When to Fast?
When to Fast?
Fasting is something of a ‘hot topic’ today. Mainly because, some in the wider culture have used fasting as a form of weight control. I’m not interested in ‘weighing in’ on whether that is healthy, mainly due to the fact I do not have the credentials to do so. However, the popularity of fasting does provide an opportunity to think about it from a biblical perspective. Scripture speaks frequently of fasting as a spiritual discipline, especially given its connection to prayer (Neh. 1:4).
For example, the men of Jabesh-gilead fasted after they retrieved the bodies of Saul and his sons from the Philistines (1 Chron. 10:12). David repeatedly fasted. He did it after being confronted with his sin and the impending death of his son (2 Sam. 12:16-22). He fasted when malicious witnesses rose up against him (Ps. 35:13). Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah all fasted in the face of national sin (Daniel 9:3, Ezra 9:5, Neh. 9:1). Esther fasted, when doomed appeared certain for her people.
And of course, Jesus fasted (Mat. 4:2). In fact, Christ spoke about fasting on multiple occasions. He called us to refrain from fasting in an ostentatious way, but to do it humbly, and not for show (Mat. 6:16-18). We see also that fasting carried over into the early church. Twice, the book of Acts speaks about fasting (Acts 13:2-3, 14:23). But an important question to consider is, when do we fast. Here is a helpful article outlining seven occasions for fasting, with some qualifying comments about this spiritual discipline. May it stir us to fast with faith in Christ and faithfulness to God.