Read Matthew 6:16-18
Why are you fasting? This needs to be a question that you have the answer to. I am fasting because ____________. What’s your why? In Matthew 6 the Pharisees fasted because they wanted everyone to see how super spiritual they were.
The Old Testament required all Jewish people to fast one day, once a year on the Day of Atonement. But the Pharisees thought if one day, once a year, was good then doing it twice a week would be better. What they believed set them apart from the average person, set them apart from God.
So let me ask again, why are you fasting?
I need a better job! A permanent job? My marriage needs help. My family is falling apart. My health is failing. My children/grandchildren are away from God. I want to be closer to God.
The “why” is important for a couple reasons.
#1 It provides focus.
Fasting without prayer is dieting. When you pair prayer with fasting what is impossible with man, becomes possible with God! Make a list and take it to prayer each day!
#2 It provides motivation.
When the fight between your will and king stomach begins. Every time you crave something that you’re sacrificing, pray. This will help take your mind off your sacrifice and put it on the reason for your sacrifice.
When you don’t have a why identified, pain becomes the focus of the fast. Fasting becomes a competition on who can suffer the best. It’s a contest between who has made the biggest sacrifice. This leads to comparing and critiquing how others are fasting.
That’s what Pharisees do. Don’t be a Pharisee. God alone is the judge over whether or not someone is taking their fast serious. Leave it to Him. Don’t focus on the food. Focus on the why and watch God do the impossible.
As you start your journey, I encourage you to journal. As you spend time in prayer be silent before God and listen. Prayer is not a book to be read, but a two-way conversation.
Let God speak to you. As you fast, you heighten your ability to hear God. Take God’s lead in prayer and allow Him to change you, the prayer, as you pray!