Fasting – Tricky terminology from the Bible

Fasting is tough, and many people wonder whether we are supposed to fast or not as Christians. We see the Muslims fasting over Ramadan, but why should Christians fast? What is the point and how often are we supposed to fast, if at all?

Many Christians never fast but that does not make it right. Fasting was something that Jesus did and I always say if Jesus found it necessary and beneficial then who am I to suggest otherwise? Jesus fasted on many occasions and sometimes He fasted for forty days. The reason for fasting will be different for each person but there should always be a reason to fast. The Bible is not calling us to fast as Christians to lose weight or to be sour and miserable.

Fasting is an intensely personal experience and is a step of obedience towards God. When you really want a breakthrough in your life, after you have prayed and prayed and you just cannot seem to make any progress, then you should fast. Fasting with a purpose does two things. First of all it focuses your mind very sharply on the reason for your fast. Secondly it reveals to God how serious you are. We have to remember that God wants to see us in action rather than just read our minds. God knows exactly what we need and want, so if we were to just leave it to God to read our minds, there would be no need to communicate. God is indeed able to read minds, but chooses another way. He usually waits for us to show our intentions and speak our desires before He will act on them. So fasting does just that.

There is no hard and fast rule (excuse the pun) that determines how you need to fast and how long you need to fast. Most people do a food fast but there are kinds of “fasts.” A food fast usually means that we stop eating for at least 24 hours, and during that time we only drink water. Some people do drinks coffee or tea or juice and they just forego food. A one day fast is a good discipline with the idea that while we are fasting we use the feeling of hunger to reach out to God. There is no point in fasting if it means nothing more than not eating. As we fast we should try and spend more time than usual praying and conversing with God.

Some people fast for two days or even three days. The most I have done is ….

Extracted from chapter 9

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