Bonus Spiritual Discipline #6: Fasting
And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you (Matthew 6:16-18).
In the New Testament, God does not command us to fast, though it seems that Jesus assumed we would – “And WHEN you fast…”
It certainly takes discipline to fast. The NT doesn’t give clear directions on how to fast or how long to fast. Because we are not commanded to fast, no one should feel like they HAVE to. But it seems to be a powerful way to pray. When facing a significant need or problem, or a family member or friend is suffering, we may want to fast.
It may be as simple as skipping a meal or 2 for a day or several days. Or fasting one day a week till supper time. A woman in our church has fasted every Wednesday for her family for decades.
In fact, starting small may be the best way to start. The lie of the enemy is “God isn’t going to do anything for you skipping breakfast.” We have no idea how powerful fasting is, or what happens in the spiritual realm when we skip breakfast to pray for someone.
Remember, God gives us these “spiritual disciplines” for our joy and gladness in him. Start small. Build habits.
Mark Altrogge has been senior pastor of Saving Grace Church of Indiana, Pennsylvania, since 1982. He has written hundreds of songs for worship, including “I Stand in Awe” and “I’m Forever Grateful.” Mark and his wife, Kristi, have five children and five grandchildren.
Find out more on his blog, The Blazing Center.
This article originally appeared on TheBlazingCenter.com. Used with permission.
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