The Bible has a lot to say about fasting. For instance, there are at least 74 separate references to fasting in the Bible. 74…
The list of people in the Bible who fasted reads like a “Who’s Who” list of Bible greats. People like Moses, David, Elijah, Esther, Daniel, Anna, Paul, and even Jesus.
Some of the greatest Christian leaders in history have fasted. People like Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, Charley Finney, Charles Spurgeon, Billy Graham, MLK, Bill Bright and the list goes on.
Fasting is a classical spiritual practice that sincere followers of Jesus have integrated into their lives for centuries. It’s basically “abstaining from food or bypassing an opportunity to eat with a specific spiritual goal in mind.” It’s about eliminating distractions and competing desires so that you can fully focus on God.
It’s something Jesus simply expected His followers to do. In Matthew 6:16 Jesus said, “WHEN you fast…” He didn’t say, “IF you fast…” but “WHEN you do…”
Unfortunately, John Wesley was correct when he wrote: “Some have exalted…fasting beyond all Scripture and reason; and others have utterly disregarded it.”
This is one of the reasons we’ve launched something at A2.Church called FIFTH FRIDAY.
FIFTH FRIDAY is an opportunity for us to re-focus our lives and re-ignite the fire in our relationship with God through prayer and fasting
whenever a 5th Friday occurs in a month (about 4 times a year).
Every FIFTH FRIDAY will begin on Thursday at sundown before that Friday and continue for the next 24 hours, wrapping up Friday at sundown with a gathered night of worship at A2, followed by a family meal!
Our first FIFTH FRIDAY is this Friday, April 30. And, our SPIRITUAL GOAL or FOCUS is on “HUNGER FOR GOD.”
There are all kinds of reasons people fasted in the Bible. Things like personal crisis, national crisis, to pursue breakthrough or receive healing, but the ultimate goal of Christian fasting is always GOD! Always…
It’s to know God…
To refocus on God…
To make certain God is the center of our lives…
To understand God’s heart…
To re-align our hearts and lives with His purpose…
To be transformed by God so that we can used by Him to transform this world!
No wonder Bill Bright said, “Fasting transform us to transform the world.”
Archbishop Fulton Sheen once remarked that, “Fasting detaches you from this world. Prayer reattaches you to the next world.”
Someone else said it like this: “Fasting dethrones ‘king stomach’ — or ‘king’ pride, anger, lust, you name it — and it enthrones King Jesus in our lives.”
FASTING is one of the classical spiritual practices that can help us shift our priorities by eliminating distractions and helping us re-focus on what’s really important.
It helps us put GOD FIRST,
hear His voice,
know His heart,
receive His guidance,
pursue His plans,
receive blessing, and,
can even serve as a catalyst for spiritual growth.
Fasting isn’t about making demands on God and getting what you want. It’s about getting to a place where you’re ready for everything and anything God wants!
The primary purpose of fasting is the passionate pursuit of the HEART of GOD!
How desperate for God are you these days?
How hungry are you for God?
Richard Foster described it like this in his classic, Celebration of Discipline:
“Fasting reminds us that we are sustained ‘by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’ (Matt. 4:4). Food does not sustain us; God sustains us.” —Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline, p 55
In one of the best books I’ve read on fasting, John Piper described it like this:
“Christian fasting, at its root, is the hunger of a homesickness for God.”
—John Piper, A Hunger for God
And, Jentezen Franklin, who has written several incredible books on the subject and led a worldwide movement when it comes to prayer and fasting described it like this:
“Fasting is hungering for God. When you fast food, you help create a deeper hunger for God.” —Jentezen Franklin
So, I’ll ask the question again: How hungry for God are you?
The Bible is filled with promises for those who are hungry for more of God. For instance:
Jesus said, “You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.” —Matthew 5:6 MSG
The prophet Jeremiah gave this incredible word from God: “When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” —Jeremiah 29:13 MSG
What an incredible promise!
King David described His hunger and heart for God like this:
“I want God. I want to drink God, deep draughts of God. I’m thirsty for God-alive. I wonder, ‘Will I ever make it — arrive and drink in God’s presence?’”
—Psalm 42:1-2 MSG
Then in Psalm 63 David exploded:
“God—you’re my God! I can’t get enough of you! I’ve worked up such hunger and thirst for God, my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water.” —Psalm 63:1 MSG/NLT
Here’s what fasting is about: It’s about falling on your face before God and saying, “Oh God, I want you. I want you this much… I want you more than _____ (fill in the blank) with the meals or items you will temporarily set aside so that you can fully focus your heart, mind, energy and attention on God.”
Psalm 81:10 contains the promise of God for people who are hungry
“Open your mouth wise and I will fill it.” —Psalm 81:10
How hungry are you for God?
Join us for our first FIFTH FRIDAY at A2.Church beginning this Thursday evening, April 29 at sundown and culminating Friday evening, April 30 with a Night of Worship at A2 followed by an “After Party” featuring food from Taziki’s!
I’ll close this post by sharing three questions you can ask yourself as you prepare for this first FIFTH FRIDAY.
- Holy Spirit, what are you saying to me?
- Holy Spirit, how hungry am I for You, for the Father, for Jesus? Reveal to me the reality when it comes to my desire for You.
- Holy Spirit, what should my personal goal, focus and purpose be for this first FIFTH FRIDAY fast? What do you want me to believe you for as I pursue Your heart in prayer and fasting this first FIFTH FRIDAY?
Heavenly Father, today I set my heart on You.
I set my affections on You.
I set my focus on You.
You are the desire of my heart.