By Marlana Branning
“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:16-18 “And after fasting forty days and forty nights, Jesus was hungry.” Matthew 4:2 Fasting is the act of intentionally giving up something so you can clearly seek God. Jesus not only taught on fasting, He also practiced fasting. Jesus fasted in the wilderness in Matthew 4, right after being baptized and right before He was tempted by the enemy. This timing was not by accident. Jesus needed time alone with His Father after such an incredible baptism experience and before being attacked by the enemy. Fasting is an important discipline for Christ-followers to practice, especially when we need clarity from the Lord in our lives. Jesus outlines some very specific teachings that we need to be aware of when we fast. Specifically, fasting should not be done in public but in private. It is a personal and intimate discipline just between you and your Father as you seek Him. And the greatest part is, we will receive a reward from Him! What a blessing!
What is an area of your life that you really need to seek the Father about? Take a day or two this week to fast and seek Him in private about this matter. Then journal how the Lord speaks and blesses you through it.
Help your students pick something that they can fast from this week. Social media? TV? Help them spend extra time with Jesus during this time.
Teach your children more about fasting. Ask your children, “What is something that means a lot to you? Would you be able to do without it, so you could spend that time praying to God when you think about it or miss it?”
Jesus, thank You for teaching us how to fast. I ask that You help me make this a regular discipline in my life as I continue to seek You.