Matthew 6:16-18 reads, “16 When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
When Jesus was saying this, he was instructing the disciples regarding prayer in fasting. In the verses just before these we find what we refer to as, “The Lord’s Prayer”. Jesus was teaching his disciples some basic tenets and practices that we would be following.
When Jesus talks about fasting he says, “When you pray…”. He did not say if you fast but when. The assumption is always that as Christians, we will fast. Prayer and fasting go hand in hand. The amount of time spent fasting and the frequency may vary from person to person but the basic principle remains. Fasting is a discipline practiced by Christians. Fasting is an opportunity to willingly deny oneself something in the physical and use that sacrifice to spend time focused on the Lord in a way that is much more intentional.
If you have never fasted before, the idea of giving up food for any period of time can be daunting. However, fasting simply says to the Lord that you are willing to be uncomfortable and take steps to focus on Him. If you are interested in fasting, pray, ask the Lord what to do and He will help you. Fasting should be a part of every Christian’s life. Take this opportunity to pray and fast for yourself, your family, your state and your country. God will honor your sacrifice and help you to continue to grow in Him. He will do this when you fast.
Lord, please give us the grace to deny ourselves through fasting. We willingly turn our focus toward you and pray that you would invade our lives. In Jesus’ name. Amen.