new horizons baptist church
Fasting 101

Of all the spiritual disciplines, fasting may be the most difficult and challenging.  Even though it is not required by God, fasting does have spiritual benefits if done in the right way and for the right reason.  Fasting to lose weight does not draw us closer to God.  Although there are benefits of fasting, the Bible nowhere records the physical benefits, but rather the spiritual benefits. 

People all throughout the Bible fasted at different times and for different reasons.  Whether it was because of mourning, pleading with God, or because of repentance, fasting seems to be a normal event during such times.  In Matthew 17:21, Jesus notes that the reason the disciples could not cast out the demon was because this was a time for "prayer and fasting." 

Fasting helps to discipline the appetites of the body and keep our spiritual priorities straight. The act of fasting is abstaining from food for the purpose of devoting ourselves to God.  It is not simply skipping a meal, but spending time with the Lord in prayer.  Whether it is a decision you must make, a sin that need to be overcome, a heart that deeply longs for God, or an event that has brought great sorrow in your life, these are appropriate times to fast. 

According to Jesus in Matthew 6:18, the benefits of fasting only appear when we are fasting to our heavenly Father.  Here are a few suggestions as you consider fasting:

1.  Start-up (start small).  Rather than plan a day-long fast or like the Daniel fast (21 days), start small.  Start with a single meal.
2.  Schedule (when and where).  Plan what you will do instead of eating.  Have a clear sense of purpose.
3.  Study.  There are different types of fasting in the Bible.  Identify the different purposes in the differing types of fasts.
4.  Surrender.  Just as with Anna in Luke 2:37 who gave herself to prayer and fasting, these are components of worshipping God and seeking His favor. 

Remember this truth: fasting is connected with prayer.  You can pray without fasting, but you cannot fast without praying.  Let's determine to show the sincerity of our heart and our devotion to Jesus Christ by taking time to fast and pray.

NEW HORIZONS BAPTIST CHURCH: 17939 Paver Barnes Road Marysville, OH 43040 937-644-1776