Due to General Conference last week our ward will be fasting this Sunday. I’ve had a family issue come up and really need to fast for some of the people I love. I also had a friend ask if I would mind fasting for her. Our local missionaries asked this week that we fast for missionary opportunities.
Fasting or praying for many things makes me very nervous. I feel like praying for several things dilutes the power of it. Almost like fasting and prayer give me a certain portion of concern from our Father in Heaven and if I ask for too many things than I’m using up that portion of concern; almost like it’s a pie and everything I fast or pray for is a slice. So if it’s something really important I want to dedicate that whole pie to the pressing issue.
Another analogy would be that fasting, in particular, is like earning money. Once I’ve earned enough though fasting I can go to the Bank of Heaven and pay for my requests. Do I want to spend all my money I earned fasting on one super important thing? Or do I want to spend smaller amounts of money asking for things that maybe aren’t as important to me? I don’t want to seem like a spoiled kid at Christmas who has a list a mile long of all the presents he wants.
On one hand this feels kind of weird; Heavenly Father is going to help who He wants and do what He wants and my pitiful prayers aren’t going to make that much of a difference. But on the other hand, I want Him to know how important certain things are and maybe only by fasting or praying for that one thing, Heavenly Father will understand what a big deal it is.
Of course Heavenly Father knows it’s a big deal because he can read my mind and see what I’m doing all the time. Which, if you think about it that way, why bother praying or fasting at all since He already knows? But that’s a whole other can of worms!
The more I write about this, the crazier I feel (and probably sound too). But I really don’t know the answer to this. It has bothered me my whole life. Does the request for many things dilute what we ask for? I’d like to know how you feel about this subject. Have you ever wrestled with this idea? Or does prayer and fasting feel like a bounteous, eternal well? How have you arrived at your opinion?