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A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35 ESV)

“Daddy!  Are you hungry?  What’s for dinner?  Can we go to…Shake Shack?!”  This conversation occurs semi-regularly in our family; my kids are well aware of my proclivity for Shake Shack.  They attempt to use my disposition toward their own ends in ways that are savvy beyond their years.  It’s not uncommon, however, in consideration of their question, for me to need to pause and take account of the state of my stomach.  I have to stop myself, attempt to gauge what is happening in my mid-section, and determine just how hungry I am.  It often surprises me that I can get so caught up with what I am doing (work, the NY Times, a good book, a basketball game on TV) that I don’t even realize, until I stop, pause, and assess, that I actually am hungry!  Certainly there are times when sizable hunger interrupts those distractions of its own accord and lets me know, in no uncertain terms, that it needs to be assuaged.  But there are also times when my physical hunger goes ignored until someone helps me to stop and recognize my own internal state.

Could I play the role of my children with you for a moment?  Are you hungry?  Not physically hungry…but spiritually hungry?  (You likely are physically hungry during this fast!) More to the point, are you spiritually famished?  Can I distract you for a moment and call you to Stop and Assess?  To pause from your work, the paper, the game, and call you to sense where you are?   Unplug from the busyness and distraction for a moment…are you yearning for what only the Lord can provide?

If so, I want to encourage you in this fast.  Our King Jesus is the Bread of Life.  When we take Him in, there is a very real sense in which our hunger, cavernously deep though it may be, can be satisfied thoroughly.  And in the Lord’s wise providence, when we forego an immediate distraction, whether it be a book, a game, or actual food, we have the ability to take Him in in profound ways.

Don’t waste this fast—while you may be forgoing food, don’t allow yourself to be distracted by any number of other things that may dull your purposeful nourishment.

Stop.  Pause.  Assess.  Are you hungry?  Seek Him now.  He is the Bread of Life.

Jim Black
Ministry Director at Columbia
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