By Guest Blogger Marc Jorgensen
For me, understanding my relationship between myself and God has not always come easily. Coming to know that God truly exists has been the most critical component of my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Knowing that God knows and understands me helps me to trust him.
The first time I seriously fasted was a pivotal point in my life. It allowed me to feel much closer to God, and gave me a real knowledge that he actually listens and responds to our sincere prayers. Fasting involves going without food and water for a twenty-four hour period; when we fast we are encouraged to have a specific need or blessing that we ask from God, which, if it is appropriate and we are worthy, we will receive. I learned about this process repeatedly since I was a kid, and had made attempts at fasting growing up, none of which had a lasting impact.
But something was different when I was seventeen years old. My mind was more mature, and I felt I had arrived at a point where I should actually sacrifice something and have a sincere fast if I expected actual answers to prayers from God. I cannot recall what I specifically prayed for, but I do remember the strong desire I felt to supplicate God to help me complete the fast.
I was over six feet tall and used to a high daily food intake. So, almost immediately after beginning my fast (with a prayer) my mind and body were constantly pulling at me to eat or drink. It was very difficult, and more than a few times I found myself praying to overcome my appetite.
This experience was entirely different than any other attempt I had made. My prayers became more focused, and I felt my faith in the reality of God growing tremendously with each passing hour. When I read the Bible or the Book of Mormon that day, my perception to details and insights into passages increased. With this new understanding, the scriptures became less a story and more a reality to me. Essentially, as I focused less on my physical needs, my spiritual sensitivity became more refined and I became aware of things I never noticed before.
This was an eye-opening experience. I did learn to be in better control of my body, but more importantly it established a firm belief that God really exists, and that has stayed with me. This knowledge continues to positively influence my thoughts and actions to this day.