Breathe. Exhale. Pray. Repeat.

Moses, Elijah, Esther, Daniel and Paul (among others) participated in fasting and prayer during the difficult times in their lives. The most important of them all is Jesus Christ who fasted for 40 days in the wilderness.  We now find ourselves in a wilderness of sorts.  We are commanded to stay inside our homes.  Not to venture out unless absolutely necessary.  Police and the National Guard stand at the ready to take whatever action the Governors of the states announce is necessary to control a pathogen known as covid-19.

Folks are panic-stricken.  Those who leave their homes to buy food are advised to wear masks and gloves since anything they touch will be considered a possible contaminant.  Fear has replaced faith … or so it seems?  Not in the heart of a Christian!  It is our evangelical duty to spread the Good Words of hope, love and charity.  Sanity in an insane world.  Hope that all is restored to a natural balance and we can move on with our lives.  Love all who inhabit this beloved Earth as we love God.  Charity, though said begins at home, venture out to check on family members and friends who are elderly and need help.  Drop off clothes and canned goods to homeless shelters.  Have faith that you are happy, healthy and whole — let your attitude infect others instead of a virus.

This is where fasting and prayer come in!  There are various forms of fasting, the more traditional method of denying yourself food for a particular period of time is still practiced but not as popular as it used to be.  Short fasts like 24 hours without food but water is allowed.  A healthy human can go 21 to 40 or more days without food before experiencing starvation (think Jesus in the desert).  We are not asking you to starve yourselves, only that between the hours of 12  noon and 3:00 pm you disconnect from electronic devices, sequester yourself in a quiet place and fast and pray for the ills of this world we find ourselves in and pray for an end to the madness along with a complete and total healing.  Working on an icon of choice makes this time even more beautiful and productive.  Pour all your concerns, laments, praises and prose into the image of the work you’ve chosen.  Talk to God with your whole heart, mind and soul.  Embrace the time spent alone in your little patch of desert. 

Finding news channels hard to stomach, as one is constantly bombarded with the latest statistics and deaths from the virus; we can choose instead to focus on how many folks survived and praise God there are many silver linings in the darkest of clouds!  Count your many blessings and replace fear with faith!  When I rise each day, I write down positive and productive ideas on a note card and try to follow them throughout the day.  I’ll share some ideas with you and when you have a moment, please share yours too!

  • place your hand in the Hand of God as soon as your eyes open in the morning–thanking Him for another day of breath
  • walk in trust — St. Augustine stated “it is solved by walking!”
  • while your coffee is percolating, go outside and fill your bird feeders (the birds are watching you!)
  • spread some peanut butter on a tree branch and watch the squirrels lie down to lick it off (lazy squirrels!)
  • plant flowers and spend the morning slowly weeding
  • photograph images that you know God is letting you know He is with you
  • put 5 to 7 miles on your pedometer, it’s easy when you start with one step and keep moving
  • rise an extra hour earlier three times a week to draw, write a poem or just enjoy the quiet moments before the household wakes
  • smile frequently!  Studies have shown when we smile often, our countenance stays lit for hours (and people wonder why you’re so happy!)
  • use chopsticks when eating your meals–you automatically slow down and enjoy your food–tasting what God has provided
  • eat a cookie or have a piece of dark chocolate — daily!
  • learn a new recipe and make it for dinner
  • teach your grandchildren how to pray — sometimes parents get caught up in raising their kids and may be too tired
  • write a short note of thanks or gratitude and mail it to a family member or friend (NO EMAILS OR TEXTS!)
  • tell your spouse you love them 3 times each day — keep those home fires stoked.  It’s better than whacking them on the back of their heads with a shovel 🙂
  • Your turn!!  Send me your positives and your address — then keep your eyes on your mailbox!  We’ll end this post with a prayer :

“Lord, Hanging as a vine upon the Wood,
O Christ our Savior,
You have made the ends of the earth
to drink from the wine of resolve.
Therefore do I cry aloud:
I am darkened always by the vicious drunkenness of sin;
Give me to drink from the sweet wine of true faith,
and grant me now the strength, O Savior,
to fast from sensual pleasures,
for Your are good and love mankind. Amen.”

Peace and All Good!