Fasting

Have you ever thought about fasting?  Me neither! (Hee, hee!)

Seriously, I have never thought of fasting being relevant to my life.  It’s not that I don’t think it should be done, I just have never thought of doing it.

Plus, my idea of people fasting has always been of the Israelites in the desert or Jesus before he was tempted by the devil and that just seems really old-fashioned, out-of-date and not applicable to me.

However, someone brought the idea of fasting to me recently and it’s made me think, “How can fasting be pertinent to my life and why would I do it?”

I started doing some thinking (crazy, I know) and a little research and found there are many reasons why I should try fasting because it helps us:

  1. Draw close to God through discipline, self-control and denial.
  2. Focus on God by praying through the fasting.
  3. Rely on God to be our portion instead of food.
  4. Place our dependence on God.
  5. Listen to God’s leading.

Obviously, we should make sure that fasting is appropriate for our health and if you’ve got a medical condition it should not be done.  However, if we are healthy and able, fasting could really be a great way to actively place our lives in God’s hands and see what happens!

And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Matthew 6:16-18

This scripture reminds me that if I choose to fast, the act of fasting needs to be between me and God and not a huge production so that others can tell me how awesome I am for doing something Christian-esk!

Additionally, it’s interesting to know that people all through scriptures fasted for a plethora of reasons.  (Thanks, Amy, for all of the scriptures!!!)

  • Moses fasted 40 days on behalf of Israel’s sin: Deuteronomy 9:9, 18, 25-29; 10:10.
  • David fasted and mourned the death of his child: 2 Samuel 12:16
  • Ahab fasted and humbled himself before God: 1 Kings 21:27-29.
  • Darius fasted in concern for Daniel: Daniel 6:18-24.
  • Daniel fasted on behalf of Judah’s sin while reading Jeremiah’s prophecy: Daniel 9:1-19.
  • Daniel fasted regarding a mysterious vision from God: Daniel 10:3-13
  • Esther fasted on behalf of her people: Esther 4:13-16.
  • Ezra fasted and wept for the sins of the returning remnant: Ezra 10:6-17.
  • Nehemiah fasted and mourned over the broken walls of Jerusalem: Nehemiah 1:4-2:10.
  • The people of Ninevah fasted after hearing the message of Jonah: Jonah 3.
  • Anna fasted for the redemption of Jerusalem through the coming Messiah: Luke 2:37.
  • Jesus fasted 40 days before his temptation and the beginning of his ministry: Matthew 4:1-11.
  • The disciples of John the Baptist fasted: Matthew 9:14-15.
  • The elders in Antioch fasted before sending off Paul and Barnabas: Acts 13:1-5.
  • Cornelius fasted and sought God’s plan of salvation: Acts 10:30.
  • Paul fasted three day after his Damascus Road encounter: Acts 9:9.
  • Paul fasted 14 days while at sea on a sinking ship: Acts 27:33-34.

Overall, fasting sounds like an activity that could deepen and develop my relationship with God and I think it’s definitely worth a try!

What are your thoughts on fasting?

Some Wisdom for Today:  Proverbs 13:1 – A wise son hears his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.

2 Responses

  1. Every year, my church has 21 days of Fasting and Prayer. It is left up to the person to pray about and determine what to fast. Some fast certain foods, some do a Daniel fast, even a few fast anything but liquids. There is also other options such as fasting other things that have gotten in the way of your relationship with God. Some will fast electronics or Facebook (as funny as that sounds). The important thing is to spend the time that you would normally be doing that activity in prayer. It may sound silly until you sit down and think of how many hours a week you spend in front of the TV or on Facebook. My wife takes medication daily that would not allow her to fast foods. This has been her fast before. The important thing about the fast is not so much about what you are giving up, but more about redirecting your focus. Food is such a big fast item given that a grumbling belly is a constant reminder and will not let you forget what you are supposed to be doing.. One other thing that I would mention on fasting is that having some insight or direction that you are seeking as part of your fast is beneficial. It is a great time that you can get spiritual answers.

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