Friday, August 20, 2010

Fasting a 20 Day Study

The Passionate Participation in God Project will be hosting a 20 day Study on fasting starting Sunday August 22.
Here is the link if you would like this 20 Day Study emailed to you daily.
You may also find book reviews on Fasting Books at

The voluntary abstention from an otherwise normal function—most often eating—for the sake of intense spiritual activity.

Fasting was an integral part of the lives of the people we read about in the Bible. They fasted during times of mourning, in repentance, or to seek blessing, answers, or guidance. Everyone fasted together on the Day of Atonement. A normal fast during biblical times involved abstention from all food and liquid except for water, but during extreme circumstances even water was declined (see Esther 4:16).

Jesus undertook an extreme fast of forty days and forty nights when He experienced the temptation in the desert. He also speaks of fasting as a normal part of life for His followers (Matt 6:16-18). Later, in response to a question about why His followers do not fast, He answers that wedding guests do not fast while the bridegroom is with them, but that “the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast” (Matt 9:15). From these words it seems clear that Jesus expected His followers to practice the discipline of fasting.

So why is fasting less common today? Probably the main reason is that we rarely deny ourselves anything, whether food or drink or material goods or entertainment. Fasting forces us to take attention from our desires in order to focus on God. Jesus tells His disciples that His food is to “do the will of Him who sent Me and to complete His work” (John 4:34). Fasting can be a humbling experience, as we see just how controlled we are by our appetites. But it also teaches us that what sustains us is not the food we eat or the pleasures we feel, but God alone.

Yet even now, says the Lord, / return to me with all your heart, / with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.—Joel 2:12
Day 226 Spiritual Practice: Humbling Our Souls Through Fasting
Day 227 Not by Bread Alone
Day 228 David Fasts and Pleads with God
Day 229 A Communal Fast
Day 230 Ahab Fasts and Humbles Himself
Day 231 Sanctify a Fast
Day 232 Fasting for Victory
Day 233 I Afflicted Myself with Fasting
Day 234 Joyful Fasting
Day 235 Rejecting the Royal Rations
Day 236 Spiritual Practice: Fasting from Food
Day 237 Ezra Proclaims a Fast
Day 238 Right Reverence
Day 239 Was It for Me That You Fasted?
Day 240 Fasting in Solidarity
Day 241 Fasting After Saul’s Death
Day 242 The People Assemble with Fasting
Day 243 Return to Me
Day 244 Fasting for the Church
Day 245 They Fasted That Day

The Material above is from the book, ‘A Year With God,’ Edited by Richard Foster

1 comment:

Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience said...

This struck me:

"So why is fasting less common today? Probably the main reason is that we rarely deny ourselves anything, whether food or drink or material goods or entertainment."

Am I always about instant-gratification? Do I deny myself anything?

Thank you --- this was very powerful...

All's grace,
Ann Voskamp
Contributing Editor, High Calling Blogs