Fast Forward


The Expectation to Fast

Did you know that the Bible does not command fasting? Many Christians are shocked when they hear this. However, it is one of the pillars of Islam—an inherent, required part of the religion. A Muslim cannot just say, “I’m going to skip Ramadan this year. I’ll catch it next year.” For a Muslim to be released from the requirement of fasting, there have to be specific reasons.

But in Christianity, this is not so. In the New Testament, we don’t see an explicit command to fast. From understanding the cultural context of the time, we know that religious people during Biblical times fasted. We see mention of the Pharisees fasting and John the Baptist’s followers fasting. But there is no direct command. What we do see is Jesus’ language in Matthew 6:16-18, where He says, “When you fast.” Notice He does not say, “If you fast.” It is clear that there is an expectation of fasting.

So if we are going to make fasting one of our spiritual practices as believers, what should it look like? We’ll dig into that tomorrow. Today, let’s consecrate our fast to God.

Take a moment to pray: Lord, I consecrate this time of fasting to you. I ask you to reveal yourself to me in a fresh way. I open my heart to hear your voice. Identify areas of my life that need to align themselves in obedience to you. I ask to encounter you in a new way. This fast is Yours. In Jesus’ name, amen.