Fasting is a powerful, effective, and important spiritual discipline for Christians. Lent, the 6 weeks before Easter, is a season dedicated to fasting and prayer. But what is fasting and why do we do it?
First, let's cover what fasting is not.
Fasting is not a way to get more from God. We don't fast to get, we fast to give. Fasting is a way to give more of ourselves, our natural desires, and our emotional baggage to God. We fast in order to draw away from the distractions of the world around us and draw close to Him.
Fasting is not a way to manipulate God. Fasting doesn't make God more or less inclined to answer our prayers. It doesn't increase your chances of receiving a miracle. Fasting is not a spiritual deposit guaranteeing a tangible return on investment. We don't strongarm God into doing what we want by fasting.
Fasting is not easy. I'm skeptical whenever anyone says something like, "I love to fast," or "Fasting comes so easy to me." I always think, "they're either lying or their sneaking cheeseburgers." Denying our flesh is never easy. Crucifying the flesh is painful. But that's partly the point. In fasting, we learn to identify with the sufferings of our Lord who "for the joy set before Him endured the cross."
When fasting gets hard it simply means we need to run further and deeper into God's presence and God's word. We know that true life doesn't come by bread alone but by the words God speaks and the breath of life He gives.
Biblical fasting is abstaining from food (or some foods) for one or more meals and dedicating oneself to prayer and communion with God. It's saying "no" to the flesh so that we can build up our spiritual strength.
We fast to give more of ourselves over to God. And when we are faithful in fasting, we find access to a deeper relationship with Him, greater intimacy with His Spirit, and a heightened sensitivity to His voice.
If you feel a distance and numbness in your spiritual life, consider fasting for a period of time. Take that time to disconnect from the world and reconnect with God.
For Lent, we are asking our church to commit to two short term fasts in preparation for the Easter season. First, we will fast for the first few days of Lent beginning at the conclusion of our Ash Wednesday service and going through Friday.
Second, we will fast beginning with communion at our Good Friday Service and ending when we come together on Easter Sunday.
Will you consider joining us in this time of spiritual preparation and renewal?
Fasting by Jentezen Franklin
The Fasting Edge by Jentezen Franklin