Fasting was a part of the rhythm of life in the Bible—so much so that Jesus was questioned about why his disciples were not fasting. In Matthew 9:15 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.
We live in a time of fasting until Jesus comes again. We must make an effort to pursue the presence of God, and fasting is one way to do so. Simply put, Fasting is voluntarily going without food — or any other regularly enjoyed, good gift from God — for the sake of some spiritual purpose. It is a radical expression of freedom from the habits of this world and demonstrates faith in the abundant Kingdom of God. Fasting is a privilege and calling: human beings are the only creatures able to decide to shut down a lower instinct in order to reach for a higher purpose.
Choose a fast that is possible for you. Consider your medical needs, your prior experience with fasting, and even your schedule during the fast. In most cases, you should be sure to keep drinking water throughout your fast. Abstaining from food is the most common fast, but if that is ill-advised for you, then fasting from speaking for a day can be a substantial alternative. Fasts from social media, cell phones, television, coffee or alcohol can be more sustainable over a longer period of time.
Prepare for your fast ahead of time. If you have others who depend on you at mealtime, you will want to communicate about your fast and then prepare some simple meals for them that will not require much effort from you during your fast. Likewise, if you plan to be silent, let others know of your plan and consider what to do if someone has an emergency or if a child needs consoling. Love for God and love for others go together; charity overrides discipline so please speak beneficial words if necessary.
Focus and refocus throughout your fast. Fasting is not just about giving something up, rather it is about turning that time, effort, and attention toward Jesus. Choose a scripture or devotional to read at mealtime, enter into prayer, take a walk with the Lord as you listen to some worship music, write in a journal or find other creative ways to reflect on the purpose of your fast.
Suggested reading: Psalm 40, Psalm 136
Would you consider joining us in a fast on Wednesday, September 19, 2018 for the purpose of pursuing the presence of God? We will fast from things we can see and taste because God invites us to taste and see his goodness. Whether you have never had an experience of his presence or you are desperately hungry for more of him, this is a chance to take a step of faith with our spiritual family. We will come together at the end of the day for a Night of Worship in the Auditorium at 6:30pm.
Practically speaking, fasting is hard. Even this one day fast will require some planning. These tips should help.