Lent tends to be a time people fast but are you aware scripture encourages fasting throughout our life?
This is slightly inspired by my prayer series which started with Are You Praying… At All?
Are you fasting at all, and if you are, for what reasons do you fast, how do you spend that time fasting?
At the beginning of this year, I knew I wanted to work on drawing closer to Christ. I was aware that though I was working on prayer and between 2017-2018 I learned what it meant to meditate on scripture, I had never really fasted, aside from one time when I was younger.
When I started to learn about fasting, I discovered a truth I had never really thought about before.
Fasting is needed
The article I originally read actually claimed fasting was required, but since that’s a very legalistic/touchy word, I want to explain why they said that, and why to a point, makes total sense 🙂
(NIV) Matthew 6:16- “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.”
The key here is not if you fast…but when you fast. Christ never said “if you fast” do these things. He told us when you fast in the same way He showed us what to do when we pray.
Lo and behold, fasting and prayer are linked.
The disciples could not pray away a particular demon and when they asked Christ He answered them (NIV) Matthew 17:21, “But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
Daniel, who was known for his vivid visions of the end of times, fasted and prayed. This is when Daniel understood that Jerusalem’s captivity from scripture would last seventy years.
(NIV) Daniel 9:03, “So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with Him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.”
Although fasting has wonderful benefits for the overall body, especially when fasting from food, fasting is needed even more for our spirit. Fasting is a special and intimate moment we can share with the Lord when we make it about Him.
Fasting is a reminder of denying self.
(NLT) Titus 2:12-13, “For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God.”
- Fasting needs to be focused on God more than ourselves
When we fast for the Lord make sure it is because we are fasting for Him more than ourselves.
- Fasting should be a time we draw to closer to Him
Something to make sure we are doing during our fast is to read scripture, worship, pray, listen to sermons, anything to draw us close to God and be aware of why we are fasting in the first place. What we give up to the Lord in fasting we need to fill in time with Him.
- Have a reason for fasting to the Lord
Be it a specific prayer request or simply to work on listening and seeking Him more. Fasting always gives us an opportunity to really focus on something we desire from the Lord.
Daniel fasted and prayed because he knew something difficult was happening. Christ encouraged prayer with fasting against difficult spirits and demons. Fasting is a way to be equipped with the Lord’s strength. Christ fasted for 40 days before He was tempted, and He had the strength to not fall into temptation because His focus was on God, not Himself. Physical strength means nothing when it comes to spiritual strength in Christ. One has a limit, the other does not.
- Fasting does not have to only be food (and shouldn’t be limited to food only)
The idea of fasting is giving up something we do daily. Eating is very essential. But in being aware of what it means to deny the self, we can fast from other things especially if food is not something that can be fasted from.
I encourage you to choose something YOU DO ALMOST EVERY DAY! Fasting from one food item, or something we occasionally do, isn’t really going to push us as much as say not watching YouTube, or television, reading a book (if we read daily), listening to music, taking away an hour of sleep for prayer, not going on social media for a period of time, not playing games, not going on websites we visit daily, etc.
You know yourself best. Take away what you do daily and use that time for the Lord instead. Put Him first. Show Him you are coming to Him for specific reasons and seek Him desperately. Love Him more than self.
And when you fast, keep it intimate between you and Him when possible, don’t let others be aware if they do not need to know.
Fasting draws us closer to God. It reminds us that we have weaknesses in our flesh, and He is the only One who helps us overcome anything.
I hope to write some other posts on fasting or things to fast for (like specific prayer requests) but if you are interested in learning more about how to fast or you would like to learn about physical benefits I highly recommend you turn to fellow blogger, Meredith. She wrote two posts that definitely help with understanding fasting and ways you could fast from food, in particular.
Fasting For Physical Health & Spiritual Benefits by My Way Home Life
The Privilege Of Fasting by My Way Home Life
What do you think of fasting?
Monthly Scripture –(NKJ) Proverbs 18:13, “He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him.”
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