Fasting

Fasting – at the very minimum it declutters our day/mind.  We do not have to be concerned with what otherwise, for many of us, is a total preoccupation throughout our day—what to eat?  Listen to what John Piper says in his book, A Hunger for God:

I almost subtitled this book:  Fasting—the Hungry Handmaid of Faith.  What a servant she is!   Humbly and quietly, with scarcely a movement, she brings up out of the dark places of my soul the dissatisfactions in relationships, the frustrations of the ministry, the fears of failure, the emptiness of wasted time.  And just when my heart begins to retreat to the delicious hope of eating supper with friends at Pizza Hut, she quietly reminds me:  not tonight.  It can be a devastating experience at first.  Will I find spiritual communion with God sweet enough, and hope in his promises deep enough, not just to cope, but to flourish and rejoice in him?  Or will I rationalize away my need to fast and retreat to the medication of food?  The apostle Paul said, “I will not be mastered by anything” (I Corinthians 6:12).  Fasting reveals the measure of food’s mastery over us—or television or computers or whatever we submit to again and again to conceal the weakness of our hunger for God.

Beyond the incredible journey closer to God’s heart, fasting is also designed by our Father to help us bring our needs and — equally important — the needs of others to Him.  There are countless testimonies of God intervening in powerful ways when His people put their desires aside and come empty before Him.  We recommend this discipline for spiritual and physical well-being.

Some resources to check out:  A Hunger for God, by John Piper; Celebration of the Disciplines, by Richard Foster; Spirit of the Disciplines, by Dallas Willard. The Bible:  Esther 4:16, I Samuel 31:13, II Samuel 12:16, the prophets fasted for guidance, Jesus’ words:  Matthew 6:16-18, Matthew 17:20-21 (NKJ), Acts 13:2-3, Acts 10:30, Acts 14:23, I Corinthians 7:5. Actually fasting is all through the Bible.  But for some reason, when Jesus said in His Sermon on the Mount, “When you pray…when you give…when you fast”, many of us stop reading after “when you pray and give.”  My husband is one of the few people I’ve heard preach on the subject.

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