Hands-on Faith for Families
Week of 8/26/13

The Spiritual Discipline of Fasting

Matthew 6:17-18

But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men 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.

Talking to God

Thank God for providing for your needs every day. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you be more aware of God's generosity.

Diving In

Write the following categories on separate slips of paper: after-school activity, toy or electronic gadget, snack, drink, TV show. Place the folded slips in a bowl. Take turns pulling a slip from the bowl, each person reading the category and then naming one favorite thing in that category. Discuss how easy or difficult it would be to give up each thing for a while.

Going Deeper

Fasting means giving up something you enjoy or need for a designated period of time. In the Old Testament, fasting was common for entire nations who were seeking God's help or direction (2 Chronicles 20:3, Jonah 3:5). In the New Testament, Jesus fasted (Matthew 4:2) and taught His disciples about fasting (Matthew 6:17-18). (Fasting is not always a good idea for children or pregnant women. They can consider giving up something else that they really want or like.) Fasting should be a normal part of our lives; it allows you to focus your time and attention on God. When combined with prayer and time in God's Word, fasting strengthens your faith and helps you become more confident of God's power.

Talking to Each Other

- What are some of the benefits of fasting?

- How does fasting bring you closer to God?

- What is one thing you enjoy that you can give up for a day?

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From Focus on the Family's ThrivingFamily.com. © [2011] [Renee Gray-Wilburn]. Used by permission.