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Fasting: Blessing Two Lives

I have always struggled with fasting. It is very hard for me to connect going without food to getting divine assistance. (Not to mention that I plain just love food!) I went for a long time without fasting due to pregnancies, nursing and health issues. But over the last few months, I have known that my excuses have run out and I need to get in gear. It has gone about the same as usual. I fast, always with a purpose (for who can do it without a purpose?), and I never quite feel that I have had any influence.

Well this month was a little different. Our Relief Society Presidency asked us to fast for a sister in the ward who has been experiencing chronic and yet undiagnosed health problems. She is younger than I, with two school-aged children. I have talked to her and know a little about her problems, and I really sympathize with her, because one of her issues is severe insomnia, something that I am all too familiar with.

As I began my fast, I decided to just lay it all on the table with the Heavenly Father. I told him of my struggles with fasting and that I nevertheless really wanted to help this sister. We were asked to pray for healing and appropriate medical treatment, but I decided to add to that a request for just one night of uninterrupted sleep. 

When I saw this dear sister on Sunday morning, I asked how she was feeling. She broke down in tears at the apparent hopelessness of her situation. I assured her that we were praying and fasting for her, and I told her that I added in a prayer for a single night’s sleep. She smiled and told me that she slept really well the night before—that would be the night of my fast.

I don’t know to what extent that was an answer to her prayers, but I have no doubt that Heavenly Father used this small request to strengthen my testimony of fasting. I am continually amazed at all of the tools that Heavenly Father has given us to get through our journey on this earth. I am so grateful for the fulness of the gospel.

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Kris January 15, 2012, 12:23 pm

    Thank you.

  • Alison Moore Smith January 15, 2012, 7:30 pm

    Love this, Tracy.

    Years ago Susan Easton Black was my stake RS president. Every month she had an (awesome!) early morning breakfast for the ward RS presidents in her stake. During one of those feasting training meetings, she made a suggestion for how those who were pregnant or otherwise unable to fast might better participate. She suggested that perhaps they could eat for sustenance only, meaning, for example, instead of a stack of french toast with syrup and hot cocoa, a “fasting” breakfast could be a very simple hot cereal or something.

    Certainly this isn’t doctrine, but it was a very helpful suggestion for me throughout my many, many pregnancies. 🙂
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Its OK to Change Your GoalsMy Profile

  • Pattyann January 16, 2012, 2:12 pm

    I so agree. I taught the lesson on fasting in my ward last year, and after hours of research, it is the one thing I made sure that I brought out. Not every one is able to do a complete fast. But all of us are able to give up something and have a spiritual fast. For instance, if you are pregnant, there is nothing that says you have to have sugar. How about giving up sugar for fast sunday. You can give up all drinks except water (unless you need milk or something else). The whole point is that we can completely follow the spirit of the fast even if we can’t fast the traditional way. How I wish that I would have found that sooner. It makes all the difference for me.
    Pattyann recently posted…Sabbath Day Scribblings – A New HeartMy Profile

  • Robin January 16, 2012, 11:31 pm

    That’s really what is all about isn’t it? finding something you’re passionate about, to fast for–something that really matters to you. Maybe it will take us all month long to find out what that ONE thing is for our fast that month- the one thing we really want to overcome, the one thing that is the biggest concern about our children, the thing that will give it meaning.
    Your article gave me alot to think about. thanks for sharing!

  • Joana January 17, 2012, 9:35 am

    Thanks for the great article Tracy and this good discussion. Lots of new thoughts gain from this site. About fasting for pregnancy and so on. I might wondering “is fasting has a big benefits to your health”? In some religion like Islam they have this fasting.
    Joana recently posted…How To Get A Girl To Like YouMy Profile

  • Julie January 30, 2012, 4:34 pm


    What an inspiration…fasting is not a strong suit of mine either. I am such a horrible hungry person. But fasting to help someone truly gives it a purpose and makes it more meaningful.

  • Julie January 30, 2012, 4:35 pm


    I am going to try a fast for someone who needs help next time and see if I can get through it. Thanks for the story.
    Julie recently posted…Modest Wedding GownsMy Profile

  • Tracy Polyak January 30, 2012, 5:37 pm

    Julie, I pray that you will be blessed in your sincere efforts. Please do come back and share your successes with us!

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