Learn More about Fasting
For thousands of years, fasting has been one of the central practices of followers of Jesus, but it has fallen by the wayside for many Christians today. Our hope is that we can be a church that reengages with this practice and the many spiritual benefits and benefits it brings.
Simply put, Christian fasting is a believer’s voluntary abstinence from food for spiritual purposes. If you google “fasting” you’ll most likely find articles focusing on diets, health benefits and physical goals, and while these are good things, they are not what we are after. Fasting for spiritual purposes puts the emphasis on God, his word and his purposes over our own.
To those unfamiliar with fasting, the most surprising thing may be how much the Bible actually talks about it. You can find fasting mentioned in Scripture over 70 times! And what’s clear in those passages is that God expects us, as disciples of Jesus, to fast. There are several reasons for this, and we’ll focus on a specific one each of the next four weeks, but one of the most important is that fasting can put us in a unique posture and mindset to help us grow in our relationship with the Lord because it helps integrate our entire person – heart, mind and body – at one time. When we fast, we open our body and soul to a deeper, more tangible longing for God, increasing our awareness and need for him along the way.
Fasting reminds us that we care about spiritual things, eternal things. So we willingly set aside a little comfort so we can listen and attend to the voice and nourishment of God. In Matthew 6:17-18, Jesus said, “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.”
This doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re not supposed to tell others when we’re fasting. Practicing the spiritual disciplines in community is very wise and helpful. What Jesus is reminding us of here is that when we fast, our most powerful motives, longings and hungers are not temporary ones, but rather eternal ones. Fasting teaches us to seek the help and blessing of the Lord over that which this world offers. And when we seek the Lord, we can be confident that whether or not we receive the specific blessing we seek as you fast, we can believe that whatever we get is the best thing for us.
We invite you to dive in and fast together with us this month. Below you will find a guide to help direct your fast through a different focus each week.