As Lent begins, some theologians are drawing attention to the fact that the practice of fasting might be waning because many Christians have never been taught why it’s necessary or even how to do it.
But it’s undoubtedly biblical and its importance has not disappeared just because fewer Christians in the United States now practice it, they say.
“Fasting is completely out of step with the way the West approaches Christianity (and religion as a whole), and, because the world has so penetrated the church, this may well be the primary reason why fasting is so unfamiliar to Western Christians in the 21st century,” observed an article titled “Should Christians Fast?” said Guy M. Richard, executive director and assistant professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia, in a piece published in the November 2018 edition of Tabletalk magazine.
“But we need to remember that Jesus is not interested in Christians’ simply going through the motions. He is not looking for mere rote performance of fasting, any more than He would be looking for mere rote performance of giving or praying or anything else,” Richard added.
Fasting is a “game-changer,” and that is because it’s a form of unbroken intercession, says author Jennifer Eivaz, whose latest book, Glory Carriers: How to Host His Presence Every Day, was released earlier this week.
“When Jesus spoke to His disciples and He asked them some questions in connection to the Lord’s prayer, He didn’t just ask them questions, He made some very clear statements. And He said ‘when’ you pray, and then He said, ‘when’ you fast,” Eivaz explained in a Wednesday phone interview with The Christian Post.
That language is clear, she noted, as it’s understood that prayer and fasting are essential disciplines for followers of Christ.
“When you are fasting, and that is in connection with prayer, too many people don’t realize that you are making your own physical body a sacrifice and when you do that you are literally in a continuous prayer. Just because you may not be verbalizing something in the moment, that act alone is a continuous prayer,” Eivaz, who pastors at Harvest Christian Center in Turlock, California, explained.
Imagine, then, the power of fasting for an entire day, she continued. That is 24 hours of straight prayer. Such discipline yields breakthroughs and answered prayer on much higher levels than when people pray ordinarily or don’t pray at all.
Eivaz believes that many Christians, especially those who do not fast, have simply never had solid teaching on it and leaders have not called people to fast. Meanwhile, Scripture is replete with examples of prophets, speaking for God, both calling people to and teaching them how to do it.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Brandon Showalter