Fasting

About Fasting:

Voluntary abstaining in some significant way from food (and possibly drink) for a spiritual purpose. 

Types of Fasts

1. Normal Fast (Luke 4:2)
2. Partial fast (Dan 1:12, 10:3)
3. Absolute fast (Ezra 10:6; Esther 4:16)
4. Supernatural fast (Deut 9:9; I Kings 19:8)
5. Private fast (Matt 6:16-18)
6. Congregational fast (Joel 2:15-16)
7. National fast (II Chron 20:3)

Key Verse: 

"Then John's disciples came and asked him, "How is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?" 
Jesus 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 9:14-15 (NIV)

Things we can learn from fasting:

1. Our weakness
2. Our utter dependence on God
3. Helps us practice “self-denial”
4. Helps us learn “self-control”
5. Gives us a sense of our spiritual resources

Times to fast (Only one time yearly commanded in Bible by God – most is situational)

1. Acknowledgement of sin I Sam 7:6; Joel 2:12
2. Overwhelmed by sinfulness Ezra 10:6
3. Seeking an answer to the perplexing Dan 10:3; Acts 9:9
4. When seeking guidance in life Acts 13:2-3; Judges 20
5. Confirmation in leadership selection/calling Acts 14:23
6. In times of trouble Esther 4:16; Acts 27:21
7. To strengthen prayer Ezra 8:23
8. To minister to the needs of others Isa 58:6-7
9. To express love & devotion to God Luke 2:37

Helps in fasting – Do it for a spiritual purpose; the fast is NOT the goal (nor is weight loss)

1. Don’t bring recognition to yourself Matt 6:16-18
2. Drink lots of water (unless complete fast)
3. If first fast, drink fruit juice (to help avoid headaches)
4. 23 ½ hour fast
5. Long fasts (read book ahead to help maximize this time)

Questions:

What are some experiences with fasting that you have had? 

  • What was the result?What can we learn from fasting? 
  • When should we fast?

Practical project: 

While you may not be able to do one of the following this week (or have a spiritual reason to try) but we would encourage you to try not eating any FOOD EITHER for one meal or a 23 hour fast. Notice any results both physically (how your body & mind responded) and spiritually (any guidance, answers to prayer, etc.) FASTING IS NOT MAGIC – IT IS NOT A WAY TO INSURE GOD DOES WHAT WE WANT HIM TO DO.