Fasting as Evangelism
An anonymous post from the field
Like the rest of the Jurisdiction, I’m fasting on Fridays. I’m not making a big deal out of it, but I’m being faithful to our Bishop’s instruction to fast and pray for our our clergy, our Bishops, and for the JAFC. As a Christian, I’m hopeful that this discipline will be honoring to God and fruitful for our work as chaplains. However, I didn’t anticipate that I’d see results in two weeks!
Since we got home from Convocation, I’ve been quietly fasting and going about my normal routine at the chapel. Each week we’ve had massive food events in the fellowship hall, one retirement and one going away. Our chapel team noticed I wasn’t eating and I just mentioned that our Bishop had asked us to fast on Fridays and Anglican Chaplains® were committing ourselves to this discipline in a unified effort. No one said much more than, “Oh, that’s cool.”
I understand Jesus’ command to not be a showoff when fasting. I also understand that we don’t really hide the fact either. I’m happy to joyfully share how God is working in my life through this discipline if it comes up, but I don’t go out of my way to talk about it. However, mentioning it in normal conversation evidently made a huge impact that I had no idea about.
One of our team members came to me this week and said, “Chaplain, can we talk about fasting?” She then recounted how impressed she was that chaplains were fasting together all around the world and committing themselves to prayer. She thought, I could do that! So, secretly she began to fast along with us. She prayed and read scripture. She re-committed to finding a church home (something that had eluded her since arriving on station). The first week was challenging and she searched the internet for instruction. She read, but felt nothing new. She prayed, but nothing was very different. She visited Church and it was nice. Then she committed to doing it again. The next week she read and the scriptures came alive. She prayed and felt closer to God. She visited church again and the very things she needed to hear were clearly communicated from the pulpit. She wanted to practice fasting for a while before she shared it with me, but she was so overwhelmed with joy that she couldn’t wait any longer.
“Chaplain, I’m so glad you shared that you were fasting because it would have never occurred to me. And now I want to know more about fasting and how to do it according to the Bible. My mind is so clear and my time with God is fresh! Will you teach me to fast and pray?” What joy it was to share the daily office with her and the ready resources we have in the Anglican Tradition!
This was such a working of the Holy Spirit, I wanted to share with my fellow chaplains. My desire is that this will encourage you. Your prayers and fasting made this evangelism possible! I hope your fast is bringing you closer to the Lord. I pray that His Joy is exceedingly great in your life. I offer that there may be some unexpected blessings that comes your way. This certainly was something wonderful for me to encounter and to see how our quiet disciplines dedicated to Christ can have evangelistic outcomes far surpassing what we may expect or imagine.