HOW TO FAST

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“Whenever you fast, don’t be gloomy like the hypocrites. For they disfigure their faces so that their fasting is obvious to people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward.”
Matthew 6:16 CSB

Though a common practice in the church today, many believers do not understand how to fast. Today, we would be discussing some noteworthy tips to help us through this season of fasting.

Firstly, fasting is a spiritual discipline designed to set our affections on God. Without understanding the purpose of a fast, it is easy to abuse it. Scripture teaches us that the early Church gave themselves to fasting (Acts 13:2-3). If we want the results they had, we should do what they did.

Secondly, expect to feel hungry. Hunger is a natural reaction to withholding food from yourself. It should not be something you feel bad about.

Jesus speaking to Peter in Matthew 26:41 said, “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” This rule of thumb guides every aspect of our devotional life.

The flesh wars against the Spirit so that we do not do what we want (Galatians 5:17). So learn to move past the hunger and focus on devotion.

Thirdly, fasting requires intentionality. As we have learnt this month, if you only wait for the spirit of prayer, you would never pray. This is important to remember when fasting.

Prayer should always go with your fast. Fasting without prayer and Bible study is as good as a hunger strike. And you would not pray if you do not set time apart to pray.

So in this season of fasting, set specific times during the day to give yourself to prayer. Don’t regard your lunch time as “spare time”. Instead, replace food with prayer and Bible study (Matthew 4:4). This season is also a good time to give yourself to past teachings of the year and catch up on the Bible reading plan.

Fourthly, your appetite is not only directed towards food. When you withdraw food, your appetite for other things increases. It may be social media, entertainment, work and so on.

A period of fasting is a period of devotion. It is a time to set your affections on Christ and the things of God. Resist the urge to redirect your attention to other things. Put away distractions and press into the place of prayer.

Finally, a season of fasting is not intended to replace your devotion time but is supplementary to it. While we engage in corporate prayer as a family, don’t neglect your personal devotion.

As we minister unto the Lord, devote yourself to these things and your progress would be evident to all.

Bible Reading Plan:
Luke 12:49-59, 2 Thessalonians 3:14-18, Psalms 150, 2 Chronicles 34-36

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