SPIRITUAL PRACTICE for the week of September 15-21: Fasting as a form of Prayer
“Intermittent Fasting” is a real buzz topic in the current diet and health culture in connection with the Keto weight loss program. You can find any number of articles that will educate you about the health benefits of this practice. Did you know though that fasting began as a form of prayer to God and is still a powerful spiritual practice?
Jesus fasted as a form of prayer during the time of his temptation in the wilderness (Matthew 4:2). When his disciples asked Jesus about prayer and fasting Jesus had this to say:
“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 NIV)
In Luke’s Gospel we first read about the spiritual practice of fasting and praying in connection to an 84 year old widow. “She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.” (Luke 2:37 NIV)
When you are in a time of seeking God’s direction (1 Kings 21:9), God’s leading, God’s call upon you, God’s mercy or healing (Psalm 35:13), God’s protection in times of grief (2 Samuel 12:23 and Esther 4:3), God’s mercy and forgiveness (Nehemiah 9:1), in times of lamentation (Esther 9:31), do so with a pure intent and a clean heart. God says through the prophet Isaiah: “Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. … Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to lose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?”
Fasting is the giving up of a food, drink, or behavior that one relies upon for survival and is a prayer of supplication and sole reliance upon God for provision - it is holy dependence, humility, and trust upon God.
For all that you seek that is holy and of the Lord, come before God privately with prayers and fasting and the God who is unseen will reward you.
Serving Christ together in Faith, Hope, and Love and the greatest of these is LOVE ~ Pastor Jen