Fasting. I didn’t think it’s too in vogue right now.
But I was wrong. I googled it. Found lots of articles on bodybuilding and fitness websites for “intermittent fasting.” That’s doing a little bit of fasting daily to enhance the physical. You know, “sun’s out , guns out” and “six pack abs” and all that stuff.
What I’m talking about is at the opposite end of the spectrum. Denying the physical to enhance not the physical, but the spiritual. Maybe I’m out of the loop, but I hear very little these days about that kind of fasting.
Jesus said, “Man does not live by bread alone, but every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Fasting is a powerful path to feel the truth of that verse.
Jesus also said, “Whenyou fast…,” not “If you fast.” Like it’s something you’ll be doing. “When you pray, when you fast, when you eat, when you wake up, when you go to bed.” Like when Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness.
So what is this fasting about?
It’s setting aside the physical for a time, to focus our mind’s attention and our heart’s affection on God. It’s also a time for intense focus on matters we want to bring before God.
Do you need God’s protection? Are you in need of a word from Him? Do you have a big decision to make? Do you feel He is calling you to something different?
Some Reasons for Fasting:
1. To win a spiritual battle: When confronting the devil in Luke 4, Jesus fasted 40 days. Luke 4.
2. To get direction from God: The church at Antioch fasted and worshiped, and the Holy Spirit told them to send Paul and Barnabas on Paul’s first historic missionary journey. Acts 13.
3. To hear from God: When Daniel was desperate to hear from God, he fasted. Daniel 9.
4. To seek God’s protection: When the Jews were to be slaughtered in Persia, Esther called a fast among the people, and God saved the day. Esther 4.
Fasting doesn’t make me more worthy of God’s favor (that would be a salary, not grace), it doesn’t make me better than anyone else, but it can draw me to closer to Him as it refocuses my mind’s attention and my heart’s affection on Him.
If you’ve never fasted, try this:
1. Pick a time (for example: don’t eat all day Thursday, but instead fast from breakfast, lunch and dinner. You won’t die. Or even come close). You can drink water, juice, tea, coffee (unless you go a couple of days, then coffee can cause problems). Just no food.
2. When you begin your fast, tell God why you’re doing it. Say “Father, I believe that it’s not food that keeps me alive, but You. You are the source of my very being. So I’m setting aside food for a time to focus on You. I need You.” And if you’re praying about something specific, tell Him that too.
3. Don’t brag about it, look all mopey or whine about being hungry (Jesus is so not into that – Matthew 6:16-18). Only share that you are fasting with prayer partners or those you’re fasting with.
4. Every time you think of food, use that as a reminder to pray and lift your requests to Him.
5. Wait on Him. With expectation.
That’s it. It’s that simple.
But it can be such a profound moment in your life. I’ve had God speak to me, answer desperate prayers, and become clearer to me during fasting than at any other time. Fasting before God is powerful.
If you find yourself between a rock and hard place, in a jam, desperate for God’s direction, or just want to draw closer to Him, fast.