A few years ago, one of our Covenant Members participated in a church-wide fast for the first time in his life. His experience was powerful and life-transforming. Below is an email that he sent to the elders of the church (shared with permission). Our hope in sharing this is that those of you who are nervous or apprehensive about fasting would be encouraged to participate in this important spiritual discipline.
Above all things, pray. Talk to your father who loves you. Pray about your fast, pray about your plan, and pray when you’re hungry. Pray about your motives and be honest, pray about your limitations, and remember that God won’t be impressed if your fast is more difficult. He’s already fully pleased with you because of Jesus, so fast in whichever way you choose and praise God that you don’t have to earn his favor through misery! For all these reasons, we can rejoice as we fast.
Fasting is an awesome gift. And like all gifts, it can be misconstrued, misused, and abused. We run the risk of ending up bitterly disappointed, not to mention very, very hungry. Now that we know what fasting is and why we fast, let’s consider what fasting is not and why we so often fail to practice this spiritual discipline.
As we enter 2016, we mark the beginning of our second year together as Sound City Bible Church. We’ve all worked hard to re-launch this church in way that would be honoring to God, and in his grace to us, we’ve had a lot of gospel wins to celebrate together in our first year as a church family. God has been good to us, and in 2015 he has used the people of Sound City mightily to glorify himself. Go has healed us, grown us, challenged us, and encouraged us.
“Teach us to pray.” This simple request from Jesus’ disciples is also one of their most profound. Prayer is absolutely fundamental to the life of a Christian. As the puritan preacher J.C. Ryle said, “Just as the first sign of the life of an infant when born into the world is the act of breathing, so the first act of men and women when they are born again is praying.”