Based in St. Cloud, Minnesota, Growing in Grace is a blog by Pastor Matthew Molesky. His posts explore the Bible, theology, ecclesiology, culture, books, family, and life.

And, Speaking Of Fasting...

Maybe that last post has you considering that it has been quite a spell since you've fasted from anything. And maybe you are thinking that this week you will. I've always found that the expulsive power of a new affection is helpful when it comes to such things. In other words, I will need to stoke my affection for God alone in order to overcome my desire for food. My thanks to Scotty Smith for writing the following prayer that would be a great launch into a fast this week.

A Prayer for Feasting on the Riches of God’s Grace

     Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. Isa. 55:1-3
     Most gracious Father, I praise you today for the simple pleasure of eating. I guess you could’ve created us to receive the needed nutrients in some other way, but you are the fountain of pleasures, and thus feasting is one of the many delights we get to enjoy.
     Right now my taste buds could get excited about a pepper-crusted rib-eye steak, a fresh mango salad, sweet potato fries, grilled asparagus, and some raspberry gelato to finish off the culinary spread. All of this shared with about twenty-five good friends, served up with rich conversation and much laughter. Thank you, Father, for the utter joy of eating. But alas, as with all of your good gifts,  we tend to be poor stewards of our greatest thirst and most deepest hunger.
     Too much of the time, Father, I’m a hungry man standing in front of all kinds of refrigerators, real and metaphorical, demanding instant gratification. I’ll grab whatever drink I think will slake my thirst, and I’ll eat whatever bread will make me full in the moment. Like Esau, I let a bowl of steaming oatmeal in my hand hold more power than the promise of a sumptuous feast. Oh, foolish man that I am! I’m never really satisfied when I binge on the snack foods and fast foods of my own lusts.
     Father, you’re always beckoning me to the only feast that will satisfy the deepest thirst and the seemingly insatiable hunger of my soul. You’ve spread before me the gospel feast of your Son, Jesus, and the whole bountiful banquet has already been paid for in full. Incline my ears to listen more attentively to your dinner bell. You designed me for delights you alone can satisfy.
     Lord Jesus, you are the Bread of Life and the giver of living water. You’re the richest fare the Father has promised, not a chalked-in special of the day. Whatever else I’m consuming, if I’m not regularly feasting on you in the gospel, I will remain empty and love poorly.
     Thanks you for the means of grace—the “mercy restaurant” where you meet us and by which you feed us: the Scriptures, prayer, fellowship, private and corporate worship, service, the Lord’s Supper. These offer the firstfruits and foretaste of the meal from which all banqueting derives its meaning: the wedding feast of the Lamb (Rev. 19). Bread of heaven, bread of heaven, feed us till we want no more! So very Amen I pray in your glorious and grace-filled name.

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Don't Be A Gloomy, Disfigured Hypocrite