By Pat Quinn
“Fasting is for this world, for stretching our hearts to get fresh air beyond the pain and trouble around us. And it is for the battle against the sin and weakness inside us. We express our discontent with our sinful selves and our longing for more of Christ.” – David Mathis
What is fasting?
Fasting is going without food or some other legitimate pleasure for spiritual purposes. Fasting is usually combined with prayers of worship, confession, and/or supplication. It is an appropriate expression of humility, dependence on God, and urgent need. Some examples of people fasting in Scripture are Moses (Deuteronomy 9:9-18), David (2 Samuel 12:16-23), Elijah (1 Kings 19:4-8), Ezra (Ezra 10:6-17), Esther (Esther 4:15-17), Darius (Daniel 6:18-23), Daniel (Daniel 10:1-3), Jesus (Matthew 4:1-2), Paul (Acts 9:1-9), and the elders in Antioch (Acts 13:1-3).
What is the goal of fasting?
Fasting is not in any way meritorious and does not obligate God. It is simply a way to humble ourselves and seek His face and grace. The greatest gift of fasting is increased desire and satisfaction in God himself.
7 Tips for Fasting
- Don’t fast from food if pregnant or in ill health. You might fast from something else, like TV, computer, social media, etc.
- Drink water or juice if you fast from food.
- Fasting from food for one or two meals is a good way to start.
- Use meal times for worship, confession, and supplication.
- Praying through a psalm ( e.g. 25, 27, 42, 46, 51, 57, 62, 73, 91, 121, 130, 147, 150) or other passage of Scripture is helpful to focus thoughts. Additionally, here is a link to suggested prayer guide we have prepared.
- If possible, join in prayer with others who are fasting – family, growth group, etc.
- Check out Pastor Jason’s sermon “Fasting and Feasting” as a refresher on Jesus’ teaching on fasting from Matthew 6:16-18.
NOTE: Some material adapted from “Fasting for Beginners” by Dave Mathis available from Desiring God.