Hungry for God?
Fasting is the voluntary giving up of something we normally do regularly in order to increase our focus and time commitment for God. Most commonly fasting is linked to food and can be anything from not eating anything for a period of 24-7 hours, to giving up a specific thing we like and eat regularly for a period like Lent. The purpose of give something up is to show that we love God first. It’s also useful for our own personal development because when our comfort is removed the negative sides of our character can emerge.
“More than any other discipline, fasting reveals the things that control us.”
Why fast? Well, because…
- Jesus expects us to fast (Matt 6:16-18) and suggests that there are answers to prayer we will be unable to get without it (Matt 17:21)
- The Bible is full of it – Esther, Anna, Cornelius, Paul, Daniel, Ezra and David all fasted
- The early church practised it (Acts 13:3)
- Breakthroughs in the past have been linked to it – Luther, Knox, Wesley, Spurgeon, Brainerd, Edwards all fasted. Whenever Charles Finney (who led about a million people to Jesus) felt the anointing of God receding in his life he would get away to pray and fast for several days.
There is something intangible and hard to define about the power of fasting, we see many examples of it in the Bible and within the life of Jesus. Moses fasted for forty days when he went up Mount Sinai to receive the ten commandments (Deut 9:9). The nation of Israel practiced fasting and fasted as a community once a year (Lev 23:27). Most notably after his baptism Jesus was led into 40 days of prayer and fasting in the dessert before launching into three of the most impacting years a human has ever lived on this earth. There is power in denying ourselves to seek God, fasting connects us to Him and gives strength to our prayers.
If you want to take on such an extreme food fast challenge then don’t make the decision alone. Consult their doctor for a recommended diet in the run up to and end of the fast, a challenge like this takes preparation for your body and mind.
For health reasons total food fasts for a day or more aren’t recommended for anyone under 16, expectant or breast-feeding mothers, or anyone with a medical disorder affected by diet like Diabetes. We also recommend that food fasts should not be entered into by anyone with a history of eating disorders. Fasting should be a positive dedication to God, so maybe discuss your motivation for fasting before committing to it.
If food is an inappropriate focus then there are many other (sometimes more challenging) ways to fast. You could try fasting:
- Your Phone
- Social time or media
Get creative and give fasting a try. Find something that is a sacrifice and can free up time to be spent with God.