WHAT IS FASTING?

Fasting is giving up something for a set amount of time to focus on God. It’s taking the time you would be eating, on social media, or something else to pray. We see lots of examples of this in the Bible and Jesus' teaching on fasting in the Gospels. Fasting is a powerful way to strengthen your faith and devote yourself to seeking the Lord. That’s what 21 days of Prayer and Fasting are all about. We are taking time to look to the Lord for his help in 2022.

WHY WE FAST

Have you ever wondered why Christians fast? What is it that we’re trying to accomplish with the act of fasting? Is it simply some way of making life hard? Is it simply trying to get God to change His mind and answer our prayers? Jesus provides the answer in the verse below.
 
“One day the disciples of John the Baptist came to Jesus and asked Him, 'Why don’t your disciples fast like we do and the Pharisees do?' Jesus replied, 'Do wedding guests mourn while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.'" –Matthew 9:14-15
 
In Jesus’ illustration, he is the groom and those who follow him are the wedding guests. Jesus is making the point that it’s his absence that is the cause for fasting.
 
But why? What is it about Jesus not physically being on earth that would necessitate fasting? John Piper, pastor and theologian, says, “....the context of fasting in Jesus’s mind is longing for the not-yet of the kingdom. Fasting is a physical exclamation point at the end of the sentences: ‘I need you! I want you! I long for you! You are my treasure! I want more of you! Oh, for the day when you would return! Come, Lord Jesus!’”
 
Piper continues, “The heart of it is longing. We are putting our stomach where our heart is to give added intensity and expressiveness to our ache for Jesus.” In other words, we fast to express our desire to see more of Jesus in our lives. More than food can satisfy, we look to Jesus to satisfy.

TYPES OF FASTING

There are different types of fasts including a partial fast, a full fast and an absolute fast.  There is also a Daniel Fast.  For information on the different types of fasts click below.

THE BENEFITS OF FASTING

Fasting helps with big decisions…
 
Acts 13:22 “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.”
 
Taking time to focus on the Lord, will bring clarity when making decisions.
 
It’s a lifeline in an emergency…
 
Esther 4:16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”
There are times when a crisis hits us. Esther understood this and called a fast. God responded to her prayer and fasting, and God hears us when we take time to focus on him when we need him most.
 
Sign of genuine repentance…
 
Joel 2:12 “Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
 
Daniel 9:3-5 So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes. 4 I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws.
 
There are times when we have committed wrongs and it’s appropriate to fast and pray. This act isn’t for payment for our sin, but a response of genuine sorrow and desire to turn from sin to trust in the Lord.