“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: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.” Matthew 6:17-18
For years it has been a practice at Christian Retreat to pray and fast the first seven days of the new year. Jesus spoke of fasting as a normal Christian activity, right alongside of praying and giving alms. (Matthew 6:2,5,16)
Fasting is a complete or partial denial of food to the body for the purpose of building stronger spiritual discipline. Any time the physical body is brought under subjection, the spiritual man is made more alert.
The Bible speaks of regular fasts, such as on the Day of Atonement when all Israel was expected to abstain from food. Fasting is mentioned often in light of a crisis or emergency, such as in II Chronicles 20:3, when King Jehoshaphat proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah because an invading army was coming to do battle. Isaiah 58 cautions you to watch your motives when you fast. A fast should be God-ordained and accompanied with much time spent in prayer.
Consider setting some days apart at the beginning of the year to fast and pray for God’s help and guidance. It would invite His divine hand of participation in your life!
PRAY: “Heavenly Father, prepare my heart now to seek You in a deeper way over the coming new year. Amen.”