As we begin our corporate fast, it’s important to remember why we fast. After all, food is a gift from God, given to us at creation and a reminder of His provision for us. Food strengthens us, food provides refreshment and joy, and food helps us to build community with one another. Like all gifts it can be abused, but it is fundamentally good.
So why would we voluntarily give food up during a fast?
The spiritual discipline of fasting is important. The people of God have fasted for thousands of years, often in times in which securing food was a matter of survival and not convenience. Some early Christians even made it their practice to fast twice per week! Jesus Himself spoke about fasting several times. He always affirmed its importance but also reminded the disciples of its purpose.
Jesus was once asked why His disciples didn’t fast like the Pharisees. Jesus’s reply is a powerful reminder of why we fast: “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast”. (Matthew 9:14-15)
Fasting is the voluntary surrender of something we need in order to remind us that we need Jesus more.
Fasting acknowledges our weakness and confesses our dependence. It may seem counter-intuitive to voluntarily embrace weakness during a time of crisis or a time of need, but that is the purpose of fasting. It reminds us that our strength is limited and that we are not able to fix our problems on our own – whether in our personal life, our family or our nation. When we fast, we re-orient our hope in the person of Jesus and declare that He alone can save and restore.
This is why we embrace the discipline of fasting and this is why we fast in times of crisis. We need God to intervene in our world! In addition, we must pause to acknowledge that we need God to move in this hour more than anything else.
During times of uncertainty, we are tempted to react in fear and to hoard the things we feel we need. Fasting calls us to a different response. If anything, the last few weeks have reminded us that so much of life is outside of our control. Ultimately, human strength cannot save us, even if it can stop the spread of a disease.
These are difficult times, but within the trial, we have an opportunity to focus our attention on Jesus, the only One who truly saves. Join us as we fast and pray for a breakthrough, believing that when we humble ourselves God hears us, when we pray God heals us and when we repent God forgives us.
Consider the following suggestions to have a great fast:
- Before you fast, plan what you are fasting from and what you’re fasting for.
- During your fast, set aside extra time for worship and prayer. Be sure to drink lots of water and juice.
- At the end of your fast, break your fast with healthy food and community!
Who Should Not Fast?
- Those on medication which prevents it.
- Those with specific medical conditions (hypoglycemia, pregnant women, etc.) Consult your physician if you have any questions.
- People who have hard physical jobs need to be sure and drink plenty of liquids (up to 64 oz.) of water/juice a day.
Read this article for more tips for a great fast.