The Lord's Fast by Anthony Mangun

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Fasting is part of the Christian life. In a fast, the believer chooses, for a set time, to do without something that is hard to do without. Usually, the fast is to do without food. You can fast from watching television, buying pleasure items, even from buying ordinary stuff. You can fast from hobbies you crave, places you are unhealthily drawn to, music, books, news, and movies. You might even find it necessary to fast from use of the Internet. What guidelines are set forth in scripture concerning fasting? It is to be done in a manner of humility and secrecy. Matthew 6:16-18 “Moreover when ye fast, be not as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; that thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret …” Luke 18:9-14 “And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray. . . The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are . . . I fast twice in the week, I give tithes . . . And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to this house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

Fasting is closely related to prayer and reading of the Word. I Samuel 1:6-8, 17-18, etc. “And her adversary . . . provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat. Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved?… Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him . . .” Nehemiah 1:4 “. . . when I heard these words, I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven”Jonah 3:8, etc. “For word came unto the king … and he caused it to be proclaimed and published … saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything: let them not feed, nor drink water: But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God … Who can
tell if God will … turn away from his fierce anger … And God saw .. Luke 2:37 “And she was a widow of about 44 years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings….
A fast may be either absolute or partial.
Examples of absolute (complete) fasts:
Deuteronomy 9:9, 18 “. . . 40 nights, I neither did eat bread nor drink water” Ezra 10:6 “Ezra. . . did eat no bread, nor drink water: for he mourned . . .” Esther 4:16 “Go, gather together all the Jews . . . and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day . . . Some other verses on fasting:

Psalms 69:10 – When I wept, [and chastened] my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach. Joel 2:12 – Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye [even] to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: Matthew 6:18 – That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. Daniel 10:3 – I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled. Acts 14:23 – And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed. Ezra 8:23 – So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was intreated of us.

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