“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. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 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
Fasting is something we honestly know very little about and we don’t practice it very much. We know a lot about feasting, but we don’t know a lot about fasting, which, in a way, I get. On any given day, I would choose a feast over a fast anytime. Yet, if we want to be on the right side of history, we need to learn about fasting and we need to understand why it is a discipline we should experience.
Fasting is just as much a part of the Christian life as other spiritual disciplines like praying and giving. So over the next couple of days, I am going to tell you two things we should do when it comes to fasting.
The first thing we should do is undertake the practice of fasting. Something you should know about fasting is that it is rarely ever practiced alone. It is always linked with prayer. The two practices are joined at the hip. Fasting is the perfect environment for really wanting to pray and seek the Lord at another level.
When Jesus began His ministry after He was baptized by John, He could have gone out and done a lot of things. He didn’t throw a party. He didn’t call a press conference. He didn’t give a great speech to thousands of people. He didn’t do any great miracles or enter a parade. He began His ministry with a forty-day fast.
He would spend the next three years of His life (in fact His entire ministry) doing one primary thing above all things and that was discipling twelve men. But before He chose His twelve disciples, He fasted and prayed.
I would encourage you to follow Jesus’ example and make a point to practice fasting and praying. You never know what the Lord could be wanting to tell you or show you when you sharpen your focus on Him.
Dear Lord, thank you for modeling for me what it looks like to prioritize fasting and praying. Help me to incorporate these practices more frequently in my walk with you and speak to me clearly as I do. In Jesus’ name, amen.