Matthew 6: 16-18
The Fasting of the Saints

As we celebrate Palm Sunday and look forward to our celebrating the risen Jesus on Resurrection Sunday, we complete our study of disciplines that help to deepen our relationship to Jesus Christ.  In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus discussed what some call the “three duties of every Christian” (and are also called the “three pillars of Lent:”) giving, prayer, and fasting.  Jesus spoke on these three subjects using exactly the same wording: “When you give alms” (Matthew 6:3); “And when you pray” (Matthew 6:5); “Moreover when you fast… ” (Matthew 6:16). So, just as giving and prayer are disciplines of a relationship to God, so is fasting.

The Christian duty of fasting, often overlooked in today’s world, is refraining from food to bring us into a deeper, more intimate and powerful relationship with the Lord. We become more attentive to God, more aware of our sins and inadequacies, and better listeners of what He wants us to be and do.

**Categories of Fasts

  1. The Absolute Fast - No food, no water. Only for very short period of time (Esther)
  2. The Normal Fast - Going without food for a certain number of days. Water is consumed (and sometimes juices or clear broth)
  3. The Partial Fast - Going without certain types of food for a certain time period (Example: Daniel, not eating the choice meats or sweets from the king’s table).

      4. The Rotational Fast - Eating or omitting certain families of foods for designated periods