...When ye fast, be not as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance, for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily, I say unto you, they have their reward.
Some may wonder why am I discussing fasting; well, we have discussed a litany of topics, but to my remembrance never fasting its discipline or the abstention from food for spiritual purposes. Some fast to lose weight. Some fast during a set aside prayer time, and then there are those who fast regularly. That said, fast is often linked together with prayer, but it is a spiritual discipline in and of itself and is considered a continuous prayer without words.
There are the three main forms of fast and they are:
a. The normal fast, which is abstaining from food, solid or liquid except water.
b. The absolute fast, which is abstaining from food and water (Esther 4:16; Acts 9:9). It is recommended that this fast should not be undertaken for more than three days. This is because the kidneys will began to shut down and the body become dehydrated. The Bible records Moses and Elijah undertook this fast but with supernatural conditions (Exodus 34:28; Deuteronomy 9:9,18; 1 Kings 19:8). Christ Himself fasted 40 days in the wilderness where He was tempted by Satan, but was able to withstand Satan's temptations. Christ also taught that fasting should be part of Christians' devotion and in preparation for His return. The church in acts practiced fasting (Acts 13:2-3; 14:23, 27:33).
c. The partial fast is centered more on diets than a complete abstention from food (Daniel 10:3).
Let's look at some purposes for fasting and determine if your and my reason (s) for fasting is among them and they are: (a) We fast to honor God. (b) to humble ourselves before Him, (c) to experience more of God's grace and His presence, (d) to mourn over personal sin and failure as well as sins in the church and the world, (e) to seek God's grace for a new task or to reaffirm one's consecration to God, (f) to draw closer to God while persisting in prayer against the contrasting forces in this world, (g) to show repentance and avoid God impending judgment, (h) to save people from the bondage of sin and evil as we make intercessory prayer, (i) to gain insight to God's wisdom, and receive an outpouring of His Spirit upon you (above is quoted and paraphrase from KJV Commentary).
For me my prayer and fast align with all of the above and I feel better after each fast, which is once a week.
Fasting is Biblically sound, was practiced and encouraged by Christ Himself and the NT church in Acts as well as many churches today.
Comments are welcome