Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Law of the Fast- Part Two

What are the benefits and blessings of obeying the law of the fast?
The benefits and blessings of fasting are as numerous as the reasons for which we fast. We know that fasting increases physical well-being. We know fasting helps us to master our own body, appetites and desires and this self mastery increases our ability to follow all of Gods commandments. We know that the Lord hears the desires of our hearts when we fast and pray and contribute a generous offering. This brings about many unique and individual blessings. We also know that fasting helps us to develop spiritual strength. Moses received spiritual strength from fasting. The four sons of Mosiah exemplified the powerful combination of fasting and prayer when they”searched the scriptures” and “they had given themselves to much prayer and fasting”.

Esther 4 - Through the power of fasting, Esther was able to save the lives of her people. After personally fasting for 3 days and 3 nights and asking others to fast with her for the common purpose, Esther invited the king and Haman to attend a banquet she had prepared. At the banquet the king asked her what she would like and she responded that she would like to invite the King and Haman to another banquet the next day. It was that night that the King was unable to sleep and had scriptures read to him. It was at this time that he was reminded of the heroism of Mordecai and asked the question of his servants what had been done to reward Mordecai for saving his life. When they told him nothing had been done be began to think about what he could do to reward Mordecai. It was this night and early the next day, after Esther, Mordecai and others had completed their 3 day fast, that the King was unable to sleep and was reminded of the good that Mordacai the Jew had done.

I believe the righteous desires of the fasting heart were answered. The Jews were spared from their death sentence, Mordecai and Esther were raised up in power along side the king, and Haman was hanged by the gallows he had constructed for the purpose of hanging Mordecai.

-The Law of the fast is not new. David O McKay taught, “Historians tell us that the custom of fasting dates back to the early history of the human race. Whatever its origin, it is significant to note that several virtues are attached to the observance of the custom. All the principles associated with fasting seem to point to the fact that it produces, first physical well-being, then, Self mastery, next, an opportunity to help others, and finally, spiritual strength.” “But the greatest of all benefits from fasting is the spiritual strength derived by the subjection of physical appetite to the will of the individual.” (David o McKay Gospel Ideals- Improvement Era 1953 pp 208-213)

We have been invited to experiment with a proper fast. Adhere to the 4 steps of a proper fast and see if the results are different than when you cut corner, or don’t fast at all.

1- Abstain from food
2- Pray
3- Testify (youth- this means you too)
4- Contribute

Gaining a testimony of fasting = fasting properly = increased spiritual strength, self mastery, physical well being, and ability to help others.

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