What is fasting? Abstaining from something, usually food, for spiritual purposes
What does the Bible say?
- Biblical examples: Moses (Exodus 34:28; Deut. 9:9,18), David (2 Samuel 12:16), Elijah (1 Kings 19:8), Nehemiah (Nehemiah 1:4); Esther (Esther 4:16), Daniel (Daniel 1:12), Anna (Luke 2:37), Paul (Acts 14:23), Jesus (Matthew 4:1-2), the early church (Acts 13:2).
- Jesus placed fasting on the same level as financial giving and prayer (Matthew 6:1-18).
- Jesus said that there is a time for fasting (Matthew 9:15).
- Paul says we should give ourselves at times to prayer and fasting (1 Corinthians 7:5).
What is the purpose of fasting?
- The primary purpose of fasting is to focus on God and to center our attention on Him. In doing so, we glorify God (Zechariah 7:5).
- Outer fasting is to lead to inner prayer, worship, and devotion.
- Fasting is not for personal glory or any other selfish motives (Matthew 6:16-18).
- Secondary purposes of fasting: fasting can reveal non-essential things that control us and take precedence in our lives (1 Corinthians 6:12); fasting can increase the effectiveness of prayer (2 Samuel 12:16); fasting can bring guidance from God in decisions (Acts 14:23); fasting can bring revelations (Acts 13:2); fasting can help our physical wellbeing (Daniel 1:12); fasting can aid in concentration; fasting can help bring deliverance for those who are in bondage. But these benefits come only when fasting is our attempt to diligently seek God.
What are the different types of fasting?
- Absolute fast: no food or water for a period of time, usually no more than three days. (Exodus 34:28; Esther 4:16)
- Normal fast: only water, but no food or other drink (Nehemiah 1:4) Some try this for 40 days as Jesus did.
- Partial fast: usually only water and juices. For most, this is a good start: take one day from sun up to sun down to have only fluids. When your stomach growls, pray. In the Daniel Fast that is observed for 10, 20 or 40 days, add fruits, vegetables and grains (Daniel 1:12)
- Lent fast: giving up something specific for the duration of Lent (Ash Wednesday – Easter Sunday: such as sugar, alcohol, etc.)
- Other things to fast from: people, media, telephone, certain activities/habits, etc.
We will fast in one of the ways listed above, (some are once each week, Daniel Fast or Media Fast could be all 20 days) until Easter on April 12th. Some are doing a Daniel Fast for ten days before Easter. Most of our church will join in a fast on Good Friday, April 10th, along with our day of prayer.
If you would like to join us you can comment below or write “Fast” on your online Connection Card on Sunday. I am praying for you. God is going to do great things as we Seek Him!