A Note On Fasting

Fasting is a temporary choice to give up something good, like food. We do this to feel a stronger desire for God and His work in our lives. Fasting includes prayer and Bible study. Jesus taught us to fast, and God’s people have done it for centuries.

The Practice of Fasting in Early Church and Scripture

Jesus, in Matthew 6:16-18, teaches us the importance of intentional fasting. It’s not about deprivation, but about creating space for a deeper connection with God. This echoes throughout the Old Testament as well. Figures like David (2 Samuel 12:15-16) and the Israelites (2 Chronicles 20:3) turned to fasting to seek God’s presence and guidance.

The early church as revealed in Acts 13:1-3 and Acts 14:23 followed Jesus’ teachings on fasting. They fasted to seek God’s direction in crucial moments, like launching missionary journeys and choosing leaders.

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

We embrace fasting as a potent spiritual practice, encouraging both personal and collective fasts within our community.

Personal Fasts: We encourage our members to engage in personal fasts tailored to their individual needs, guided by the Holy Spirit.

Monthly Corporate Fasts: Join us every last Wednesday for a collective fast in the day and a prayer and worship service in the evening.

Dedicated Fasting Weeks: In February and October, we embark on week-long communal journeys of prayer and fasting. Throughout these weeks, we convene at various times to pray for ourselves, our church, and our broader community.

Duration of a fast

Fasting is a deeply personal journey, guided by the Holy Spirit and individual needs. Thus, the duration of fasting is not fixed. The Bible provides examples of fasting durations that vary, including one-day fasts (Judges 20:26), three-day fasts (Esther 4:16), and fasts of diverse lengths (Daniel 10:3, Matthew 4:2).

During our collective monthly fasts, we typically gather for a time of fika at 6:00 PM before the worship service. This arrangement offers members flexibility, allowing them to break their fast at this time or earlier if needed.

Given the potential negative health implications, a prolonged absolute fast is usually not recommended.

Who Can Participate and the Benefits of Fasting

We warmly invite all members of our congregation to participate in both personal and corporate fasting, unless practical, medical, or underlying health conditions prevent them from doing so. Fasting is a powerful and transformative spiritual practice that yields numerous benefits. Through abstaining from physical sustenance, we enhance the efficacy of 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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