Why be hungry if it’s not necessary? Some are hungry for better health. But others are hungry to be closer to God and His purposes.
Today I heard from author and college professor, Elmer Towns. He talked about fasting. I’ve heard a lot about fasting but have never really experienced it. But after today, I think I’m going to try.
Fasting is a non-required spiritual discipline that alters your diet or eliminates food and/or drink, for a Biblical purpose, accompanied with prayer.
The most popular fast is to go without food for a certain period of time, only drinking liquid. It is to deny yourself for a godly purpose. When there is something you want or need, fast from something you want or need.
According to Isaiah 58:6-8 there are nine purposes for fasting.
- To free yourself from addiction to sin. “loose the bonds of wickedness.”
- To solve problems. “to undo the heavy burdens.”
- To bring evangelism and revival. “let the oppressed go free.”
- To solve emotional and mental problems. “that you break every yoke.”
- To provide for physical needs of others. “Is it not to share… with the hungry ….poor ….naked“
- To make life changing decisions. “light shall break forth like the morning.”
- For physical health or healing. “your healing shall spring forth speedily.”
- For your testimony. “your righteousness shall go before you.”
- For protection from the evil one. “the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.”
One of the best benefits of fasting is becoming more attentive to God. The purpose of fasting is to first change us, then change our circumstances. I look forward to the results of fasting.
If you do not have a consistent habit of fasting, why not try with me? Jesus warns us not to publicize our fasting so to attract attention to ourselves. Fasting, as with any spiritual discipline can lead to pride. But the Bible and Christian history encourages us to challenge one another to fast.
Elmer Towns made several suggestions in beginning a fast.
- Ask God to lead you in your fast.
- Write out your purpose and plan for your fast. What do you want to accomplish?
- Begin with a one-day fast (Lev. 16:29). Eat a light snack in the afternoon. Then skip the evening meal and do not eat until the following evening meal (sundown to sundown).
- Use your meal time for dedicated prayer.
I am going to encourage our congregation to fast beginning the evening of Palm Sunday. We are going to pray and fast for a great service on Easter – souls saved and many attend church.
Will you take up the challenge to spend a day fasting for a spiritual purpose? For those who fast often, what insights can you give us?