What is Fasting?

By Gary Rohrmayer

Fasting is deliberately abstaining from the normal routines of life for the purposes of spending focus time in prayer and the study of God's word as we seek to align our lives with God’s purposes.

You can abstain from food, entertainment, hobbies, internet or media for the purpose of spending that time in prayer and the study of God’s word. In this we begin to understand that fasting is more about replacing than it is about abstaining.  We can pray without fasting but we cannot fast with our praying.  Fasting without praying does us no spiritual good and turns this beautiful spiritual discipline into an empty ritual.

Instead of eating a meal, you take your meal time and give it to God, through extended prayer and feeding on His Word.  Instead of watching your favorite television program, you take that time and offer it to God as a time of reflecting on your relationship with Him and your spiritual progress as a disciple.  Instead of listening to sports radio on your normal commute to take that time and listen to the word of God being read and allow God’s word to wash over your soul.

Noted theologian J.I. Packer said this about fasting in a brief interview, “We tend to think of fasting as going without food. But we can fast from anything. If we love music and decide to miss a concert in order to spend time with God,that is fasting. It is helpful to think of the parallel of human friendship. When friends need to be together, they will cancel all other activities in order to make that possible. There's nothing magical about fasting. It's just one way of telling God that your priority at that moment is to be alone with him, sorting out whatever is necessary, and you have cancelled the meal, party, concert, or whatever else you had planned to do in order to fulfill that priority.” HT

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