21 Days of Prayer and Fasting - Day 1
INTRODUCTION TO THE PRACTICE OF FASTING
The practice of fasting is abstaining from food (and possibly other things) for the purpose of engaging with and centering on God.
In the Bible, fasting was always specifically abstaining from food, and not other things such as forms of entertainment, bad habits, or other distractions. Fasting isn’t a diet, trend, or a means to physical health. However, for the purpose of an intentional fast like this, you may want to abstain from things like social media, tv streaming platforms, or anything else that may be a habit that is shaping and forming you in potentially negative ways.
In the simplest terms, fasting is not eating food.
Therefore, you may decide to fast from a meal a day, or for one day a week, or for a certain amount of time a couple of days a week. This was most often how fasting occurred in the Scripture, with an exception being Jesus fasting in the wilderness for 40 days and nights. Fasting in the early church would often include a rhythm of fasting two days a week, and varied in different ways throughout church history. Each person is unique and should take into consideration their own physical health and well-being. Do not feel pressured to do too much or make this about performance. This is not a practice of earning God’s love, but rather a practice designed to help you make room for God’s love to pour into you.
Fasting helps us to deny the flesh, and feed the spirit.
While fasting can feel out of the ordinary for us, it was a common practice both in the Old and New Testament. Jesus’ taught his disciples to practice fasting, and it continued to be practiced by the early church in the first century and beyond.
If you are looking to fast for a more specific reason, other than simply making room to engage with and center your life around God, Scripture is full of examples of fasting for a variety of reasons. It is an effective practice for discerning God’s will, in times of repentance or grief, when praying for healing, in overcoming temptation, or as part of engaging in worship of God.
(I Samuel 7:6; Nehemiah 1:4; Esther 4:16; 2 Samuel 12:16-20; Matthew 4:2; Mark 2:18-19; Luke 5:33; Act 13:2-3)
Regardless of the season of life that you are in, the practice of fasting can help you deny your flesh and feed your soul.
The underlying motivation for this practice is to help us experience life with Jesus, become more like Jesus, and to do the things that Jesus taught us to do.
Take a moment, pray, and ask God how you may need to engage in the practice of fasting during these 21 days.
Set your intentions for this practice of fasting during these 21 days.
Prepare your heart, schedule, and your life for the set aside times of fasting, whether it be a day, a day a week, a meal a day, etc.