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A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

ThinkstockPhotos-464220555Fear and Fasting

What do these two have in common? Neither will happen when Jesus returns.

All fear, and tears for that matter, will be wiped away in His presence. Can you imagine what this will actually feel like? And never again will we fast because we will have our Friend and King with us. We will party without any threat of fear.
This past year my husband and I spent our newlywed season living in Istanbul, Turkey. In many ways it was wonderful and exciting, invigorating and enjoyable. But there were also struggles, and for me that manifested primarily as fear in our first several weeks. I don’t generally think of myself as a fearful person, but in our new environment I experienced the feeling of fear in heightened ways. I didn’t understand my surroundings, nor did I know if people accepted or rejected me (as an American, etc.) ISIS reports were everywhere, and our dreams were heavy and dark for many nights in a row. While fear can be helpful at times, alerting us to potential dangers and heightening our senses, it can also be debilitating. I found that instead of loving the people around me, I felt threatened by many of them and would rather remain inside my house than venture out into the community. Thankfully, we had some friends pray with us and through our house, and over time the Lord’s love began to fill me with strength. 

During this time, I often meditated on this verse from Timothy’s second letter (v7): “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control”.  

I also realized my dependency on God anew. I could not give myself courage; it wasn’t in me. And my helplessness to do so cast me on the Lord’s sustaining grace. We are all, whether we realize it or not, dependent on God’s grace. One of the ways we are reminded of this is through fasting. Denying ourselves forces us to confront this fundamental truth: we are not sufficient to meet our needs. We need more than what we can provide for ourselves. We need more than food and drink. We need God.  

As we fast today, remembering that our strength for all things, including overcoming fear and sin, comes from the Lord and trusting Him for this provision. There is an eternal weight of glory being built in us, where fear has no place, and where love will lead us to an everlasting party. This momentary surrender is worth it. This reminding and re-calibrating of who we truly are is at the heart of wisdom. 

Asha Johnsen
Ministry Fellow at Princeton