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The Skinny on Fasting Devotional

Read This: "'When you call out to me and come to me in prayer, I will hear your prayers. When you seek me in prayer and worship, you will find me available to you. If you seek me with all your heart and soul, I will make myself available to you,' says the Lord." (Jeremiah 29:13-14a).

Think: Mention fasting and you get some interesting responses. For some, fasting is a precious, sacred act of worship—something they actually look forward to because it brings them that much closer to God. For others, it’s an intimidating and confusing topic. What is fasting? Why would God want us to starve ourselves? It can seem like an odd, ritualistic tradition that’s hard to place in today’s casual approach to a relationship with God. Whether or not we are comfortable talking about fasting, it’s an important part of our spirituality.

Do a search for fasting in the Bible and you might be surprised by how many times it comes up—not just in the Old Testament, but in the New Testament as well. King David fasted and prayed for his son to be healed. Esther, together with all the other Jews, fasted for their lives after a decree was issued ordering them all to be hung. Many, many prophets fasted and prayed. Even Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights before he began his ministry. The early church fasted and prayed as they anointed leaders and sent them off to preach the gospel. Many times God’s people fasted for a specific prayer request or wisdom in a particular situation. On other occasions it was a time to focus on listening to God.

By denying ourselves of our needs and wants, we quiet the chaos around us and leave room for God to move. In truth, God sacrificed so much more for our relationship than we ever could. The Father gave up his one and only, perfect Son and ultimately allowed him to take the punishment for sins of the entire world. Jesus Christ, the Son, was beaten and crucified and cut off from the Father so that we would never have to be. What we give up in honor of God is a small acknowledgement of what he willingly gave up for us.

We may choose to give up food, TV, music, or something else that eats away at our time and energy. Whatever it is, remember fasting isn’t about following rules or a ritual; it’s about putting earthly things (yes, even hunger pains) aside to grow closer to God through prayer and listening.

Ask: What is your attitude towards fasting? What are some things that would be most difficult for you to give up? Feel free to share your responses in the comments below.

Pray: Prayerfully consider fasting on a regular basis if you don’t already. Boldly ask him to move in your heart as you seek to grow in your relationship with him.