Everything In Its Proper Perspective

25 Mar

“You could say that prayer without fasting is like boxing with one hand tied behind your back, and that fasting without prayer is, well, dieting.”  ~ Matt Fradd

If -that- doesn’t hit the nail on the head, nothing will!  Fasting without prayer is dieting.  Yep.  And yet, there are many people doing just that this Lenten season: dieting.  They are observing the laws of fast and abstinence but they do so merely to comply with the law and not to enter into the fullness of the season.  In doing so, their Lent will be shallow at best and meaningless at worst.

Today’s quote brings another facet of our spiritual lives into sharper focus as well:  prayer, alone, is not enough.  Some people think that all they need to do is pray and everything will be fine.  Prayer, by itself, is not enough though.  If we are sincere in our prayer, that prayer moves us to action.  It might prompt us to perform works of mercy.  It might invite us to pray for others rather than ourselves.  It takes our focus off of our own lives and places it on others.

Lent has always been about drawing ourselves closer to God.  As we do so, we are reminded about our responsibility toward one another.  If we are to be as close to God as possible, we will have to live more like His Son who served the needs of all.

That might disturb some of us since “all” includes people with whom we’d rather not associate.  Are they not our brothers and sisters as well?  Can we pick and choose who our brothers and sisters will be?  Did Jesus say, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all  your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind and love only the people you like as yourself?”  Of course not.  The mandate was clear: love everyone.

Fasting and prayer go hand in hand.  Fasting and prayer take us out of ourselves in service of the God who dwells in all of His people.  Fasting and prayer are the keys to unlocking the rich secrets of Lent.  God has so much to reveal to us.  Don’t hobble yourself by praying without fasting or by fasting without prayer.

FAITH ACTION:  Pray that God helps you to put into perspective the many things that you do during Lent so as to make the season richer in its grace.