I’ve come across the word ‘fasting’ many times over the last few days while studying my bible and the more I saw it, the more I felt God moving on my curiosity. Many prophets like Moses, Elijah, David and several others all fasted (refrained from eating) for various reasons. Some fasted while in mourning over their sin or the sin of their people, others fasted for God to ensure their safety, or for a prayer to be answered. Jesus also indicated that when he was taken to heaven, fasting would become a necessity. When he was asked why his disciples didn’t fast, he answered “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.” (Matthew 9:15 NIV) When Jesus was was still on earth, the disciples enjoyed a close fellowship and friendship with Him, thus they didn’t need to fast as He was physically present. For us today however, fasting is a spiritual discipline with a purpose of drawing us closer to God, and strengthening our spiritual person.
Yesterday I decided I would do my first fast, which lasted from about 6pm-4pm the following day. My reason for fasting was a prayer for someone else’s salvation, so it was really important to me.
One of the greatest things I can share from my experience was that, for the entire day, even after I was done fasting, my mind was fully focused on God and the purpose of my fast. So often we subconsciously deny God the attention he rightfully deserves because of life’s daily responsibilities. Fasting allowed me to focus on him even during the chaos of my day. I was more aware of His presence.
When we fast, we willingly deprive our bodies of nourishment and the joy that food brings us. So during our fast, we must rely on God to be the full source of our strength. By then end of my fast, I was more than ready to eat, but I found that by staying in the Word and praying throughout the day, I was still completely functional and cheerful throughout the whole process. (I didn’t experience that ‘hangry’ feeling if you know what I mean.)
My advice to anyone who reads this and feels a little tug on their heart- consider fasting. Even if your reasoning is just to feel closer to God, do it! Fasting is not intended to be a punishment for our bodies, but it is a humbling discipline that we should make use of.
Matthew 5:6 NIV says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.”
I may have ended with an empty stomach, but my heart was definitely full.