What is fasting?
Fasting is where you alter your diet for a predetermined length of time, dedicated to prayer and intercession to accomplish a spiritual purpose. There are degrees to fasting, from an absolute fast (Moses went without food and water, NOT recommended) to a partial fast (Daniel did not drink wine or eat delicacies). And many instances of fasting refer to the understood “normal” fast where people do not eat solid food. It is to the individual's discretion and/or direction from God if liquids (different kinds) are acceptable.
The key is to remember that fasting is the pursuit and pleasure of God, not yourself or others.
So asking God to lead you into what you should eat/drink is best practice. And in addition to eliminating food/s from your diet, the prayer and intercession during this time is of the utmost importance. As you eliminate anything that convicts your conscience before the Lord, remember 1 Corinthians 10:31:
“Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
Much like the variations of fasts, there are also variations to the time/type of prayer during this time. Examples include praying during mealtimes, having one special prayer time, praying intermittently, praying through a list, or having a singular lens of prayer for the duration. The primary focus remains to seek and draw closer to God. Where our prayers are not answered by knowing how much food and drink to withhold, but by the sincerity of our hearts to ask for and believe in the will of God.
Many Christians forgo the spiritual discipline of fasting because it is rarely, if accurately, taught on and directed throughout discipleship. Where in today’s world, how dare someone tell me what to think, let alone what to eat, or not eat, that is. But scripture shows many examples and directives in fasting. Moses fasted for 40 days on the mountain with God, Esther fasted for her people to be spared from destruction, and Ezra also called the Israelites to fast for God’s mercy. Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:16:
“When you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces so that they may appear to men to be fasting.”
It is easy to get so caught up in the legalism of fasting that we can miss the whole point of why we're doing it. Much like tithing, the spiritual discipline of fasting is built through God’s law and fulfilled with Christ. We are not required to fast, but we get to fast. We are not under the law but under grace.
Fasting proves its significance and value to a believer, as it facilitates movement closer to God.
So no matter what the Holy Spirit leads you to fast, pray, and believe for during these next 21 days, remember that God is truly all you need. He is the bread of life and living water for our souls. Let Him be your portion and your strength.
"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 73:26
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