Uncommon Practices: Fasting
Getting Started: What food is your most common craving?
Digging In: Read Matthew 6:16-18
- Jesus did not say, “If you fast”, but “When you fast”. It sounds like fasting was an excepted practice in His day. Can you think of another meaning of the words of Jesus?
- verse 16 - Why would the hypocrites look somber?
- It sounds like it is possible to fast with the desire of other people noticing how spiritual you are. What other examples can you think of where religious people do things for others to notice them?
- verse 17- Fasting is to be a personal thing between you and God. What could you do in public settings or in your family to keep your fasting secret?
- verse 18- think of various ways that your Father might “reward” you in fasting?
- Read the following and talk about the practice of fasting in the early church. - Acts 13:2-3, Acts 14:23.
- Why do you think that most of us have fallen out of the practice of fasting?
- Have you fasted for spiritual reasons (as opposed to health reasons)? What could you share about your experience?
- What would be an attainable first step for you in fasting? Discuss making a group commitment to spending certain amount of time in fasting and replacing eating with prayer for a specific reason.
Since fasting is such an uncommon practice, you might want to read the following verses to grow in your understanding of what fasting is and what it isn’t: Judges 20:26, I Samuel 7:6, 2 Samuel 1:12, 2 Samuel 12:16-23, I Kings 21:27, 2 Chronicles 20:3, Ezra 8:21-23, Nehemiah 1:4, Nehemiah 9:1, Ester 4:3, Isaiah 58:4, Jeremiah 36:6-9, Joel 2:12, 15.