorest and weakest of us as well as the richest and strongest.”

Mother Teresa, in addressing the Supreme Court of the United States said, “Human rights are not a privilege conferred by government. They are every human being's entitlement by virtue of his humanity. I have no new teaching for America. I seek only to recall you to faithfulness to what you once taught the world.” 

She continued, “Your nation was founded on the proposition very old as a moral precept, but startling and innovative as a political insight that human life is a gift of immeasurable worth, and that it deserves, always and everywhere, to be treated with the utmost dignity and respect.”

It is time to restore that dignity and respect. Our God is able. Are we willing to remain faithful until His work through us is done?


God Almighty, Who is powerful and willing to supply, our hearts cry in unison for You to restore dignity and respect to human life, not only in America, but around the world.

Lord, may our hearts remain faithful to your calling, and may You begin Your transforming work with me.

Keep me ever mindful that with You Lord, nothing is impossible; without You, I can do nothing. To You be glory forever and ever, Amen.

Printable devotional

To download today’s devotional as a formatted, printable PDF to share:
For life,
 Shawn Carney
Campaign Director
40 Days for Life