30 Hour Famine: Fasting for Empathy

The 30 Hour Famine is something in which many youth groups throughout the nation participate. On the same weekend we were fasting, thousands of other students were also fasting. And while we were discussing poverty and hunger, youth groups across America were also thinking and praying about the poor and hungry. So, in the same weekend, thousands of young people are becoming aware of global issues, fasting and praying about those issues, and deciding to do something about it.

You can see how this is awesome. Thousands of students – deciding to make a difference – on the same weekend. World Vision (the people behind the 30 Hour Famine, and myriad of other noble causes) notices a massive swell in support following the fast.

Here’s a breakdown of our weekend:

1. The Fast: The students ate breakfast Friday morning. This was their last meal. Their next would be Saturday at 2 p.m. After much grumbling Friday night, the students began to learn the meaning of the fast. Instead of complaining about their own circumstances, they began to extend empathy to those who go hungry regularly; and they began to think beyond themselves and their immediate needs. We prayed, read the Bible, and meditated. These aren’t normal Friday night activities for American youth; but that’s kind of the point. We’ve been blessed with three or more meals a day, cars, homes, and education; and we take our blessings for granted. Therefore, as we prayed and fasted, that which we took for granted became a reason to be thankful, and a reason to want to bless others. If we are blessed, it is to be a blessing.

2. The Service: If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to do hard work on an empty stomach, wonder no more: it’s awful. But props to our students for sorting cans of food, scrubbing floors, and cleaning facilities at Family Service on Saturday morning – after about 26 hours into the fast. (They also walked there and back, but we did that just to mess with them.) It was one thing to pray for those in need around the world; but it was a blessing to be able to be a part of the answer to our prayers by helping those in need. If we pray for God to help others, we have to be willing to be that help.

3. The Breakfast: We ate pizza Saturday afternoon. Lots of it. And it was good.

-words by Jared Sumners, printed in the June 2015 issue of the Tapestry.


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