*Fasting is a Christian’s voluntary abstinence from food and other legitimate enjoyments such as, TV, internet browsing, recreation, entertainment among others for Spiritual purposes. Prayer is communication with God. Tom Ascol in his Article presents comments made by other Christians on Prayer and Fasting:-
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
“Whenever men are to pray to God concerning any great matter, it would be expedient to appoint fasting along with prayer.”
Fasting helps the believer to concentrate the mind and body on spiritual concerns so that fervent, extra-ordinary prayer might be given to those concerns.
Various kinds of fasts mentioned in the Bible:
A Normal Fast involves abstaining from all food, but not from water. (Matthew 4:2
A Partial Fast is a limitation of the diet but not abstention from all food. (Daniel 1:12; Matthew 3:4)
An Absolute Fast is the avoidance of all food & liquid, even water. (Ezra 10:6; Esther 4:16; Acts 9:9).
A Supernatural Fast which require God’s divine direction and prompting. It may have not been planned earlier(Deuteronomy 9:9; 1 Kings 19:8)
A Private Fast is the one referred to most often by Jesus, and should be done without calling attention to oneself. (Matthew 6:16-18)
Congregational Fast involve the church participating together. (Joel 2:15-16; Acts 13:2)
A National Fast is a call to the nation to fast. (2 Chronicles 20:3; Nehemiah 9:1; Jonah 3:5- Regular Fast-Under the Old Covenant, it is done frequently (Leviticus 16:29-31)
Occasional Fasts – occur on special occasions as the need arises. (Matthew 9:15)
Purposes/Reasons for Fasting:
-To Strengthen Prayer Life (Ezra 8:3)
-To Seek God’s Guidance over sin and righteousness (Judges 20-v. 26; Acts 14:23)
-To Express Grief (1 Samuel 31:13; 2 Samuel 1:11-12; 1 John. 1:9; 1 Samuel 20:34)
-To Seek Divine Deliverance/Protection (2 Chron. 20:3-4; Ezra 8:21-23; Esther 4:16)
-To Express Repentance and a Return to God (1 Samuel 7:6; Joel 2:12; Jonah 3:5)
-To Humble Oneself before God (Ps. 35:13)
-To Express Concern for the Word of God (Nehemiah 1:3-4; Daniel 9:3)
-To Overcome Temptation and Dedicate Oneself to God (Matthew 4:1-2)
-To Express Love and Devotion to God (Luke 2: 37; Zechariah 7:5)
Fasting is a spiritual discipline that most people in society do not take seriously. However it is a biblical practice that can help us focus and intensify our communication and union with God and fellow believers. Fasting should help us to truly repent our sins and humble ourselves as a congregation before God.It causes revival and restoration of God’s powerful presence among families, individuals, the church and the Nation.
May God bless you in this 40 days; Prayer and fasting season.
The Very Rev. Canon Dr. Rebecca Nyegenye,
Provost, All Saints’ Cathedral, Kampala.