Why Fasting Increases Spiritual Alertness:
If we eat, an increased amount of blood is needed for our digestive processes; if we exercise, a greater amount of blood is used in building up our muscles; but if we neither eat nor exercise, a greater amount of blood is available for mental and spiritual concentration.
In the course of study and prayer, key verses stand out and should be put in your journal and committed to memory.
During this time of fasting you will sometimes become weary. You will discover that your mind is clearer after a short nap so that your time with the Lord is even more meaningful.
Basic Purposes for Fasting:
Definition: Fasting, “Nesteuo”
To fast: to abstain from eating; is used of voluntary fasting. Fasting was an established practice in Christ’s day (Matthew 9:14-15; Mark 2: 18-20; Luke 5:33-35) and was practiced in the early church. It is important to remember that it is to be voluntary activity and not a forced activity.
In an extended fast of over three days, one quickly experiences a great decrease in sensual desires and is more alert to spiritual things. In addition to this, the following are further purposes of fasting listed in Scripture.
Fasting to gain spiritual alertness to overcome temptation:
Jesus Christ was led to fast for forty days. – Matthew 4:2
Fasting to seek God’s will in a specific matter:
The Israelites fasted to determine direction in battle. – Judges 20:26
Paul and Barnabus prayed with fasting before choosing elders. – Acts 14:23
Fasting in repentance for sin:
The Israelites fasted and repented and put away false gods. – I Samuel 7:6
David fasted and repented of his sin. – II Samuel 12:16 21:23
Ahab fasted and repented after causing Naboth’s death. – I Kings 21: 27
Hearing God’s Word, Israel fasted, confessing their sins. – Nehemiah 9:1-3
Daniel fasted and repented for himself and the people for not having walked in the laws of the Lord. – God’s chastisement was to come. – Daniel 9:3
Joel called for a fast because of the Lord’s chastening. – Joel 1:14; 2:12,15
The people of Ninevah repented in fasting. – Jonah 3:5
Fasting for concern for the work of God:
Nehemiah fasted over the condition of Jerusalem. – Nehemiah 1:4
Note from Chris White:
Over the last thirty years, every time I have had to make a major life and career move, I have fasted. One time I fasted for 6 days. The Lord has always provided more clarity to me in my decision process as a result. I encourage you to practice this spiritual discipline. “When you fast…” ~ Matthew 6:16
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