I did my very first fast when I was in my early 30’s. I have been fasting as a regular rhythm of life for the past two decades. In Matthew 6, Jesus is giving instructions on living a life devoted to Him. He says to them, “When you give…When you fast….When you pray….”. Jesus is saying that giving, praying and fasting are to be part of the regular rhythm of your life.
Fasting is called for in scripture during troubling times: Esther and the people of Israelis a clear example of a national fast to seek God’s protection. During normal times, Jesus invites us into a regular fast that is personal and private.
“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, 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 others 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.”
Normal time fasting brings us into a deeper, more intimate and powerful relationship with the Lord. Hunger is one of the greatest drives in our lives. When your stomach is grumbling, it is a reminder that you are giving up something important for something greater: time and attention to the Lord.
You can develop a regular rhythm of fasting by setting aside a once a week or once a month fast. Choose a day that offers un-rushed time of meeting with God during your fast. Mealtimes can be spent in the word, prayer and worship. You will be impressed by the things that the Holy Spirit speaks, reveals, and instills in your life during your normal time fasting.