Friday, July 20, 2012

Fasting and Praying

Matthew 6:17-18

But when you fast,
put oil on your head and wash your face,
so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting,
but only to your Father, who is unseen;
and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Jesus assumes that His followers practice fasting. He says “when” you fast and not “if” you fast.

Fasting is a significant spiritual activity that goes along with intensive prayer times.

To fast means to put God first. Fasting is an attitude of the heart in which we interrupt our normal life to pray for a specific matter or cause. It means to abstain from food and for some, even drink so that we can focus on God and be more sensitive to spiritual matters.

Fasting is also perseverance in prayer until we have received an answer — be it yes, no, wait or something different. In essence, fasting means that we rend our hearts before God, confess our sins and turn to the Lord anew (Joel 2:12-13).

Fasting is biblical. Moses fasted twice for 40 days (Exodus 34:28); Daniel fasted (partially) for 21 days (Daniel 10:3); Joel called for a day of fasting (Joel 1:14; 2:12); Ezra withdrew for a period of fasting and mourning (Ezra 10:6); Elijah fasted for 40 days (1 Kings 19:8); Leaders of the church in Antioch fasted (Acts 13:2-3); Jesus fasted for 40 days ( Luke 4:2); Paul and Barnabas fasted (Acts 14:23; 27:33).

Let us resolve to practice all the spiritual disciplines, including fasting.

Help me, Lord,
to practice fasting as a spiritual discipline without making it obvious.


Tomas Karkalas said...

Thank you for the help to start new day with God's Word and to keep hold of smile such way in spite of any I might face on my road. God bless you and your site that enables many to awake and spreads God's love.
Grateful Art by Tomas

Chinmay said...

Spirituality of fasting revealed so beautifully. Fasting is also very basic to Hindu and Islam. But in India fasting is used more for political reasons nowadays!