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By May 13, 2022No Comments

What is fasting?

Fasting is giving up food (or something else) for a period of time in order to focus our attention on God. While fasting, we read the Bible, we pray, and we worship to grow closer to God. By giving up food, which is central in our lives, we are saying that God is more important to us than food; and we are also reminded, every time we get hungry, to aim our thoughts toward God.

“Fasting expresses a deep longing for more of God and a holy discontentment with the status quo”

When we fast together as a church, we also gather to pray together.

In the Bible, we see lots of examples of people fasting:

  • Psalm 35 – David humbled himself with fasting and prayer
  • Matthew 4 – Jesus fasted and prayed
  • Luke 2 – a widow worshiped, fasted and prayed
  • Acts 13 – the church fasted and prayed

Why should I fast?

If you have something specific that you are trusting God for, then you can focus your prayer and fasting around that e.g. healing, overcoming an area of sin, or guidance for a specific decision. However, fasting is primarily about focusing our attention on God and expressing our need for him. So it is ok if your fasting and prayer is simply aimed at humbling yourself before God and inviting His presence in our lives.

In the Bible, some of the spiritual reasons why people fasted include:

  • Expressing love and worship to God (Luke 2:37)
  • Overcoming temptation (Matthew 4:1–11)
  • Deliverance or protection (2 Chronicles 20:3–4; Ezra 8:21–23)
  • Strength in prayer (Ezra 8:23; Joel 2:13; Acts 13:3)
  • God’s guidance (Judges 20:26; Acts 14:23)
  • An expression of grief (1 Samuel 31:13; 2 Samuel 1:11–12)
  • Repentance (1 Samuel 7:6; Jonah 3:5–8)
  • Humbling oneself (1 Kings 21:27–29; Psalm 35:13)
  • The work of God (Nehemiah 1:3–4; Daniel 9:3)

How should I fast?

    • Food is a good choice, but it doesn’t have to be food – it could be coffee, social media, Netflix, television, games on your phone, etc
    • It should ideally be something that you engage with daily – this ensures a regular reminder to focus our attention on God
    • It should feel like a sacrifice – giving up “doing the dishes” probably doesn’t declare our need for God like giving up dinner
    • It’s ok to start small – if this is your first time, you could start with e.g. just one meal a day
  • SEEK GOD – someone once said that fasting without prayer is just a hunger strike
    • Spend time reading your bible and praying
  • PRIORITISE PRAYING TOGETHER – praying with others can be very life-giving; it gives us courage to keep going and lifts our faith
    • Join our corporate prayer times as a church
    • Pray with friends in your connect group
  • DON’T GIVE UP – sometimes we are fasting food and then we forget and grab an apple and halfway through remember that we’re fasting; sometimes our hunger is just so overwhelming that we “give in” and eat the apple. That’s ok. You don’t need to abandon the fast altogether if you make a mistake. Just keep going. The priority is not perfection; it is a heart that is longing for God

What to expect?

  • Fasting is hard; you will get hungry (or a longing for whatever you are fasting); that doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong; the sacrifice is part of the power of fasting
  • Expect God to turn up; lift your faith when you fast; whether it is for breakthrough in an area; for strength; for courage; for Him to speak; etc