20 OCT




Ezra 8:23

Have you ever fasted? Do you know what it is, or why people do it? Many Christians don’t, and they are left wondering if it is essential to Christian living. But one thing that’s very clear from the Bible is that when God asks us to do something, there’s always a good reason behind it – even when we don’t fully understand. So when God highlights fasting we need to sit up and take notice.


(We also need to make it clear that we definitely aren’t telling you to put yourself in any danger! If you have any doubts about fasting, talk to your church leaders or an older Christian who you trust about it. Never fast, or do anything, if you are worried about hurting yourself! And if you have trouble with eating disorders (don’t worry, lots of people have), we’re especially praying for you today. Fasting is nothing to do with not eating in that sense, and we would really encourage you to talk to someone older that you trust about it.)
Fasting is not a healthy eating plan or fad diet that’s been dragged up from history – it is, admittedly, something of a mystery. But there are some things we know about it. We know that it is a spiritual discipline meant to benefit us. It is good for us. As we fast, we recognise our weakness without God’s provision, and our total need for God. And then, as we grow closer to Him, it can be a direct way of getting God’s attention. When Ezra found life overwhelming, he knew God’s help was essential, or he’d collapse under the weight of his problems. So he and his friends ‘fasted and prayed' (Ezra 8:23). God honoured their commitment.
If, like Ezra, you're unsure about where to go in life and how best to get there, try fasting and praying. If you’re concerned about your family or friends, think about what you can give up to have more quality prayer time. If you’re anxious about having the stuff you need, know that prayer through fasting is a way of drawing close to the Provider of every good thing. When we fast, we let God know that we are serious about wanting His help. We believe with our whole beings that God has the power to change things for the better.
What now?
If you think it is safe for you, consider put it into practice: fast by skipping a meal or an activity, and use that time to pray for a specific area, person, people, or situation that you’re keen to see change.

Ezra 8:23


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