4Then the word of the Lord Almighty came to me: 5“Ask all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted? 6And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves? (Zechariah 7:4 – 6)
Today we turn our attention to the Discipline of Fasting. Often, people fast when they want to get a special prayer answered. Of course, the Bible does support fasting for special requests and for other objectives such as humility. If we deeply consider the Biblical basis for fasting though, we come back to the question God asked in the passage above from Zechariah: “was it really for me that you fasted?”. Like every other Discipline, Fasting must ultimately be for God’s glory.
Before we get to our question today, I want to give you a heads up that tomorrow will be dedicated to actually fasting (i.e., not just theory). You should of course only participate in a food fast as your health allows. I am raising this today since the blog is read at varying times of the day around the world.
Bringing our focus back to today, please prayerfully reflect on the passage above and consider the following question.
When you fast (food fast or otherwise), what do you usually focus on and why?
March 21, 2019 at 1:37 pm
I usually focus on Psalm 51:10-12
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from Your presence, And do not take the Spirit of Your holiness away from me.
12 Restore to me the gladness of Your salvation, And sustain me with a willing spirit.
The reason: To maintain a close relationship with him, to be able to know & to do His will, to be internally transformed, bit by bit, for which I am deeply grateful, as He does that, with love, despite my sins.
March 21, 2019 at 1:48 pm
I fast for various reasons. Sometimes because it was issued in church to fast to some days i.e lent (but not this year cos of some health issues), I fast on behalf of my loved ones on their birthdays(taking the time to pray for them specially on such auspicious days), I do Tuesday and Thursday as a way of getting closer to God and also to discipline myself in the art of abstinence. But the one that mostly get me is when i do my 3-day thanksgiving fast (three days dedicated to just Thanking God for Everything – from blessings received personally and by those i have one time or the other included in my prayers, being thankful for strength granted me to overcome certain challenges, keeping up with scriptural precepts.
March 21, 2019 at 2:27 pm
When I fast my focus turns to God’s provision for me in that area of need. As my thoughts turn to my hunger, instead of thinking about the physical food that fulfills that need, I focus on a passage of scripture to remind me of the greater spiritual need God fulfills.
March 22, 2019 at 9:57 am
The last time I did fasting of food was in 2013 when we were posted in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. I remember I fasted for 3 days and we were living in Onewoodbrook condominium in Port of Spain, and on the days that I was fasting, for some reasons, it was also the time where there was a brown out in our building for 3 consecutive days. The electricity comes back around 5pm. It was tough but it was my first time to do that kind of fasting. I only eat at night and that I did for 3 days. That fasting was for my daughter that she would date a believer. Last year, my daughter got married with a believer! So when I look back, I feel the Lord really honored my fasting, my cry, and plea that He would bring a man who has faith in God for my daughter to marry. I did that fasting as I was advised by my close Christian friend to do it for me to have peace of mind and to just let the Lord be in control of everything. Praise God my prayer during that fasting was answered by the Lord. I believe God can really see our intention when we fast. I grew up in a very conservative Catholic family so during lent season , our fasting was more of avoiding eating meat, and having too much TV or entertainment and that’s every Friday during the whole lent season till Easter, we only eat fish on Fridays. I have mild ulcer that developed when I was a young mom. I became born again Christian 30 years ago in Japan. I realized that the fastiing we were doing at home in Philippines when I was little was very different from what really “ true fasting means.” I”ve developed this mild ulcer or “ien” in Japanese. This is a common stomach problem of many Japanese and I guess I became very Japanese now with having the same stomach problen. I cannot always do fasting of food, but what I chose to do now is to avoid playing this game called scrabble. This particular game consumes my time every day, so I try not to play much during lent season. If I feel the urge of checking my turn to play the gane, as I have so many words with friends games in FB, I tried to discipline myself by not doing my turn or checking my games Instead, I use my time to memorize the songs my choir at church has to sing on Easter Sunday. Our music psstor requires the choir members to memorize all the lyrics of the many songs we are singing on Easter Sunday. I’m very honest, to tell here in our study, that this is the way I do my fasting—-by avoiding the thing/ hobby, or leisure that I like the most. I think I find more time to pray and contemplate on God’s word when I’m not engaging myself on the thing that I like or enjoy very much. May the Lord accept my own way of fasting.