Learn About/Subscribe:
Christian Union
Christian Union: The Magazine
February 23, 2017
It’s not too late to join in the 40-day-fast now underway, from February 13 to March 24. The concept of fasting has been somewhat lost on our modern culture, especially here in America, where we experience so much bounty. However, it is a practice which warrants being re-introduced into our lives and the lives of those around us.

The biblical practice of fasting originated in the Old Testament, continued throughout the New Testament, and has been the practice of believers ever since. In Scripture, many great leaders and prophets incorporated fasting into their lives to humble themselves before God, repenting and mourning over sin as they sought Him. In Psalm 35:13, King David makes specific mention of this practice: “Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting.”

Also found in the Old Testament, 2 Chronicles 7:14 further highlights the beauty of fasting: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

In the New Testament, we find the ultimate example of fasting: Jesus’ 40 days in the desert, where He fasted from all food and prayed for 40 days and 40 nights. Least we think this is something only Jesus can do, we find Jesus put fasting on the same level as praying and financial giving in Matthew 6:1-24. 

The common thread we see in all these examples is how meaningful an extended fast is to God. Through this self-denial, we open the door to allow God to move in extraordinary ways in our personal lives, and in the world. Ultimately, the process is intended to exalt God, drawing closer to Him in our humblest state. Considering the state of our modern culture and all the unrest in the world, we are very much in need of God, perhaps more than ever.

However, many of us may well be confused as to what a fast entails. In biblical terms, fasting means to abstain from food. Scriptural examples provide a variety of lengths to fast: Moses fasted for 40 days, whereas Nehemiah fasted for 120 days. Perhaps you sense God calling you to forgo one or two meals for the remainder of the fast (which concludes March 24). Or, it could be you will skip meals for one day a week; or, perhaps, for two or three days. Taking into account your health, and listening to the Spirit, assess what level God is calling you to participate.

Please join in the challenging but enriching time of fasting and seeking God with all your heart. Those who have signed up will receive daily encouragement emails during the fast. If you are new to fasting, please read through the resources provided on fasting to learn more, and gain insight into what you may experience. May the Lord be exalted as His children humble themselves and invite Him to draw near.