Do we need a special reason to fast or should fasting be a normal part of our Christian lives? Our Lord Jesus said in Matthew 6:16-18:
‘When you fast, do not look sombre as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.’
In saying “when you fast” The Lord is using the same phrase he used with regard to praying in v5 and v6. This indicates that there is an expectancy that praying and fasting are both part of our lives. This perhaps surprises us because we feel that fasting must only be a certain crisis time. However, this appears to be contrary to the expectation as expressed by the Lord here in Matthew 6. He expects fasting to be a normal part of our lives
It is further interesting to consider that in Acts 13:2, we read: “While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said.” The church that was in Antioch was fasting as part of their normal church life. There does not seem to be any particular prompt for their fasting.
What should this fasting look like which is to be part of the “normal” living for Christ? Details about what fasting is, are found here. Prayer and fasting draw us relentlessly towards God. And we always need that. There is never a time when we do not need to be seeking God with vigour and urgency.
So on this Good Friday as Lent draws to an end for another year, let us be reminded that fasting should be a normal part of our lives individually and as churches.