Christian fasting -- why not do it today?

Fasting is a discipline that has been around since Old Testament times, was practiced by Jesus and his followers, was recommended by Jesus, and has a long history in the Christian church. It is a "stock" Christian practice for Christians in Africa, Asia, South America, and the Middle East. However, most American Christians do not practice fasting. Who's pattern should we follow? Even though it's uncomfortable, I want to follow the Jesus pattern. Therefore, I have asked the Sanctuary community to fast one day a week, especially while we are in this period of discerning God's unique calling on our church.

What is Christian fasting? Author Lynne Baab defines it this way: “Christian fasting is the voluntary denial of something for a specific time, for a spiritual purpose, by an individual, family, community or nation” (Fasting, p. 16). 

If you don't know which day to fast, Thursday is a good day (Sanctuary instituted Global Thursdays). If you wonder how long to fast, why not do a Haitian-style fast and go from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM without food or something you normally eat (for instance, you could fast from sugar or just eat oatmeal and drink water or... be creative!). Slow down. Spend extra time committing yourself to God and praying. That's a great way to practice a Christian fast!

Commenting on American Christians and fasting, Baab writes, “We can continue to numb ourselves with a fast-paced life and endless indulgences. Or we can embrace the challenge of creating space that might feel uncomfortable at times but will deepen our capacity for rich joy and powerful prayer. Fasting brings us that challenge” (Baab: 49).

Why not do it today?


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