Admittedly, I’m not the best faster in the world. Not even a good one. But I try. And Sunday, even though as I left for church I felt weak and as if I might have a blood sugar reaction, I kept trying. I figured if I made it to church all I had to do was sit for three hours and then I would come home and break my fast with some peanut butter (protein and sugar).
As I slid into the bench I opened the hymnal (which is weird–normally I sing from my iPad, which I’d left at home–but also beautiful, as I needed to feel the weight of these words in my hands as they sunk into my heart).
1. In fasting we approach thee here
And pray thy Spirit from above
Will cleanse our hearts, cast out our fear,
And fill our hunger with thy love.
2. Thru this small sacrifice, may we
Recall that strength and life each day
Are sacred blessings sent from thee–
Fill us with gratitude, we pray.
3. And may our fast fill us with care
For all thy children now in need.
May we from our abundance share,
Thy sheep to bless, thy lambs to feed.
4. This fast, dear Father, sanctify–
Our faith and trust in thee increase.
As we commune and testify,
May we be filled with joy and peace.
Text: Paul L. Anderson, b. 1946. (c) 1981 Paul L. Anderson and Lynn R. Carson.
I could hardly finish the song, being so overwhelmed by such a personal response to what I needed, but hadn’t yet articulated in prayer:
Verse 1: I’m desperate for my heart to be cleanse of worry and strife and for the sense of fear and foreboding I often feel to be cast out and replaced with faith and love.
Verse 2: I want to remember daily grace. And recognize in particular the sacred blessing of strength that is not my own.
Verse 3: Though I am often overwhelmed by my day-to-day life, the deepest desire of my heart is to feed His sheep and for a kinder, gentler world where we recognize that we are all His children and work together to share from our abundance.
Verse 4: Commune. I’ve not yet found the words to express how deeply blessed I’ve felt through the past year by being able to gather with members of my ward family to worship our Savior, Jesus Christ. Even though I arrive alone and sometimes find myself wondering who will make room for me on their bench, I feel such a beautiful sense of community.