Other appointed Special Fasts are also practiced by all Churches today similar tothe fasting in Nineveh under Jonah (Jona 3:5-10) and in Israel under Ezra andNehemiah (Ezr 8:21; Neh 9:1-2).Participation in Christian Public Fasting should be done as privately as possiblewithout ostentatious show-off though it cannot really be done secretly.
CHRISTIAN BIBLICAL FASTING FOR PERSONAL WALK WITH GODNever forget this, Prayerful Fasting for Christians is a submissive reverentialexercise meant to train and equip the Christian for closer personal walk withGod
. Fasting and Prayer is combined physical cum spiritual exercise which shallalways be found to be profitable for every believer (1Tim 4:7-8).Christ did not only fast for 40 days before facing the Devil and commencing Hispublic ministry, but also fasted and prayed to choose his Disciples (Luk 6:12).Christ taught His Disciples that spiritual ministry succeeds better with fasting andprayer whether for ministrations (Mat 17:21) or for missions (Act 13:1-4).No wander Moses fasted prayerfully for 40 days to receive the first written tabletsof the Law (Exod 24:18; 34:28) and Daniel also fasted prayerfully for 21 days toreceive revelation of the End Times (Dan 10:2-5).In Isa 58:3-10, 600 years before the coming of Christ, the prophet Isaiah told
God’s people that God was n
ot answering their prayers because they fasted theirown chosen way (for pleasure, exploitation of workers, strife, wickedness andshow-off
which puts God off
) but did not fast God
’s own chosen way
(with self-denial, repentance, charity, amnesty and relief for workers
which turns God on
(3) They lament, ‘Why don’t you notice
when we fast
?Why don’t you pay attention when we humble ourselves?’ Look, at the same time you fast, you satisfy your selfishdesires,you oppress your workers.(4) Look, your fasting is accompanied by arguments, brawls,and fistfights. Do not fast as you do today,trying to make your voice heard in heaven.(5)
Is this really the kind of fasting I want
Do I want a day when people merely humble themselves,bowing their heads like a reedand stretching out on sackcloth and ashes? Is this really what you call a fast,a day that is pleasing to the LORD?(6) No,
this is the kind of fast I want
. I want you to remove the sinful chains,to tear away the ropes of the burdensome yoke,to set free the oppressed,and to break every burdensome yoke.(7) I want you to share your food with the hungryand to provide shelter for homeless, oppressed people.When you see someone naked, clothe him! Don’t turn your back on your own flesh and blood!(8) Then your light will shine like the sunrise;your restoration will quickly arrive;your godly behavior will go before you,and the LORD’s splendor will be your rear guard.(9) Then you will call out, and the LORD will respond;you will cry out, and he will reply, ‘Here I am.’You must remove the burdensome yoke from among youand stop pointing fingers and speaking sinfully.(10) You must actively help the hungryand feed the oppressed.Then your light will dispel the darkness,and your darkness will be transformed into noonday.
In Mat 6:5-18, Christ pointed out to His Disciples how to fast and pray (as personalwalk with God
which brings reward from God
) as well as how not to fast and pray(as ostentatious show-off for men
which brings reward from men
when thou prayest
, thou shalt not be as the hypocritesare: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in thecorners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say untoyou, They have their reward.(6) But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and whenthou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; andthy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.(7) But
when ye pray
, use not vain repetitions, as the heathendo: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
(8) Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knowethwhat things ye have need of, before ye ask him.(9) After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art inheaven, Hallowed be thy name.(10) Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, asit is in heaven.(11) Give us this day our daily bread.(12) And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.(13) And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: Forthine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.(14) For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Fatherwill also forgive you:(15) But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.(16) Moreover
when ye fast
, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sadcountenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appearunto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.(17) But thou,
when thou fastest
, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;(18) That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Fatherwhich is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shallreward thee openly.
Beware! Not all fasting and prayer which easily please people ultimately pleaseGod.
Christians should fast reverentially NOT TO
to merely meetup withdemands of mere INSTITUTIONAL SUPERVISION before people, BUT TO
ensure deeper SPIRITUAL SUBMISSION before God. Like prayer,Fasting is a means
to extra grace for the fulfilment of God’s good pleasure according
to His will.Though He fasted after His baptism and fullness of the Holy Spirit beforebeginning His ministry (Mat 3:13
4:2), Jesus thtaught that Christian fastingshould not be done while He was yet to die and rise from the dead, but shouldbegin after baptized believers in the risen Christ are filled with the Holy Spirit(Mark 2:19-20).The Apostles did not only fast to seek deeper dip with the Lord on occasions ofcommon special concern as ministrations (Act 13:1-2), but also for ordinations ofministers and missionaries (Act 13:3; 14:23). In whatever situation, Saint Paul wasa man who constantly drew power from Grace to remain tireless and steadfast in
labour, watching and fastings (2Cor 6:5 and 11:27); he also taught us to maketime to fast (1Cor 7:5).