And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure
their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you,
they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash
your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who
is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
~Matthew 6:16-18 (ESV)
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus moves from teaching about prayer to instructions about fasting, two intimate forms of communicating with the Father. Moreover, two ways the Son modeled communicating with the Father throughout his earthly ministry. Because for Jesus it wasn’t a matter of if he fasted but when he fasted, perhaps I shouldn’t wait so long between my times of fasting. By waiting too long, I wonder if I am missing times of greater intimacy with the Father. Perhaps I am missing times of miraculous transformations in the secret parts of my life that will prepare me for a more blessed life in the Kingdom where I am called to love other as I have been loved.
Don’t wait for some miracle to be performed on you from without, lifting you above your fears and doubts and self-centeredness. You help God from within by turning in outgoing love to others, and miraculously your fears and doubts and self-centeredness will vanish. The miracle starts within, not from without.
~E. Stanley Jones
As you and I communicate with the Father whether by praying or fasting, may we inwardly know the reward of greater intimacy with the Father who loves us with an everlasting love.