[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he question comes up many times in Christian circles concerning fasting – whether a Christian should or should not. Is there any benefit or is this simply an “Old Testament” type of thing that we can ignore today? The truth is…fasting is for today! In fact, it is for now more than ever!
Under normal circumstances, a fast is a voluntary abstention from food, and possibly from drink, for a determined period of time, in order that a person might achieve certain physical and/or spiritual benefits. In the New Testament, the word “fast” is derived from the Greek word “nesteuo,” pronounced nace-tyoo’-o, which is defined as “abstaining as a religious exercise from food and drink; either entirely, if the fast lasted but a single day, or from customary and choice nourishment, if it continued several days.”
In a culture where the landscape is dotted with shrines from the “Golden Arches” to an assortment of “Pizza Palaces,” fasting seems out of place and out of step with the times.
As I begin to deal with this subject of prayer and fasting, I do so with some hesitation because:
[quote]…fasting seems out of place and out of step with the times.[/quote]
1. It is an EMOTIONAL subject.
Views about fasting usually go to extremes. Some have exalted religious fasting beyond all Scripture and reason, and others have utterly disregarded it. Some consider fasting unnecessary, undesirable, and therefore to be ignored. Others think fasting is to be bound as a matter of faith (like baptism).
2. Fasting touches upon a matter very personal to us: FOOD!
Many people are very dependent upon food; not just for survival but for dealing with anxiety, depression, boredom, etc. Rather than eating to live, they live to eat. Many do not fast because they are into this “feed good religion,” and they do not want to be bothered with any thought of hunger or self-denial. To preach on fasting is like preaching on gluttony or smoking; it often touches on raw nerves.
[quote]… they do not want to be bothered with any thought of hunger or self-denial.[/quote]
3. It is an UNTRADITIONAL subject.
You rarely hear sermons on the subject of fasting. One person, in researching fasting among Christians, found that not a single book was published on fasting among some brethren from 1861 to 1954. The Scriptures have so much to say about fasting.
The list of biblical persons who fasted becomes a “Who’s Who” of Scripture:
- Moses the lawgiver
- David the king
- Elijah the prophet
- Esther the queen
- Daniel the seer
- Anna the prophetess
- Paul the apostle
- Jesus the Son of God
Did you know there is more teaching in the New Testament on fasting than repentance and confession? Did you know that Jesus taught more on fating than baptism and the Lord’s Supper?
What, then, would account for this almost total disregard for a subject so frequently mentioned in Scripture?
FIRST, many have simply concluded that fasting was a Jewish custom, of no value or need in the Christian age.
SECONDLY, we have been convinced through constant propaganda that if we do not have three large meals each day, with several snacks in between, we are on the verge of starvation. We eat, not because we need to eat, but because it is time to eat.
God has allowed me to write a book on prayer and fasting called, “The Awesome Power of Prayer & Fasting” published through the Reformers Unanimous Ministry. In this book, we learn how to fast for the right reasons so that it will glorify the Lord and help to promote His Kingdom.
May we NEVER fast for vainglory or to impress others with our false spirituality.
Some of the subjects covered in this book on prayer and fasting are as follows.
- Fasting in the Old Testament
- Fasting in the New Testament
- Fasting by Christian Today
- Biblical Reasons Not To Fast
- The Importance of Fasting
- New Versions Attack Biblical Fasting – (Many omit fasting)
When a believer enters a biblically directed time of prayer and fasting, we see God showing up in a very personal and powerful way. We see God’s will being accomplished along with the advancement of His kingdom.
We have made a way to order this book here, and may God bless you as you seek His direction through the awesome power of prayer and fasting.