16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6:16-18)
Thanks to those who shared verses of encouragement on prayer yesterday! We are halfway through our journey and the comments we have received so far have made this a very rich experience.
Today we switch our focus to Fasting, and Libby has a question from Serena. Remember, Libby is not expected to be an expert. Rather, Libby simply shares from personal and practical experiences. So, please feel free to chime in even if you have questions yourself. Also, even if you don’t have the time to share, think about how you have addressed the challenge in your life or how you would address it in the life of a loved one.
Please review the Bible passage above and Serena’s challenge below and share your thoughts.
I have very little experience with fasting. I hear so many views on this subject that sometimes the topic gets murky. The one thing I have heard with consistency is that health considerations should be taken into account before attempting a food fast. However, beyond that consistent message I hear a lot of theoretical debates. I have decided that I want to go beyond the debates and see what I can learn from the practical experiences of other believers. So, I am specifically looking for feedback on how fasting has helped you or other believers you know.
Anxious to learn,
What thoughts would you like to share with Serena?
March 23, 2017 at 6:39 am
There are times when I recognize and acknowledge that there is time for everything and everyone but the Lord. In those times I remove or fast from things to realign to the priority.
It may be TV, a particular food I like but it is more about directing my thoughts and time to the Lord each time I desire that thing during my fast. For me that’s the whole purpose of the fast is to focus on the Lord and serve as a reminder that He is my hope and provider. I hope this helps.
March 23, 2017 at 9:02 am
Thank you for your letter. Like you I have very little experience with fasting but was recently inspired to fast by this blog. I have now been fasting several weeks from Netflix – my favored source of entertainment. What I found is initially is I resisted the fast – it struck me then that Netflix had a hold on me – that I should have no desire stronger than GOD and my delight should be in HIM first and foremost.
Therefore for me fasting helps curb desires that competes with my desire for GOD. I shouldn’t delight in a thing so much. The content on Netflix in particular gives me serious anxiety that I might be darkening my mind and thereby impairing my ability to hear from GOD. I am hoping this fast improves my ability to hear from HIM. But I can say with certainty, if you struggle with a habit that lessens your desire for GOD or to do HIS will – fasting may help you place Non GOD desires in its proper place.
Yours in Christ,
March 23, 2017 at 11:20 am
I am sure it takes Discipline and I just have not acquired that as yet. Maybe I would but because I work in a stressed environment and digestive issues I have not pursued it
March 23, 2017 at 12:00 pm
I hear you. Even though we read in the bible about Jesus fasting, and making references to the power of fasting, we seem to view the act of fasting almost like some form of ‘higher calling’ for a select few.
Well, spurred on by some Godly encouragement from a sister in Christ, my wife and I a couple of months ago started fasting once a week, and I have to say that we both now look forward to the day! Who would have thought?! Yes, we deny ourselves a physical appetite (in our case 12 hrs with only water), but the key is what we replace it with! We spend as much as possible of the day in prayer, study, the Word… in any form of Godly pursuit… and it’s truly a special time. Sometimes we don’t do so well and ‘normal’ activities press in on the day, and those are the times we feel the hunger. But when we manage to focus on Him, our physical hunger is replaced by spiritual, and is satisfied. It’s hard to better describe the feeling or explain the rationale, but it is a special time, and I would encourage you to try it. Just remember to REPLACE whatever you give up with focusing somehow on Him (otherwise it’s just a diet!).
Your brother in Christ
March 24, 2017 at 4:36 am
I give up meat during Lent. Have been drawn to do so since I was studying away from my home, friends and family. I found myself more at peace without realusing that it must have been Godled like all other serious matters in my life. When my father was diagnosed with cancer, there was this dramatic urge to cleanse myself physically and spiritually in search of ,?… I knew not what, but followed this thought which flashed and pushed me. It was a Friday and all I drank for the weekend was water with a little bit of food on Sunday because my mother insisted I was being stupid. I did not feel hungry at all but just a great peace because I knew I was following my spiritual orders. Next day after praying, washing and donning clean clothes, unironed,early in the mornjng, my mother told me that they had a mystery telephone call but could not return it as there was no answer. I insisted she give me the number saying I was sure it was for me. A young man answered as soon as
I dialled. We introduced ourselves. He said that he had seen my father at the surgery and been given the urge to pray for him, asked the receptionist his name on the Friday but could only trace him on Monday. The same period of time I had been fasting. He and his friends had begun to pray for this stranger for 2 days. Soon after he came to where I was staying and we prayed across the table for over and hour, crying and praising God in my fathers life. This young man and an odd bznd of friends went to pray with Daddy, taking turns at his bedside, offering to help around the house and farm, all through his last minths. I tried to get in touch when Daddy died but have never again had a response from that tel number.
March 25, 2017 at 1:47 pm
Great testimony, thanks for sharing.