I must admit that when I first became a Christian, the practice of fasting was in my mind a discipline reserved for the super elite believers who shaved their heads and prayed for twenty-four hours a day continually. However, my mind was changed as I read Christ words in the ninth chapter of Matthew's Gospel:
Jesus replied, “Do wedding guests mourn while celebrating with the groom? Of course not.
But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.”
Suddenly I realized that Jesus not only demonstrated fasting through His own example but that he also expected His disciples to fast.
As a church family, we observe an annual fast called the Daniel Fast. The fast is taken from the tenth chapter of the book of Daniel, where the prophet fasted for three weeks to mourn for the people of God, and on the twenty-fourth day, he receives a vision from God. During this fast, you won't necessarily have a crazy experience or see a vision like Daniel, but the hope is that you will be drawn closer to God, and more intentional in your relationship with both God and others. While our church website offers all of the practical information that you might need concerning the fast (what to eat, tips, other help), I wanted to take the time to answer some other questions you might have about fasting as we enter this season together.
WHAT EXACTLY IS FASTING:
Christian fasting is when a believer voluntary abstains from food for a spiritual purpose. There are other forms of fasting and Christians have been knowing to abstain from other things that they enjoy like television, social media, video games, and internet usage. But whenever the Bible mentions fasting, it is always in the context of food abstinence. The Bible talks a lot about fasting, seventy-five times to be exact! And there are many different types of fast mentioned in the Bible. The Daniel Fast can be described as a PARTIAL- CONGREGATIONAL Fast.
Partial - a partial fast is when believers limit their diet allowing them to eat but only certain foods. On a very basic level, the Daniel Fast limits the diet to foods that are simple, unprocessed fruits, grains, nuts, and vegetables. The fast also allows for water, natural teas, and all natural fruit juice. The limited diet will allow us to fast for a longer period of time without the risk of serious health problems. In the Bible, we see examples of partial fast from the prophet Daniel, and John the Baptist in the New Testament.
Congregational - a congregational fast is when the whole assembly of God joins together in fasting. In the Bible we see examples of this occur for various reasons, but our purpose for fasting as a church during this season is to unify our congregation, and seek the Lord's guidance and direction together because life is better together. In the Bible, we see examples of this kind of fast in the book of Joel 2:15-16, and in Acts 13:2.
- Tanner Williams