What Is Fasting?
Fasting, in the literal sense, means to abstain or go without something, traditionally food, in order to focus on prayer and seeking God. Whenever we find ourselves hungry – it’s a reminder to pray.
There are many examples in the Bible of people and prophets who fasted and prayed to seek God’s guidance, healing, forgiveness, or simply to worship Him.
Jesus never mentioned much about fasting during His ministry. We only find specific teaching on fasting in Matthew 6. Here He introduced His teaching by saying “when you fast,” assuming that His followers would include fasting in their lives.
Why Do We Fast?
A verse that comes to mind is where Jesus was with his disciples, who were not able to heal a boy from an evil spirit, and Jesus’ response was they could do this – “only by prayer.” We believe we can get through this year ahead – only through prayer. We want to draw near and seek God in 2021.
Fasting reminds us to spend more time praying, helping us to focus more on God. Instead of spending time having lunch, we can go to a quiet place in the office and spend time praying.
Fasting and praying humbles us and increases our sense of dependence on God. Just like we need food to survive and we cannot live without it – so we depend on God to intervene in our situation of need.
Fasting is a good exercise in self-control. By putting prayer above our need for food, we develop the habit of putting things of God above our own needs and desires.
Different Ways To Fast
In this type, drink only liquids, typically water with light juices as an option.
This involves removing certain things from your diet. One example of a selective fast is the Daniel Fast, during which you remove meat, sweets, and bread from your diet. Instead you consume water and juice for fluids and fruits and vegetables for food.
This fast is sometimes called the “Jewish Fast” and involves abstaining from eating any type of food in the morning and afternoon. This can either correlate to specific times of the day, such as 6:00 am to 3:00 pm, or from sunup to sundown.
This is a great option if you do not have much experience fasting food, have health issues that prevent you from fasting food, or if you wish to refocus certain areas of your life that are out of balance. For example, you might choose to stop using social media or watching television for the duration of the fast and then carefully bring that element back into your life in healthy doses at the conclusion of the fast.