Last week’s blog helped us understand what fasting is. To recap…fasting is one of the most powerful disciplines of all the spiritual practices. Through fasting and prayer, we are able to be more open to the direction of the Holy Spirit. Practically speaking, fasting and prayer can help us deepen our relationship with God.
Of all spiritual disciplines, fasting may be the most difficult to do because it means we will go “without.” Let’s face it, in today’s society, we don’t like to go “without.” During this season of Lent you may be engaging in your own spiritual practice of fasting. We can help our children understand why we fast. It’s important to teach them about this spiritual discipline and how to seek God in a fresh, new way during a fast.
God wants to work in the hearts of children through prayer and fasting just as He does for adults. Children will respond and grow spiritually when we teach them and give them the opportunity to participate. If they are going to be lifelong followers of Jesus, they must experience Him in a real and personal way.
For kids, fasting from all food is obviously not encouraged, but kids can fast from certain kinds of food such as ice cream, candy and other favorites. Other ways for kids to fast can include video games, TV, iPads, etc.
Here are some points to remember when we are teaching our children about fasting:
- Fasting reminds us God is our provider of every good and perfect gift. Help kids find this reality.
- Fasting helps us focus. The point of a fast is to focus on a particular issue, need, concern, or desire. In this case, we are working to bring ourselves closer to God.
- Model fasting. Kids learn more from what they see than what they simply hear. When teaching the discipline of fasting, know that you can’t lead kids to do something that you’re not willing to do yourself.
- Don’t sell kids short. While the practice and understanding of fasting is best suited for older kids, teaching and allowing kids to participate in age-appropriate ways will lay foundations for deeper and more meaningful experiences in the future. – Dee Ann Lord, Family, Children and Youth Coach