June 5: Do You Understand Fasting?
Fasting is one aspect of our faith that many members would like to carefully avoid. It’s that part of our faith practice that experiences a challenge because it makes many of our members sigh whenever the church declares a period of fasting. I’d like to take some days to discuss on the purpose and benefits of this faith practice and urge that you’d share these ideas with as many as possible so that by month’s end we will all come to understand a bit more. God bless you as you stay with me.
There is power in prayer and fasting. All the great saints in the Bible fasted and prayed. Including, even Jesus Christ Himself. A fast is a conscious, internal decision to abstain for a time from eating and other pleasure-giving activities to dedicate oneself to God in order to gain vital spiritual benefits. Have you ever thought something like the following? “I wish I had the faith of Joshua, who made the sun stand still. I wish I could be like Paul; whose very clothes caused the people who touched them to be healed or delivered. I’d like to be like John, who received the revelation from God.”
We admire these believers but we don’t understand how they manifested such spiritual powers. It was because they committed themselves to high standards in the practice of their faith so God could use them to fulfill His purposes; in accordance with this, prayer and fasting were an integral part of their lives. Fasting is mentioned in the Scriptures, one third as many times as prayer. It is the pillar of the Christian faith that was once recognized as valuable and significant in the church. For example, the early church leaders prayed and fasted in order to receive direction for ministry. (See Acts 13:2-3).
Throughout Scripture, people of God fasted and prayed in times of crisis or danger. (See, for example, Esther 4:15-16). Yet most Christians deemphasize fasting. Many consider the regular practice of fasting to be almost fanatical. So little is thought about fasting that it is not understood by many believers, especially Christians new to the body of Christ, who conclude the practice has only historic significance. Unfortunate to say, fasting has become a lost or forgotten spiritual practice for cleansing and reorganization in most Christian circles. Please, don’t be one of them. Note: Fasting is one of the very important pillars of the Christian faith and cannot be ignored if we seek God’s face in spirit and in truth.
Let’s pray: Father, I want to follow Jesus’ example of fasting and praying. Open my eyes, spiritually, to understand the importance of this practice. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Today’s reading: 2 Chronicles 23-24; John 15
Fast and Pray to Avoid Temptation.