This post is a bit of personal sharing. Years ago my daughter was going through some rough times. I started fasting and praying for her each Wednesday. It was a very simple fast; just until 4:00 pm each Wed. And it wasn't what you might call a fast that was "full of faith." It was very broken and the prayers included a lot of begging for mercy and intervention. You might even say it had a sense of hopelessness. It was just an honest broken heart.
However, I made Thursdays my day of feasting. I ate my favorite foods and spent the day thanking God for all the mercy and intervention he was providing my daughter. No brokenness and no sense of hopelessness was allowed on Thursdays. Thursdays was a day to just be happy, do fun things, and rejoice in God's hand on my daughter.
And then on Friday I went back to carrying my burdens.
I did this for many months and one Wednesday, as I was fasting and praying, I asked God if this was doing any good (remember this day had a sense of hopelessness). He simply said, "it has not gone unnoticed." And that word gave me hope and strength to continue. God noticed my fasting and was hearing my prayers. John said this:
1 John 5:14-16
14This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.
So I kept praying and fasting. And on Thursdays I kept feasting.
A few months later I was on the road (I travel a lot in my work) and woke up in my hotel room on a Thursday. I was not feeling like celebrating. You need to understand that it took a lot of work for me to celebrate on Thursdays. My daughter was still going through rough times. I had to discipline myself to celebrate and I didn't feel like doing it that day. What I felt was that sense of hopelessness. I prayed and asked God if this feasting on Thursdays was doing any good. What was the point?
I picked up the Gideon Bible in the room and started looking through the things written in the beginning and then the table of contents. I saw "Nehemiah" in the list and thought I would read some of it. So I opened the Bible and landed on Nehemiah 8. In Nehemiah 8 I found the following:
9 Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, "This day is sacred to the LORD your God. Do not mourn or weep." For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law.
10 Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."
My Thursdays were sacred to the LORD (all days are, I know, but go with me here). The joy of the LORD mentioned in Nehemiah included actual feasting with favorite foods and drinks and sharing them with those that didn't have them so they could rejoice as well. And doing all of this in the name of the LORD. I realized that my Thursdays and the feasting were doing good, giving me strength, and were in fact sacred unto the LORD.
I have been doing this for almost a decade now and it has worked a lot of changes in me. Rejoicing on Thursdays is still the hardest. It has become a very easy thing to fast on Wednesdays and pray. It still takes more work to feast on Thursdays and rejoice, giving God praise for his sovereignty, mercy, and grace when things are rough. But all of this has worked amazing things in me. And my daughter is blessed and covered by my God.
I just want to encourage you. If you are going through rough times set aside a time for fasting and a time for feasting. Pour your heart out to God for your needs when you are fasting. And rejoice in his provision when you are feasting. Let this become a part of your life.
It will change you.