Cultivating Spiritual HungerImmediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him. Mark 1:12–13
Even Jesus disconnected from the world to fast and pray. Matthew, Mark, and Luke tell of Jesus going to the wilderness for forty days and forty nights. They also describe other times when Jesus pulled away from the demands of the crowds, His ministry, and even His closest friends to pray.
There are times that we, too, need to pull away from the things of the world and focus on God. “The things of the world” can certainly include more than just food. In fact, in our world they are more likely television, movies, Facebook, Twitter, cell phones, and the Internet. None of these things are wrong in and of themselves, but they are avenues for a mental and spiritual crowd to gather around us and drown out the Holy Spirit’s voice.
Fasting is a means of disconnecting from the distractions of daily life and consciously choosing to bring God into greater focus. Giving up physical nourishment is the first step in engaging that process. If you think about it, though, in day-to-day life we nourish our souls as well as our bodies. We do so through reading, talking, socializing, playing, and enter-tainment. When our souls are full of those things, we often don’t hunger for God.
During this time of fasting, we are sure to feel physical hunger, but let’s be intentional about cultivating spiritual hun-ger as well. Let’s draw away from the crowd and lay aside for a season the activities we use to nourish our souls. In-stead let’s enter a state of spiritual hunger, a craving for righteousness. Jesus said that being spiritually hungry is a blessed state, because there we can be sure of being filled with food that truly satisfies our deepest needs (Matthew 5:6).
Prayer is reaching out and after the unseen; fasting, letting go of all that is seen and temporal. Fasting helps express, deepens, confirms the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves, to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God. —Andrew Murray
Bible Reading Plan: Matthew 6
Prayer Focus: During this time, you will find that being still before the Lord will set you in a place of increased strength, peace, and hunger for God. Are you disconnected from things that nourish your body and soul? What do you need to deny yourself to make this a powerful time in your life?