Fasting: a Christian’s hunger for God (part 3)

Here are some of the examples of fasting that are found in the Bible. This is not a comprehensive list, but I think it shows some of the times that one might choose to fast.

Paul at the time of his conversion. (Acts 9:9)

Paul was told to wait in the city for GOD to tell him what to do. During this time he “neither ate nor drank.”

The prophets and teacher at Antioch at the beginning and blessing of the ministry of Barnabas and Saul. (Acts 13: 1-4)

(ESV) Acts 13:2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

     The believers in this passage were worshiping and fasting and were given special instructions by The Lord.

The Prophetess Anna, the daughter of Phanuel. (Luke 2: 37b)

The prophetess Anna was a widow and had dedicated herself to seeking GOD. The scripture said that she “did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.”

The anointing of church elders. (Acts 14:23)

(ESV) Acts 14:23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

     Here we see that praying and fasting were used when appointing elders for service. Fasting and prayer are a great way to seek GOD’s will and guidance for our ministry. It shows that we are seeking him and helps us make our ministry GOD-centered.

Christ at the time of his temptation in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11)
As you may have read in my earlier post, this was a time of testing and a chance to prove Christ’s commitment to the Father. GOD rewarded Christ’s commitment to him and met his needs. Matthew 4:11

Christ says we will fast in the longing for his second coming (Matthew 9: 14-17)

Matthew 9:15. And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.

Fasting in the Old Testament was associated with mourning. This is not the case for Christians today. We fast in longing and hope of the glory of Jesus Christ, for his return, and for the glorification of our Lord. Fasting should be an act of joy and worship, and hope in Jesus. Jesus said that his disciples did not fast because,at the time, he was with them. He said that he would leave and then we would fast. So we see that Christ did not intend to end fasting, but recognize that we would fast in waiting for his second coming.

       It seems to me that fasting is a multifaceted discipline. It is used in worship, and setting people apart for God’s work, for making decisions, and in the longing and hope of Christ. If you read the other two blogs on fasting I believe you may agree with me that asking when is the right time to fast is like asking when is it the right time to pray, just go ahead and fast if you feel like you need to fast. Fasting is not to be done as a work in and of itself, but is to be done in order to humble ourselves, to submit ourselves to God, and find joy in him.

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7 Comments

  1. Fasting is not something I have done before. I hope to do that one day. My health may make it risky. One fault in me is that I do not meditate on and study the scriptures enough.

    1. Mark,
      Thanks for reading. Don’t be grieved. I know your situation and you can be assured that GOD does also. It does not have to be food. One can fast other things also. The point is that you are giving up something for a set time to show devotion to the Lord. If you are bent on doing a fast from food there are several options:

      1. A absolute fast: no food or water. This is not advisable for your situation, and can only be done for a very short time as the body very much needs water to survive and function. (Esther 4:16)

      2. A complete solid foods fast, but drinking water. This can be done for a much longer time than the first option. (Matthew 4:1-2)

      3.A partial fast in which you give up certain foods. (Daniel 10:2-3)

      Also these can be for various lengths of time. One does not need to fast for 40 days in order to complete a heart felt act of worship through fasting. I know many christians that have decided that they would skip a particular meal each week, choosing to spend that time in pray and meditation on GOD and his word.

      Man looks at the outside, but GOD looks at the inside. Wether you decide to fast for one meal, one day, or one week, be it food or possession or activities that you fast from, the point is that you give that time to The Lord full heartedly so that he is honored and you come closer to him.

      Deuteronomy 6:5-6

      5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.

      Colossians 3:23
      Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,

  2. I distinctly remember my first fast. I was given wise guidance from a friend to pray for someone i knew every time I felt hungry. My spiritual growth that day was astounding; I felt a closeness to god then that I can’t explain through words. We went on a hike to pass the time and before I knew it 24 hours had passed.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Brother. I am glad to hear that you have had such a great experience. The day I was writing part two of this series on fasting I was in a public place and trying hard to concentrate but kept hearing this guy talk and suddenly I heard GOD say, are you going to spend the afternoon writing about the Gospel or sharing it. I had to laugh. I shared the gospel with several people that afternoon. I feel that I was given that opportunity and could hear because I was seeking, and fasting was part of that seeking that particular day.

    1. You’re welcome brother. I’m glad that it was helpful. I hope that you and many other people can see the beauty in fasting that I do, not in the act as an end in and of itself, but as an act of worshiping the god that feeds our very soul with a joyful and unperishing food: himself.

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