What is fasting?
Usually we consider a complete fast to be water only–no food. It can be for a meal, a day, or many days. There is also a partial fast where you only eat certain foods and abstain from others–like Daniel’s fast of eating only vegetables (Daniel 1:12-14).
Fasting is difficult–especially the first day or two. Visions of sugar plums, coffee, hot fudge sundaes and cheeseburgers will dance through your brain. But remember who you’re doing it for.
“And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:16–18, NLT)
If you are doing it for God, then you can ask God for the grace and strength to do it.
So why should we fast?
Dr. Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru) completed five 40-day fasts.
“Fasting is one of the Spirit’s tools for strengthening and transforming grace in our lives. This spiritual practice is a gift from God meant to grow us and draw us into deepening relationship with Himself.”
You’ve heard the saying, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Well, absence of food makes the heart grow fonder for spiritual things. Rather than thinking about how to feed our flesh, we focus on feeding the spirit. This enables the Holy Spirit to search our hearts and reveal our true spiritual condition. Often this results in brokenness, repentance and a transformed life.
“Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions.” (Ezra 8:21, NKJV)
If you have never fasted before, then start small. Instead of eating lunch, pray. Tell the Lord that you want to draw close to Him and hear from Him. And He will draw close to you (James 4:8).
If you would like more information, please read Your Personal Guide to Fasting by Dr. Bill Bright.
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