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When Larisa Abajyan, 14, fasts, she prays for something special. (Andrew McChesney / Adventist Mission)

13-Year-Old Girl Begs to Fast

Larisa Abajyan wanted to join her parents in praying for a relative not to get a divorce.

By Andrew McChesney

Father and Mother fasted whenever something very important worried them in the Czech Republic.

If Father had a big problem at work in Prague, he and Mother might not eat any food for a whole day. Instead, they might only drink water while they prayed to God about the work problem.

If Grandfather faced a major hardship, Father and Mother might not eat any dessert for a day. Instead they might only eat fruits and vegetables while they prayed to God about Grandfather’s hardship.

One evening, Father announced during family worship with Mother and their three children that a beloved aunt wanted to get a divorce. He and Mother decided that they would go on a fast from all food the next day.

The oldest child, 13-year-old Larisa Abajyan, spoke up.

“I want to fast and pray, too,” she said.

Father slowly shook his head.

“Mother and I have told you many times that you are too young to go a whole day without any food,” he said.

“But Father,” Larisa pleaded. “I’m already 13. I’m not 9 or 5 years old like my brothers. I really want to fast and pray for Aunt.”

Father and Mother were not sure about the request, but Larisa kept on pleading. Mother suggested that Larisa go on a no-dessert fast and only eat fruits and vegetables. But Larisa insisted that she wanted to try a no-food fast. Finally Father gave his consent, and Larisa happily went to bed. It was the weekend.

In the morning, Larisa remembered when she woke up that she planned not to eat anything all day. Instead, she would drink water and pray from time to time that Aunt change her mind about getting a divorce.

“Please, save her family, Lord, because I know nothing is impossible for You to do, and I know You can help her,” she prayed.

She got up and immediately drank a glass of water.

The family had morning worship together and prayed for Aunt.

Then as Larisa’s brothers ran to the kitchen for breakfast, she went to her bedroom and closed the door so she wouldn’t see them eating. She read the Bible some more and prayed for Aunt not to get a divorce. Hearing her brothers still eating, she pulled out a paintbrush and paint, a painted a picture of tall green trees and grand purple mountains.

After breakfast, Larisa watched movies and played with her brothers in the living room. From time to time, she prayed silently for Aunt.

“Please, save her family, Lord, because I know nothing is impossible for You to do, and I know You can help her,” she prayed.

At lunchtime, Mother asked how she felt.

“I’m fine. I’m fine,” Larisa said. “I’ve got this. Don’t worry.”

After drinking a glass of water, she returned to her bedroom. She was starting to feel hungry, and she didn’t want to be tempted to break her fast. In her room, she searched the Internet for information about England. She liked everything about England, and she wished that she could visit one day.

After lunch, Larisa played some more with her brothers, but she was beginning to feel very hungry. It wasn’t as easy as she had expected to fast.

“I’m really hungry, but I don’t want to give up,” Larisa told Father.

“You can do it,” Father said, encouragingly.

Larisa prayed silently for Aunt not to get a divorce and asked God to help her continue the fast. Then she poured herself another glass of water.

After a while, Mother suggested that Larisa also drink some hot water.

“You can start to feel cold when you don’t eat,” Mother said.

The hot water warmed up Larisa, and she tried hard not to think about food. She prayed for Aunt.

At suppertime, Larisa went back to her room. She folded some clothes, dusted her desk, and put put things back in their right place.

At evening worship, the family prayed for Aunt and talked about the day.

“What did you enjoy today?” Father asked Larisa.

“I’m happy that I’m still alive!” Larisa said.

The next morning, Larisa heartily ate a salad of cucumbers, carrots, and lettuce for breakfast. The food tasted better than ever before.

A few days later, Father announced during family worship that Aunt had changed her mind. She no longer wanted to get a divorce.

Larisa was so happy that she had fasted and that God had answered her prayers.

A year has passed since Larisa’s first fast, and now she prays and fasts about twice a month. There are many ways to fast. Like the first time, she can stop eating food for one day. Or she can give up cookies, cake, ice cream, and other desserts and only eat fruits and vegetables. She also could stay off the Internet and Facebook for a day.

When Larisa fasts, she prays for something special — a family member, an exam, or a problem at school. Now she is praying about where to go for the 10th grade. The Adventist school that she attends in Prague only teaches to the ninth grade.

“I want God to help me find the right school that he wants me to go to,” Larisa said. “I’m sure He will answer me because He has always answered when I pray.”

Larisa Abajyan talking about fasting for her aunt. (Andrew McChesney / Adventist Mission)

Part of the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering in first quarter 2020 will help fund programs for at-risk children in the Czech Republic. Thank you for planning a generous offering.