Over the last few weeks I have come to the know the power of fasting, and how important it is. Unfortunately before my mission I didn't really have a clue about fasting. All I knew was that the first Sunday of every month I was forced to starve and suffer from dehydration for two whole meals. I moaned, groaned, and would lye around my home preparing for my almost certain, slow, painful death. Dinner would never come soon enough. Many times I stopped my fast early, because I felt like I was unable to make it until dinner. I would come to the conclusion that it was better for one person to survive that my whole family, and even the church to starve to death. There had to be at least one survivor. One like Moroni to write the account of the downfall of modern inhabitants of America.
However on my mission I have come to know that there is a lot more to fasting that just not eating and drinking for a 24 hour period. I was able to figure out how not to starve but to fast. If you want to starve you just don't eat. It is that simple. But if you want to fast prayer has to be involved. I have learned fasting and prayer go hand in hand. Prayer is a necessary part in fasting, and that we must fast with a purpose in mind. Luckily you can fast for any righteous purpose. Whether it is to receive strength to overcome temptation, to help those in need, or simply to gain light and knowledge that the Book of Mormon is true. In a sense fasting helps amplify our prayers. It lets God know that we are serious about getting his help to achieve our purpose. As fast and pray with a purpose we are more receptive to receiving answers to our prayers and blessings from the Lord.
Isaiah testified of the blessings that come when we obey the Law of the Fast.
Isaiah 58: 8-11
8 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward .
9 Then shalt thou call , and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;
10 And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry , and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday:
11 And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought , and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.
I have been able to see many miracles take place in the last month due to fasting and prayer. Where the Lord has listened and truly answered Elder Wilkinson's and I prayers.
One month ago all of Southern California fasted for rain because of the extreme drought conditions we have been facing. During my 8 months serving in the Carlsbad Mission, I can count on one hand how many times it has rained since I have been here. Over this last week it has poured for three straight days. I have never seen anything like it. I have never seen so much rain in my life. It was unbelievable. We got more rain in the last 3 days then in the entire last year. People have even went as far as putting signs out on the street saying, " Mormon's don't pray for rain we don't want to get flooded." Even they recognize that when we fast and pray God listens and is right there to say as Isaiah says " Here I am." He listens, answers, and blesses those who turn to him.
Also Elder W and I decided to fast to help a part member family take our message more seriously and to help them start to progress towards baptism and returning to activity. For a long time we have been going over everyday to teach them and they have not been making any progress. Sure enough one week after we fasted for the F Family, L, the mom, told her oldest son, M, that he just had to take a leap of faith and just get baptized. We were shocked to hear her say it. She had be really negative towards church. Since she didn't pass her baptismal interview a few months ago, because she didn't believe that Joseph Smith was prophet. Since then she has been coming to church everyweek with her son and daughter that was recently baptized. She has told us that she believes now that what we teach is true, however she has a few issues with members of the ward. We just keep pressing on, knowing one day she will get baptized. M her oldest son is also making a lot of progress right now and we are planning on setting a new baptismal date with him and his mom.
It is truly amazing how fasting can help others find God. Alma says that after setting up the church in Zarahemla, that everyone has the right to worship and hear the words of God. Then he says
Alma 6: 6
6 Nevertheless the children of God were commanded that they should gather themselves together oft, and join in fasting and mighty prayer in behalf of the welfare of the souls of those who knew not God.
It is also important to realize, that when we are trying to establish this church to every corner of the earth, that we must fast and pray in behalf of those who know not God. I would like to invite everyone, if you don't have another reason, to fast next month for missionary work. Whether it is to have your own missionary opportunities, help the full time missionaries in your area or the world, it will make a huge difference in Hastening the Work of Salvation. It is one simple way you can help build the kingdom of God, your own testimony, and receive blessings. I testify that this is true and the church is true.