Why Should I Fast?
As we get set to begin a new year we, as a church, have a general consensus that we want more of God. We want to know Him more, to walk in greater closeness to Him: to know Him, to love Him, to love like Him, to hear Him and to follow His leading.
In Matthew 6, Jesus says these words: "When you fast..." What does that tell us? It shows us that Jesus expects us to fast. He even fasted Himself for 40 days before He began his public ministry and, throughout His 3-year public ministry, He regularly withdrew for private times of prayer.
Prayer and fasting go hand in hand with each other AND they are a key part of walking with God. If we want more of God then there is a clear biblical correlation between this desire and fasting. But why? What can we expect to happen when we fast?
Fasting Decreases Your Appetite for Lesser Things
Our lives are busy and full of stuff that is right before our eyes. It is easy to prioritise that which is directly before our eyes as being more urgent and important than the great God that created and holds it all together. In forsaking food we forsake that which we depend on for physical life and instead feast on the One who ulimately gives us true life.
"Man doesn't live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:4)
Fasting Increases Your Appetite for God.
Fasting is an act of laying down our physical needs to prioritise our deep spiritual need for God. You are in essence communicating to God that He means so much more to us than this world. What we typically turn to for comfort and nourishment is being put aside in favour of our saviour because we know that He is our ultimate satisfaction.
Fasting Strengthens Prayer.
There are examples throughout scripture of fasting strengthening prayer, hence the pairing of the two. Our hearts and minds become focused when we fast, fueling our prayers with fervour and life. That's not to say our foraking of food makes God listen better, rather it helps us focus better. (See Matthew 17:21, Mark 9:17-29, Acts 10:30, 1 Corinthians 7:5)
Fasting Helps Us Become Sensitive to the Holy Spirit
When we shift our attention and devotion from our physical needs and onto God, we reduce our level of distraction and focus in on God. It sharpens our senses to His voice and leading and helps us submit to His will.
"Why they were worshipping and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for Me Barabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them."" (Acts 13:2)
Now that you've decided to participate in the fast, you need to understand what to do next. Have a look at our guide 'How To Fast'.