Fasting Study

This study is not my own. Please see the end of the document for proper credit. Thank you to my friend Evonne for forwarding this to me.

Spiritual Disciplines

Inward Disciplines: Fasting

Nahum
Daily Assignments: This week we will be not only embarking on an actual fast, (as apposed to the fake kind-why do I say these things?), but we will be doing some great reflecting on fasting itself.

Day 1: The attitude of fasting. Look up these verses on the attitude of fasting: Matthew 6:16-18, and scan Isaiah 58 for God’s response to the Israelites fasting. Spend 15 minutes in meditation and prayer on fasting itself and ask God to give you the right attitude when you fast.

Day 2: The motive and purpose to fast. “Fasting must forever center on God. It must be God-initiated and God-ordained. Like the prophetess Anna, we need to be worshiping with fasting, (Luke 2:37)”. Also look up: Zech 7:5, Esther 4:3, Daniel 9:3, and Acts 14:23. Spend 15 minutes asking God whether you should fast for a particular reason or if your upcoming fast tomorrow will be just a practice in making him your satisfaction.

Day 3: The practice of fasting. Today your challenge is to begin fasting at lunch and follow until the next day where you may break fast to eat lunch. It will be imperative that you use the time you would be eating in prayer. If you are not fasting for a specific purpose, (i.e.: breakthrough in a country, decisions about the summer…) then use this week’s passage as a guide to pray along with Habakkuk. “It should go without saying that you should follow Jesus’ council to refrain from calling attention to what you are doing.”

Day 4: The revelation of fasting. If it is true that fasting unearths that which controls us, take time today to reflect upon what happened in the last 24 hours. What were you relying on so much, what ungodly attitudes surfaced, and what words of God did you feast on instead of food?

Day 5: Piper says that Jesus response to Satan when he is fasting “comes from the context of Deuteronomy 8:3 where Jesus gets this word in Matthew 4:4,[God] fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord. He gave them manna—an utterly un-heard-of food falling from heaven—Why? “So that” they would learn to live on everything that comes from the mouth of God. “Spend time today praying against that which controls you and meditate on scriptural food that satisfies.

Day 6: Use today to plan your next fast and pray for the success of it.

Taken from Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster

In Scripture the normal means of fasting involves abstaining from all food, solid or liquid, but not from water. There are also several examples in Scripture of what has been called an “absolute fast”, or abstaining from both food and water.

In most cases fasting is a private matter between the individual and God. There are, however occasional times of corporate or public fasts.

There are simply no biblical laws that command regular fasting. Although the words are so couched in the form of a command, that is only a semantic technicality. It is clear from this passage that Christ both upheld the Discipline of fasting and anticipated that his followers would do it.

More than anything fasting reveals the things that control us. Fasting is feasting! John 4:32, 34, “I have food to eat of which you do not know…My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work.”

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