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Section 1  - Love God Study #3b  - Fasting

The Objectives :The main objective of this study is to give you a basic understanding of fasting, including why, when, and how to fast.

In brief, fasting is something that people do when they are drawing close to God, seeking out his will and depending on him. Like Jesus in the desert, fasting is another way we learn to depend on God.

The Scriptures: Matthew 9:14-15

Jesus expected that after he departed, his disciples would dedicate themselves to the spiritual act of fasting.

The Bible teaches us that there are many reasons we should fast:

  • Repentance
    • David fasted after sinning with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 12:15-16, 22)
    • Nineveh fasted as a whole nation for Godís mercy (Jonah 3:5-8, 10)
    • Paul fasted after being confronted by Jesus (Acts 9:9)
  • To draw near to God
    • Moses fasted for 40 days (Exodus 34:27-28)
    • Used in conjunction with worship (Luke 2:36-37, Acts 13:1-3)
  • For Godís deliverance
    • Daniel prayed for God to deliver Israel from slavery (Daniel 9:3)
  • To seek Godís will in appointing and guiding leadership (Acts 14:23)
  • For other people
    • David fasted for sick friends (Psalm 35:13)
    • God called his people through the prophet of Isaiah to not be self-centered in their worship, prayers, and fasting (Isaiah 58:6-8)
      • In the days of Isaiah, when the nation of Israel fasted, they were fasting for their own personal deliverance, but they were not concerned for other people around them that were starving, naked, and homeless. God wanted them to have a heart, to fast about other people's spiritual needs as well as their own, and to bring forth good works of helping the needy. God is telling us that fasting brings us closer to God's will, and His will is to have humility, love, and concern for others. This is the most important principle of fasting, to draw closer to God and to seek His righteousness and His will in our lives.

  • Fasting should be done in humility and secrecy (Matthew 6:16-18)
  • Fasting should be accompanied by prayer and Bible study. (Nehemiah 1:4; Nehemiah 9:1-3; Joel 2:12; Acts 13:1-3)
  • Fasting can be partial (abstaining from only specific things) or absolute (no food or water at all).
    • Absolute fast (Ezra 10:6; Esther 4:16)
    • Partial fast (Daniel 10:3)
  • Fasting can be done corporately (group) or individually (personal).
    • Corporate Ė 1 Samuel 7:5-7; Ezra 8:21-23; Acts 13:1-3
    • Personal Ė Daniel 9:3; Psalm 35:13

Fasting should be a regular part of a Christianís life. Fasting helps us draw near to God, depend on Him, and be strengthened and empowered by Him. Those who had a great relationship with God in the Bible (Moses, Elijah,

The Spiritual Exercise: Before beginning a fast, please consult a doctor if you have any relevant health issues and remember that God desires us to be good stewards of our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Decide to fast (to be closer to God, for a friend, for repentance, etc.). Pick a day and the type of fast that you will dedicate yourself too. Keep the fast between yourself and God.