“Fasting is the natural, inevitable response of a person to a grievous sacred moment in life.” Scott McKnight, Fasting[i]
McKnight’s definition of fasting correlates with the commands and narratives in the Old Testament and New Testament about fasts. Appointed fasts were one of the ways the people of God remembered and responded in repentance to their sins and God’s mercy. Fasting was the response of men like Nehemiah and Daniel and women like Esther to a dreadful situation. To eat during the appointed fast or when one received dire news was not natural or reverent.
In the United States we take abundance for granted and it is counter cultural to deny ourselves pleasure, especially comfort foods. Come to think of it Jesus’ call “take up your cross and follow me” is a truly counter cultural experience.
Fasting while I pray to God for revival personally, for the church and the nation we love, or respond in prayer about a family crisis, the doctor’s call I was hoping wouldn’t come, or job loss only strengthens my prayer.
Perhaps you think that going without food would weaken your prayer. When the motives for fasting are ministry unto the Lord and not manipulation amazingly your faith increases for prayer. You understand just how little food you really need. God also amazes us by intervening powerfully or our behalf. However notice the important difference whether God intervenes or not fasting is the only reasonable response to “a grievous sacred moment in life.”
This is the now the fourth day of our fast, press on! Make time for worship and prayer. I would love to hear from you about what you are discovering or experiencing during our twenty-one day fast. Thanks.
Peace and Joy!
[i] Fasting, Scott McKnight, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2009