And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

Acts 14:23

Stanislav Petrov isn’t a name you probably recognize, but he is one of the greatest decision-makers of the 20th century. Back in 1983, he was serving as a lieutenant for the Soviet Union Air Defense Forces during the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union. During his overnight shift, his computer showed that five U.S. missiles were heading toward his homeland. All he was supposed to do in that situation was report the incoming missiles, which probably would have triggered a nuclear war, but for some reason he didn’t. He thought, “Why would the Americans only send five missiles?” So he quickly ran a diagnostic on the computer and confirmed his suspicions; it was a computer error. Because of Petrov’s decision-making skills, war between the United States and the Soviets was averted.

How do you make decisions; on an impulse or only after careful review? Do you trust observable and measurable statistics or do you trust your gut? God’s people, throughout biblical times, consistently sought the guidance of God both through His word and through prayer to determine next steps along their path of faith. And one component that was often called upon to assist their decision-making was fasting. 

The discipline of going without, acknowledging God’s sovereign hand and provision in their lives didn’t make God’s people go crazy with hunger, instead fasting gave His people clarity and greater faith in God’s plan. When you fast, you’re saying, “I trust you God to take care of me; I’m emptying myself of something vital to fill myself up with something infinitely more valuable; you God.” When you fast, you’re actually ignoring your rumbling gut to focus on a much more reliable source of wisdom.

Questions to ponder

What is the best decision you’ve ever made? What’s the worst?

Have you ever trusted your gut over the facts in front of you? How did it turn out; should you have listened to the facts or your gut?

What is a decision or situation where you need to seek God’s guidance? Consider fasting, even for a day, to seek God and demonstrate your reliance on Him. 

Share your faith journey!