What is a fast?
Basically, a fast is the willful choice not to eat for a specific period of time for a spiritual purpose. The fast is a choice to give up a perfectly normal thing – eating. By not eating, you are putting yourself on notice that you want to focus your full attention on the Savior. Fasts may also be partial; you may give up only certain things, such as desserts or solid food or even an activity.
Is fasting a sacrifice?
Yes, it is! The questions are: What am I willing to sacrifice in order to realize spiritual gains in my life and in the lives of the people around me? Am I willing to forego pleasure now to acquire blessing when the harvest is ready? The Bible always speaks of fasting as “when you fast,” not “if you happen to fast.”
Is fasting a part of prayer?
Often prayer and fasting are associated; however, they are distinct from each other. Prayer is communication with God, while fasting is a statement of serious intent: “Lord, I mean business.” The Lord has a master plan for mankind and, in fasting, we are saying “Yes” to God and His plan. (It should be noted that almost every follower of the Lord in the Bible practiced fasting.)
Is fasting like a hunger strike?
No, but they have several common elements. Both are sacrifices, both are for important purposes and both are attention-getters! The strike gains man’s attention, while the fast gains God’s attention. The strike is done in demand or anger; the fast in a gentle response of love. Christ loved us and gave up His life for us. Fasting is an example of presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice – an act of worship (Romans 12:1-2).
What is the purpose?
In setting aside my pleasure and seeking to please the Lord with my full attention, focusing on His grace and love, I draw closer to Him. Daily concerns are replaced by the openness of my heart, specifically focused on Him.
Do I get extra credit?
If you ask – no! Your response is between you and the Lord, not a basis of pride or legalism. Jesus said that deeds done in private would be rewarded openly. Don’t wear it on your cuff – do it privately, out of love (Matthew 6:16-18).
Will people think I’m a fanatic?
Maybe. However, if you’re telling everybody, you’re likely missing the point. Don’t tell people – just show God, by your action and attitude, that you’re serious about our needs and His glory. A guy who sits in a stadium in cold weather, tolerates beer spilled down his back, pays good money for his ticket, and walks a mile from the parking lot where he paid $10 to park, is a fan. A man who prays for an hour is a fanatic! I hope you’ll be a fanatic.
Will this ruin my health?
If you are in normal health, a fast will have no ill effect. If you have special medical challenges, you should consult a doctor before fasting for any prolonged time.
Why fast now?
We believe that it honors the Lord Jesus Christ, and that the condition of the church in our country needs it. We are asking you to pray for the spiritual needs of your own life, your family, your church fellowship, the outreach in your area, your city, province/territory and the nation, as well as the work of God around the world. Pray on your lunch hour instead of eating. If possible, go on a prayer walk with another Christian. A prayer walk is two walking together through a neighbourhood, praying for the things listed above, as well as the people living where you’re walking. If you are alone at home or in the office, move away from food to avoid distraction. Read the Word, pray and take notes on what the Lord is impressing on your mind and heart.
How does it work?
First, you prepare your heart by prayer and thought. You could start by fasting through lunch. You will eat normally up until the selected day. Eat a normal breakfast. (It is wise to avoid hot and spicy foods in the last meal.) During the day, you would eat no solid foods, but drink more than your usual amount of water to avoid dehydration. In the evening, you would eat your regular meal. This is really not that hard! Some may want the one-day fast to begin with the evening meal the night before and continue until the next evening. Notice the word “breakfast.” We fast while we are sleeping and “break fast” with the morning meal. You choose how long you’ll fast.