Most Christians don’t know that fasting as part of prayer was expected by Jesus. If this is the case, why does it seem that so few Christians participate and fewer know much about it? I’m not sure of the answers other than they haven’t been taught… it hasn’t crossed their mind… it isn’t important to them… or they don’t realize the importance of fasting.
I suggest getting the book Hunger For Godand reading it. You can read it on line here. However I suggest purchasing a copy for your library. Note: This post will be short and to the point regarding fasting…
Thought 1: Fasting is not to be used to get something we want from God. That is an attempt at manipulation and is inappropriate.
Thought 2: Fasting through prayer is not to be thought of as a way to lose weight. Note: If the fast is from food make sure you are physically and medically able to do so.
Thought 3: The purpose of fasting is to heighten a person’s desire to know God better and encounter Him.
Thought 4: Fasting does not have to be from food. It can be from any number of things. The only requirement is that it is something important to an individual. Thus a fast can be from food, TV, cell phones, reading, or virtually anything else.
Thought 5: A fast can be for 1 day… 1 week… 1 month… or 40 days.
Thought 6: It is not proper to let people know that you are fasting.
Thought 7: Fasting is a spiritual discipline that yields great rewards for those who practice it.
Last Thought: Fasting in prayer is appropriate when we want to dedicate ourselves in a more passionate way to seeking God during difficult times in our life.
Personal Testimony. A few years ago I did a 40 day fast. During that time all I had was water. It took me several days to prepare my body for the fast… and several days to begin eating again. During those forty days I encountered God in a more personal way that I ever had over an extended period of time. I also came under intense Satanic temptation, yet I was more at peace than ever before. I will always remember that time as one of the most spiritually profitable times in my life.
A year later I had the joy of leading the church I served through a time of prayer and fasting. 9 people agreed to fast for 40 days… 120 people agreed to fast for 3 days… 52 people agreed to fast for 1 week… and 40 youth agreed to fast for 1 day. That meant that at any given day there were at least 3 people in the church in prayer and fasting. The desire was for God’s leadership and direction for the church. The result was that the church built a $3.2 million building and adopted Ephesians 3:20-21 as a theme verse. The church also received a one day offering of $106,000.00. And it all happened to God’s glory.
I pray that you will consider seeking God through the discipline of prayer and fasting. Again… I would strongly suggest you read the book “A Hunger For God” as is linked at the beginning of this post.
My friend Charlie Wiles put me on to this video. One comment, our God is great!
Thanks for the reminder of fasting in our walk with God. I admit that it is a discipine that I frequently ignore. I do have a question as I have never studied the issue of fasting. Is your thought #4 Scriptural? Does fasting mean other things in scripture? Or is there a specific significance of fasting from food rather than other things you mentioned?
Number 4 is more practical than explicitly found in texts. There are people who for medical reasons cannot fast from food (Diabetics are one example). Yet I believe fasting from food is the preferred option in my mind. But the result can be achieved by fasting from anything that is important to us. In fact Paul mentions this in 1 Corinthians 7:5. The point is that we willfully give up something important to us for a period of time to seek God (It would be meaningless for me to give up some things to seek God as they aren’t part of my life nor are important to me.). I would again suggest the book “A Hunger For God” by Dr. John Piper… he gives it a much better treatment than I can give here.