Fasting – part 1
Jesus fasted for 40 days after baptism. In the Sermon on the Mount, he instructed his disciples how to fast. During Lent, most Christians abstain from something (like chocolate) as part of the season of preparation for Easter. Fasting is a part of the Christian life. In prison, Paul knew how to be content when hungry (Philippians 4:12).
Fasting is not a discipline used to get something from God. Fasting draws us closer to Christ the way sleep gives our bodies rest. We need to fast because this is what it means to be in a relationship with Christ. We don’t do it to get something out of him to improve our lives, or gain direction for a decision, or make the world a better place. We fast because we’re his people. He taught us to do it, and we hunger for Him.
I don’t fast very often. Admittedly, it’s not on my list of favorite things to do. Whenever I change my eating habits, I’m always grateful I do. This month in September, I’m inviting you to replace one meal each week with a time of prayer and scripture reading. Replace the bread on the table with the bread of life.
How do you do that? Prepare the way you would for anything else in your life. Just don’t jeopardize your health if you’re a diabetic or have special needs.
- Choose which meal that you want to use for a time of fasting. Eat a very large meal for the one prior to it, and plan to eat an earlier meal as the one immediately after the fast. Schedule this as you would anything else.
- Take your Bible and the prayer guide with you through your day. When it’s normally time to eat, go to a quiet place somewhere or the church prayer room. Use the normal length of time you would for the meal to pray, reflect, and ask, “What does Christ want?”
- Journal your thoughts, and make a note of what you learned.
- Drink something during the fast to remind your stomach you haven’t forgotten it.
- Return next week, and try it again.
You’ll be surprised how you won’t miss the meal, but you will be refreshed by the time. Let me know how it goes.