“Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly”
Someone has called fasting “the weeping of the soul.” Fasting is a lost art in most of our churches, but it is one of the clearest taught doctrines in the Word of God, especially in a time of crisis.
When Ezra and his people were in a predicament, he “proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava…” (Ezra 8:21). Nehemiah said, “So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven” (Nehemiah 1:4). Jehoshaphat “feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah” (2 Chronicles 20:3). Joel said, “Blow the trumpet in Zion, Consecrate a fast; call a sacred assembly” (Joel 2:15). The Lord Jesus said, “Moreover, when you fast…” (Matthew 6:16-17).
Most of us have never practiced fasting with consistency. Fasting is not just going hungry, and it’s not a way to lose weight. Fasting is the affliction of the soul for discipline and determination to humble ourselves before God and seek His face.
When was the last time you “set your face” to seek the Lord? Is there a situation in your life, in your home, at your job or in your church, that merits serious, sustained prayer? If so, perhaps it is time to seek the Lord in fasting and prayer.