Knowing who you are
Sat May 25, 2013
by Jeremy Pace
Resurgence roundup, 5/24/13
Fri May 24, 2013
The places grace empowers us
Thu May 23, 2013
by Justin Holcomb
‘Each next risk is the biggest one’: James MacDonald talks with Mark Driscoll
Wed May 22, 2013
by Mark Driscoll
Tue May 21, 2013
by Amanda Edmondson
6 Practical Steps for Fasting
"Some have exalted religious fasting beyond all Scripture and reason; and others have utterly disregarded it." John Wesley
What Jesus Said About Fasting
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught a lesson about how and how not to fast: "And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you" (Matthew 6:16-18). We see that it is important to not brag or boast to others about fasting. The Jews of Jesus' day used fasting and giving to make everyone think that they were more spiritual than others. But Jesus tells us that fasting should be done in secret, so that it can't be used as a way of bringing glory to ourselves. Fasting should make us humble instead of proud. In the end, it is not our works but our hearts that matter to God. God promises to reward openly those who fast and pray in secret.
6 Practical Steps for Fasting
There are several useful steps that you should follow before you begin fasting.
- Decide which fast is best for you. Due to health reasons, not everyone can do a total fast. Also, sometimes work schedules and other duties may prevent an individual from a certain type of fast. You may want to begin with a partial fast and work your way to a total fast. Ultimately, you should pray and ask God what his will would be for your fast.
- Decide how long you want to fast. People in the Bible often chose to fast for a certain time period. To prepare their hearts for the seasons, the early church would fast for a number of days before Christmas or Easter. John Wesley chose Friday as a day of the week to fast. This was a day that he set aside for fasting and prayer to the Lord.
- Consult a physician before you go on an extended fast. If you have any physical problems, then you will certainly want to follow this advice. Fasting can be healthy to the body when it is done right, but it can also be dangerous if you don't exercise wisdom.
- Make sure that you have time to pray. Although some people fast for health reasons, it will not do you any spiritual good if don't allow yourself time to pray. Be sure to get the most out of your fast and spend plenty of time in prayer. Consider setting aside a few days for a retreat to do so. When was the last time you can remember spending an entire day with the Lord?
- Slowly introduce soft food when your fast is over. If you have been on an extended fast from solid foods, it is a good idea to slowly reintroduce your system to solid food again. For instance, you may want to eat soup or salad for your first meal. Bananas or other soft fruit are also a great way to break a long fast.
- Just do it! Many people never fast because they are afraid to or because they have never done it before. Don't let fear or inexperience stop you from experiencing one of God's greatest blessings. Possibly all the great heroes of the faith spent hours fasting and praying to the Lord.