A Note On Fasting

Fasting is a temporary but intentional abstinence from something intrinsically good, such as food, to amplify our yearning for something greater – God and His divine work within our lives. Fasting goes with spending time in prayer and studying of the Bible. It is a practice deeply rooted in the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and observed by God’s people throughout history.

The Practice of Fasting in Early Church and Scripture

In Matthew 6:16-18, our Savior Jesus Christ provides us with invaluable guidance on the practice of fasting. He emphasizes the importance of intentional abstinence from something inherently good, like food, to create a heightened yearning for something even greater – our connection with God. This teaching echoes throughout the pages of the Old Testament, where God’s people, including David (2 Samuel 12:15-16) and the nation of Israel (2 Chronicles 20:3), turned to fasting as a means of seeking His presence and guidance.

The early church, as seen in Acts 13:1-3 and Acts 14:23, continued this practice, embracing fasting as a powerful tool for seeking divine direction in crucial matters such as missionary endeavors and leadership appointments.

Types of fasting

Personal Fast

This is the type of fast initiated and performed by an individual or small group: Ezra 10:6; 2 Samuel 12:15-16.

Corporate Fast

This fast is proclaimed for and performed by a large group: 1 Samuel 7:5-6; Nehemiah 9:1-3.In 2 Chronicles 20:3-4, we read about the unity and strength that arise when a community comes together in devotion and abstinence.

Methods of Fasting

Fasting takes on different methods, based on the level of abstinence

Normal Fast

This involves total abstinence from food but not from liquids: Luke 4:2.

Partial Fast

This is abstinence from certain types of food. We see this in Daniel 10:3, where for three weeks Daniel ate “no delicacies, no meat, or wine”.

Absolute Fast

This is a more rigorous form of fasting that involves total abstinence from food and liquids: Ezra 10:6; Esther 4:16; Acts 9:9.

It is important to note that while fasting holds spiritual significance, we must also consider the potential health implications, especially with prolonged absolute fasting.

But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Matthew 6:17-18

Fasting Practice in Our Church

The practice of fasting holds a special place in our spiritual journey as a church. We come together as a congregation to observe a corporate fast on the last Wednesday of each month. Additionally, during the months of February and October, we dedicate an entire week to prayer and fasting, aligning our hearts and minds with God’s purpose for our lives and our church, global churches, the salvation of the lost, personal needs, and the needs of loved ones.

Duration of a fast

The duration of fasting is not fixed, as we recognize the Holy Spirit’s leading and individual circumstances. The Bible offers examples of various fasting durations, ranging from one day, part of a day, a one-night fast, three-day fasts and fasts of unspecified lengths.
For example, during our collective monthly fasts, we usually gather for a time of fika at 6:00 pm before the worship service, allowing members the flexibility to break their fast at this time or earlier.

Who Can Participate and the Benefits of Fasting

We extend an open invitation to all members of our congregation to engage in both personal and corporate fasting, unless practical, medical or underlying health conditions prevent them from doing so. Fasting is a transformative practice that offers a multitude of spiritual benefits. By refraining from physical sustenance, we strengthen our prayers, seek divine guidance, express repentance, and humble ourselves before God.

Through fasting, we cultivate a deeper reliance on God and heighten our spiritual sensitivity to His Word. It is a powerful means of deepening our devotion and growing closer to the Creator. As we fast, we draw ourselves closer to the heart of God, amplifying our yearning for His presence and His divine work within our lives.

The Practice of Fasting

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