After attending a recent stake training meeting, my husband expressed a desire to me that we teach our children about fasting. This is a direction that came down the lines of church leadership to our stake leaders. It didn’t escape our notice that the first talk at General Conference was given by President Eyring on the topic of the fast. With Fast Sunday approaching this week, this is a perfect time to share this lesson with our children. As I am putting it together, I know this will be a topic of discussion for more than just one night.
What is a fast?
Use the points from this Friend magazine article. Cut up the points and hide them around the room, have the children find them and discuss them in order.
- Fast Sunday is on the first Sunday of each month. It is a special day to humble ourselves before the Lord by fasting, praying, and attending fast and testimony meeting.
- On fast Sunday, members of the Church do not eat or drink for two meals. Children may be encouraged to fast when they are old enough.
- Members donate the money they would have spent on food for the two meals to help the needy. This money is called a fast offering.
- Members can give fast offerings to one of the bishopric or branch presidency members. The bishop or branch president uses the money to help those in need in his ward or branch.
- Fast offerings may be used to help feed the hungry.
- Fast offerings might be used to care for the sick.
- In each way a fast offering is used, it helps take care of Heavenly Father’s children.
Discuss the following teachings from President Henry B. Eyring, “Is Not This the Fast I Have Chosen?”. April 2015 General Conference.
“When we offer succor to anyone, the Savior feels it as if we reached out to succor Him.”
“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:40).
“So the Lord has given us a simple commandment with a marvelous promise. In the Church today we are offered the opportunity to fast once a month and give a generous fast offering through our bishop or branch president for the benefit of the poor and the needy. Some of what you give will be used to help those around you, perhaps someone in your own family. The Lord’s servants will pray and fast for the revelation to know whom to help and what help to give. That which is not needed to help people in your local Church unit will become available to bless other Church members across the world who are in need.”
“Rich promises are made by the Lord to those who fast and assist the needy. … Inspiration and spiritual guidance will come with righteousness and closeness to our Heavenly Father. To omit to do this righteous act of fasting would deprive us of these blessings” (President Spencer W. Kimball).
Stories of helping others through fast offerings:
-Tropical Cyclone Pam hitting Vanuatu
“Other storms and tragedies will come across the world to people the Lord loves and whose sorrows He feels. Part of your fast offering and mine this month will be used to help someone, somewhere, whose relief the Lord will feel as if it were His own.”
An earthquake in Nepal on Saturday, April 25th, has killed thousands and left many more injured and in great need. How can we help?
Other scriptures about Fasting
“Turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting” (Joel 2:12).
“They did fast much and pray much” (Alma 45:1).
“Verily, this is fasting and prayer, or in other words, rejoicing and prayer” (D&C 59:14).
“Fasting, coupled with mighty prayer, is powerful.” (Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “The Law of the Fast,” Ensign, May 2001, 73.)