Daily Devotional for Thursday September 4, 2003
Fasting. Fasting has been one of the most misunderstood and misused practices in the Bible. The basic premise of fasting is giving up a normal daily activity, as a sacrifice, to spend that time in prayer and seeking the Lord. It is NOT supposed to be a physical endurance contest to see how long you can go without eating. It is an act of sacrifice. It can be as little as skipping one meal, or not eating for 24 hours, or even three days. Fasting does not always have to be food. You can "fast" by not watching television for a period of time, or giving up any number of others things that you may do during the day. There is no magic formula.
Let me warn you that fasting can be very dangerous to your health! Anytime you fast over 24 hours, you need to be very careful. ***I would strongly suggest that you contact your doctor to make sure you do it correctly.
The reason you fast is to sacrifice the nourishment to your body, and spend that time nourishing your soul. It is a way to focus solely on the Lord and to seek Him. Often fasting is done at times when there are major needs, and you need to really zero in spiritually on the Lord, seeking Him for answers. I routinely fast one day a month, but during major events or times of great need, I will fast for 72 hours and try to spend much of that time just in prayer. I keep living my normal life, but use the time I would normally be eating to spend time with God.
Fasting does not make you more spiritual than someone who does not fast. It is not a way to prove how spiritual you are. Again, it is a simple act of sacrifice to spend that time in prayer with the Lord. It allows you to hear God more clear. It is a time to really get serious about praying over a certain situation or circumstance. It is a sacrifice on your part to get closer to God.
I would suggest that if you never fasted before, start with one meal. Use the 20-40 minutes that you would normally be eating, go to a quiet place and just pray. Talk to God about those things in your life He needs to clean up. Talk to God about problems that only He can fix. One powerful way to use fasting is to fast and spend that time in prayer for someone else. Sacrifice that meal and spend the time praying for the needs of someone else. That is powerful!
I love you, care about you, and will always be here for you in your time of need. Never hesitate to contact me if I can help. Fasting is a great way to make a minor sacrifice in our daily life to get closer to the Lord. One day, all of those who have accepted Jesus will spend eternity with Him. Fasting is a small way that we can take a few moments during this life to enjoy that intimate closeness with our Lord.
In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ, Bill Keller