What is Fasting?
Not eating food for a specific designated time for a spiritual purpose. When fasting is mentioned in the Bible, it is almost always accompanied with prayer and serves to strengthen prayer. Fasting is one of the most neglected of the spiritual disciplines because it is so abnormal to our culture of comfort.
What Can I Fast From?
Biblically, fasting always involved abstaining from food and/or drink for spiritual purposes for a designated time. However, in more modern days, Christians have fasted or abstained from all sorts of things like media, entertainment, types of food, etc. in order to focus more on their communion with God and to devote themselves to prayer.
Why Should I Fast?
Proper fasting will strengthen your prayers and help you grow in your communion with Jesus. Jesus expected that His followers would fast. Notice how Jesus says “when you fast” and not “if you fast” in Matthew 6:16-18. He viewed fasting as a good thing and assumed that His people would fast, and fast they did throughout history until the present day.
Some Biblical Reasons for Fasting (adapted from Donald Whitney’s Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life and Tim Mackie’s Feasting and Fasting Sermon)
- To strengthen prayer (Acts 13:3, Ezra 8:23; Nehemiah 1:4; Daniel 9:3)
- To seek God’s guidance/will (Judges 20:26-28; Acts 14:23)
- To express repentance and to return to the Lord (Joel 2:12; 1 Samuel 7:6; Jonah 3:5-8).
- To express great grief (Judges 20:26; 1 Samuel 20:34; 31:13)
- To seek God for protection or deliverance (2 Chronicles 20:3-4; Esther 4:16)
- To minister to the needs of others (Isaiah 58)
- To respond to a “defining moment” (Exodus 34; 1 Kings 19; Luke 4).
Why Are We Asking You to Join Us in Fasting and Prayer?
A big part of our Year of Abundance coming to reality is Town being a fervent praying church. Starting with the last Wednesday of this month, and each of the last Wednesdays of the following months, we will be committing to fasting and praying for our church, our community, our islands and our nation. We will break the fast at 6:30pm at the Town Ministry Center where we will have a potluck dinner and night of prayer as a church family. Please begin to prepare now to be a part of these special and powerful days this year.
How Can I Make the Most of Fasting?
Let your hunger serve you! Every time you feel hungry, or your body responds in the discomfort/pains of your desire for food, let it serve you as a prompt to remind you to pray for the purpose you’re fasting. You will quickly realize that you will be praying much more often than you would have if you were not fasting. During the time you would normally be eating, use that time to pray for your church, community, nation, and the world. Spiritually feed yourself with the Word of God (the Bible).
Let the following quotes encourage you in your fasting:
- The goal of fasting is not for God to remove our hunger, but for us to learn that in the midst of hunger he is trustworthy. The feeling of hunger is the point of the fast. It teaches us to hunger for something better. – Fabienne Harford
- Fasting proves the presence, and fans the flame, of that hunger. It is an intensifier of spiritual desire… It is the physical exclamation point at the end of the sentence: “This much, O God, I long for you and for the manifestation of your glory in the world!” …God rewards fasting because fasting expresses the cry of the heart that nothing on the earth can satisfy our souls besides God. God must reward this cry because God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. – John Piper
Pray This to Help You While You Fast:
Father, I am empty, but you are full. I am hungry, but you are the Bread of Heaven. I am thirsty, but you are the Fountain of Life. I am weak, but you are strong. I am poor, but you are rich. I am foolish, but you are wise. I am broken, but you are whole. I am dying, but your steadfast love is better than life. – John Piper
VERY IMPORTANT REMINDER:
We cannot manipulate God to do our bidding by fasting any more than we can by any other means. As with prayer, we fast in hope that by His grace God will bless us as we desire. When our fast is rightly motivated, we can be sure God will bless us and do so in the way infinite wisdom knows is best, even if it is not in the way we wanted.
– Donald Whitney
Note: If you have a physical condition (nursing, diabetic, migraines, etc.) that depends on a regular diet, please consult your doctor before fasting, especially if you are planning to fast for an extended amount of time.
More resources to equip you in the area of fasting:
Sermon on Christian fasting: Feasting and Fasting by Dr. Tim Mackie
Books on Christian fasting: