Fasting is a powerful practice that can help in developing your faith. Unfortunately, this effective and important practice is often overlooked today. In this article, we will discuss how fasting can make our faith stronger. We will also quickly go through the different forms of fasting that we can use.
The Biblical Foundation of Fasting
“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. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 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.” – Matthew 6:16-18 (NIV)
That’s just one of the references to fasting that we can find in the Bible. Jesus is giving instructions on how to fast properly. It is a spiritual practice, something that is done to bring one closer to God.
Jesus Himself fasted for 40 days and nights while staying in the wilderness right before He started His ministry. We are certain that fasting has Biblical foundations and it is not just something that was made up in recent times.
Why Should You Fast?
We now know that fasting is a spiritual practice but why should you do it? What are the benefits of fasting to your spiritual life?
Here are some of the benefits of fasting when it comes to your spiritual development.
Fasting Enhances Your Discipline
The most important benefit of fasting is that it can make you more disciplined. The idea of excess, whether it pertains to eating or anything else, is that it’s bad for your self-development. Indulging in food will never be good for your self-discipline because it means you cannot control yourself.
By fasting, you will learn how to control your appetites and focus on spiritual matters without being distracted by worldly matters. That same self-discipline can be applied to other things in life as well.
Fasting Makes You More Humble
Fasting can show us about our inner desires and make us realize how dependent we are on God. Through fasting, we realize that things are not up to us and that we are powerless. If it were not for God we would quickly succumb to our body’s craving for food and otherworldly pleasures.
As we realize our weakness and our powerlessness, we learn to become more humble in the presence of God.
It Becomes a Catalyst for Spiritual Renewal
Fasting can help us to lead spirit-filled lives. When we feel that our spiritual zeal is waning, one of the things that we can do is to fast and pray. That will allow us to focus on what is important in life.
As mentioned earlier, fasting helps us realize how dependent we are on God’s power, and it will make us more eager to do God’s will.
Helps Us to Pray More Intensely
When Jesus went into the wilderness for 40 days, what else did He do? He prayed and that is something that we should all aspire to do at all times. Fasting is a tool to make our prayers more intense.
Fasting is often accompanied by intense praying and it will help boost the spiritual effects of all activities. It also helps us to focus more on specific things that we need.
Those are just some of the benefits that we can get from fasting.
The Different Forms of Fasting
While we know the benefits of fasting, we really cannot reap those benefits if we do not do it properly. There are different forms of fasting that we can do.
The four different forms of fasting that we can do are:
- Absolute Fast
- Partial Fast
- Daniel Fast
- Intermittent Fast
Absolute Fast is generally considered to be the most difficult form of fasting because it involves completely abstaining from eating and drinking for a specific period. Partial Fast is about refraining from eating certain foods while still maintaining a balanced diet. Named after the prophet, Daniel Fasting involves focusing on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Intermittent Fasting is done by refraining from eating through a pattern like specific hours or days of the week.
Fasting is a tool that we can use to strengthen our spirituality and our faith in God. We have seen the list of benefits that we can get from fasting. It is a powerful spiritual tool that even Christ used. What we need to do is practice it properly to get its full effect.