The old testament is filled with references to fasting, and some may think that it was just something that people did back then. A lot of people don't really understand fasting, and get a little confused by the idea. Others may "try" to fast from time to time, but don't get anything out of it. It isn't just about the act of fasting. It is about the heart of fasting.
What is Biblical Fasting?
- Esther 4:16
- It means to not ingest or take in ANY food or ANY water for a particular period of time.
- It is carried out for at least a day or more.
Why do we fast?
- Acts 13:1-3
- A fast was used to petition God and to seek his favor for others.
- Acts 14:22-23
- It was used when appointing leaders in the church.
- 2 Samuel 12:15-16
- David sought God through fasting for the sake of his child.
- Jonah 3:5-8
- The people of Nineveh fasted for forgiveness and repentances and mercy.
How often should we fast?
- Some fast yearly like those in the old testament
- Leviticus 23:32
- This refers to Yom Kippur and the Day of Atonement. Part of the tradition was to not eat or drink. This was derived from the statement to not do any "work"
- Leviticus 23:32
- Others fast whenever we feel the need to seek God, and become aware of our need to be strengthened spiritually or to petition God for the good of others.
- Some fast to draw closer to Him in their faith.
- When you give up something in a fast, you should seek him when you fill the discomfort of that which you gave up.
How should we fast?
- Matthew 6:16-18
i. We should fast not publicly to be showy or to try and place ourselves above others.
In the country that I live in, it is not common for us to fast as often or ever. Why? Well when we are surrounded with anything and everything that we could every need or want, why would we need to lean into the Father. We have the perception of strength to do everything. However, fasting is about the heart. It is about the yearning to be closer to Christ. When someone is hurting, we may fast an lean into Him and devote ourselves in petition to Christ or others. When we need to lean into him fully for strength in an area of our lives. Fasting can be that act of breaking ourselves to seek him fully, and lean into His loving arms.