February 08, 2018
Two weeks ago, Pastor Gregg asked me about the involvement of families and children in the fasting and feasting rhythm many of us have undertaken. As I began talking with families, one theme kept coming up.
“Fasting’s not easy!” they’d say.
Most families had experienced challenges such as pushback from kids or trying to fit this rhythm into their schedules. As families worked to get into this rhythm, they needed to remember that an occasional set back is okay, but that it was worth it to push through and keep trying. Those who kept trying have seen positive results: meaningful discussions with their children, extra prayer and devotion time with the family, and joyful celebrations and feasts.
Every family is unique. They have different ways they have chosen to fast (as well as different reasons for fasting). Here are a few examples of how families have made fasting work:
Fast from food: The hunger or craving is a reminder to take the time to pray or read God’s word.
Cutting out food does not work for a growing child. But some families have cut out sugar or treats. When they feel the craving for something sweet, they use that as a reminder to take time to pray.
Fast from an activity: Instead, use that time to participate in another activity that strengthens your relationship with God.Many of our families have cut out screen time. TV, computers, iPads, phones—these families don’t touch them one day a week. Instead, families take the time to pray, read the Bible, sing praise songs, and play games together.
Fast from an item or activity as a reminder of what Jesus gave up for us.
Children and adults are giving some thing up so that every time they want to use this item, they remember what Jesus gave up for them. That may spur a prayer, a grateful heart, or a song of praise.
As families fast, children are finding that they need to figure out ways to make it work.
What do you do if you have computer class on your day of fasting from screens?
What do you do if mom forgot today is no sugar day and she gave you a granola bar with chocolate chips on it? (She picked them off, in case you were wondering.)
What do you do if you have late start and you really want to play on your iPad?
Our children are learning that spiritual growth can be challenging, but that it is worth it if they stick with it.
I have enjoyed hearing the stories from the families and how they have had more time together to pray, talk, worship, and celebrate.
I pray this time of fasting and feasting has been a blessing for you and look forward to hearing your stories.
Kara Hackert is the Children's Ministries Coordinator at Elmhurst Christian Reformed Church.