Fasting is not a distinctly Christian practice. Many world religions practice fasting, including Islam, Judaism, and Hinduism. People fast for political reasons—to protest or express dissatisfaction with governmental decisions. With a simple search of the word “fasting” on YouTube, you can see videos claiming the emotional and spiritual “transcendence” that it supposedly offers. Experts tout the physical benefits of abstaining from food. Intermittent fasting is more popular than ever as a weight-loss technique, and some choose to fast for mental clarity or health benefits.
So, what is fasting from a Christian standpoint? Fasting, as understood in the context of Christianity, means to purposefully abstain from something pleasurable (usually food) for a spiritual purpose. It is mentioned in the Bible over 50 times, and Christians have been fasting for thousands of years! In fasting, we set aside natural pleasures like food to tap into the spiritual realm. We replace the thing we are abstaining from with spiritual pursuits like prayer, God’s Word, and worship, to experience the presence and power of God in a more remarkable way.
Over the next 13 days of this study, we’re going to dive into what the Bible says about fasting. It is more than a physical act. When done biblically and with the proper heart posture, a fast can “fast forward” you into healing, breakthrough, deliverance, freedom, and answered prayer. I believe that as you join with me in this reading plan and put into practice what you read, you’ll experience all of that and more.
Today, take a moment to pray: Lord, thank you for this opportunity to fast. This time that I have set aside to fast is dedicated to You. When I am tempted to engage in the thing I’m fasting, I pray that you would remind me of the purpose of this fast. Move powerfully in my life and fast forward me into a breakthrough. In Jesus’ name, amen.