For many Christians, the idea of prayer as a biblical practice to be regular undertaken goes without saying. Fasting, on the other hand, enjoys not so high a status. However, throughout the Bible fasting is spoken of either as an express command or, at the very least, an expectation of followers of God. In the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6, Jesus spoke of fasting with the same language He spoke of prayer.
Jesus spoke of prayer in this way:
- "When you pray..." (Matthew 6:5)
- "But you, when you pray..." (Matthew 6:6)
- "And when you are praying..." (Matthew 6:7)
And He spoke of fasting like this:
- "Whenever you fast..." (Matthew 6:16)
- "But you, when you fast..." (Matthew 6:17)
So, though prayer is the top priority, fasting is certainly addressed by Jesus and reveals the expectation He had that His followers would fast.
As we approach this time, may we take seriously our need to approach God with the most severe reverence. May we approach Him as we lay aside the earthly encumbrances which hinder us. May we fall before His throne of grace in repentant humility as we seek for His glory above all else.