12th January 2013

The why, how and when of fasting

During the January 2013 two Weeks of Prayer, we will be fasting on Wednesdays 16th and 23rd January. This blog post about fasting is taken from a more detailed explanation (see link below).

Praying together with fasting is a forgotten discipline in modern times.

People fasted throughout the whole Bible – we read about it in the Old Testament and the New. It carried on through church history and was practiced by many pioneers, such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley and Jonathan Edwards. Jesus expected that his followers would fast (see Matthew 6:16 and 9:14-15).

You may have many questions about fasting, such as 'how should I fast?', 'what should I fast from?', and 'for what purpose?'. Examples we find in the Bible can help us to answer these questions. For example, in terms of why we might fast:

  • Being in and enjoying God's presence (Exodus 34:28; Luke 2:37)
  • During a personal crisis (1 Samuel 1:7)
  • When you're mourning (1 Samuel 31:13)
  • When praying for healing (2 Samuel 12:16)
  • For protection (Ezra 8:21-23)
  • When going into dangerous situations (Esther 4:16)
  • As part of repentance (Daniel 9:3; Joel 1:14; Jonah 3:7)
  • For direction/guidance for ministry (Acts 13:1-3)
  • To help us take control over our bodies/the flesh (1 Corinthians 9:27)

As well as the many different reasons for fasting, there are also many different ways to fast, including a total fast where you drink only water, a liquid fast (drinks and soup), a fast from rich food (eating only vegetables), a fast from television or the internet or anything else that takes up your time and attention.

In the Bible, we read about fasts lasting from one day to 40 days. If you have never fasted before, it might be best to fast for just one meal to begin with, and then build up from there. (Obviously it is very important that you consult your doctor before undertaking any kind of fast if you have any medical conditions.)

To fast means to put God first. Fasting is an attitude of our hearts as we interrupt our normal life in order to pray and seek God for His will in our lives, to effectively move obstacles and burdens that we may encounter, and to simply tell God that He is the most important one in our lives. It is a discipline that quickly turns into a delight as God rewards our devotion with His presence.

Please join us in praying and fasting on Wednesdays 16th and 23rd January. The prayer meetings take place on those evenings at 7.30pm at The Hastings Centre.
(See the church calendar for details of all the prayer meetings during the two Weeks of Prayer, which run from 13th to 27th January.)

For the full version of this blog, click here:

Adrian Pursglove

Posted by Adrian Pursglove










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