I have been wavering over whether or not I should fast today. Certainly I believe that the election is an important matter and warrants fasting. But I am not sure that I have been called to fast and I’m not sure how committed I am to it. I don’t want to start and give up.
There are several kinds of fasts.
There is a normal fast, in which you drink water but don’t eat or drink anything else. Matthew 4:2 discusses Jesus’ 40 day normal fast.
There is an absolute fast, where you have neither water nor food. (Obviously this one would be for a very short time.) Saul/Paul did this according to Acts 9:9.
Then there is a partial fast, in which you give up some kinds of food. Normally this is because you are in a time and place where you can’t avoid eating. Daniel records that he did this in Daniel 10:3.
There are also different reasons to fast.
There are regular and public fasts, such as those discussed in Jeremiah 36:6 and Joel 2:15. Britain, at least, has called public fast days for a solemn assembly and their prayers were answered.
Then there is fasting to the Lord, as a gift. These are in Zechariah 7:5 and Acts 13:2.
Another kind of fast is for personal sanctity, such as in Psalm 69:10.
Another fast, one more pertinent at this point, is the fast as a means of entreaty. It is kind of like saying, “pretty please with sugar on top.” An example of this fast is found in Ezra 8:23.
There is also a fast to change God’s mind. One example of a successful fast is in Jonah 3:5 and 10. An unsucessful example of this is in II Samuel 12:16-22 when David fasted and prayed for his son, whom God said was going to die for David’s sins.
Another fast is to free the captives. Isaiah 58:6 says, “Is this not the fast I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?” This fast would have been the kind to have if you were under Saddam or the Taliban. It is what I would have been doing had I thought enough to pray hard for the situations the people of Iraq and Afghanistan were in. Isaiah 49:24 and 25 says that the captives of the tyrant can be rescued. Maybe I should fast for the captives of the beheaders.
A final Biblical reason for fasting is in order to receive revelation. Daniel 9:2-22 talks about this kind of fasting.
–You know, if my blog were read by anyone other than my husband, I couldn’t write on this today, because if I do fast, that would make my fasting be in public. So I guess there are good reasons to have an unvisited blog.–
One of the questions I usually ask is “Is this fast something God wants me to do?” But you know, that’s not really a legitimate question if you look at the reasons for fasting. To change God’s mind. Why would he want me to do that? To beg and plead. I think it does matter how much and how and when we pray, although I could be wrong, but I don’t think God really wants us to be whining.
Fasting is showing God that what we are asking is important enough to us that we are willing to give up food for a time in order to show God that we really care. Does God know we really care? If we do, he does. But do we know how committed we are? Not always. Maybe fasting is prescribed, which it is since Jesus said “when you fast,” but it is also voluntary.
One of the things you are supposed to do when you fast is read the word of God. I guess I should quit writing and start specifically praying.
God, hear my prayer. Our nation has an election today. I ask your blessings on our people as they go to vote. Please don’t let anyone who wants to vote and should be able to turn away from voting for any reason. Please bless the efforts of those who care about this country.
I know who I think would make a better president, God, and you gave us our brains for a reason. So I ask that President Bush be re-elected today by a significant enough margin that there won’t be 36 days, or more, of turmoil and litigation.
God, we are in a war for our lives. They hate us because we are strong, which is your gift to us, and because we are immoral, which is our sin. Please forgive us our sins and help us to repent. Continue to strengthen us. Weaken those who are against you. Strengthen us to do what we know should be done.
Bless our soldiers. Bless our government. Bless this nation.
Lord, you said if people who are called by your name repent and turn to you, you will save them. God, I thank you for giving us President Bush when 9/11 came. I ask for your continued blessings to our nation.
In the name of Jesus, Amen.