Prayer and Fasting Journey
September 30, 2019:
Matthew 6:16-18 (NIV)
16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,
18 so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Matthew 9:15 (NIV)
15 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.
If fasting is supposed to be a discipline for believers then why have I not heard anything about it in the churches I grew up This is a great question for anyone to ask. How should we go about finding an answer to this question?
As is always the case, we should have as our sole source of authority on this question to be the Scripture and not man’s opinion. We need to discover what the Bible says about fasting, not what we think.
In Jesus’ sermon on the mount, no one would conclude that we should no longer give to God’s kingdom, or that we should no longer pray. The commands about fasting are tucked into the very same passage that gives directions about how to pray and give. To say that fasting is not for today would be to draw the same conclusion about prayer and giving. Certainly, the Bible nowhere indicates that giving and prayer are only for days of the past.
Fasting has fallen out of style because it has something to do with the idea of sacrifice, going without something that we value. In our modern world, we are far too attached to the things of this world. Fasting is a discipline that helps realign our heart’s affections. When a person decides to give up certain things in order to pursue something else something begins to take place in their heart. I call it a realignment of affections.
Take a long look at how Jesus instructs us to go about this discipline of fasting. He tells us to put oil on your head and wash your face. Make it appear that you are having the time of your life while you go about your private discipline of fasting. Someone once said, “Sacrifice is the ecstasy of giving the best you have to the one you love the most.”
Jesus indicates to us in these words that when we obey our Father’s commands we discover our true source of joy. It may difficult but, if we persevere we find the true source of our contentment.
There are not many who have taken the challenge to pursue God in this discipline of fasting, but rest assured when you do you will be fasting along with countless thousands of others in the church all over the world.
May these days of preparation to the time of our fast be one of joy and gladness as we prepare to pursue the God who redeemed us.
Tomorrow we will consider how to prepare for a time of fasting. Until then may the peace of Christ dwell in your hearts by faith and my you find Him to be the true source of your everlasting joy,