6th October 2016

Who'd want to fast?

“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ...” Philippians 3:8 ESV

The apostle Paul wrote these words towards the end of his ministry, when things were really tough for him. Over the years Paul had laid aside career, prestige, prospects and reputation – he'd been verbally and physically abused many times because he followed Jesus. But even after all this, which included some incredible experiences as well, his hunger for Jesus was unrelenting and undiminished. Nothing compared to knowing Christ!

When we fast, we're saying yes to more of God and His glory and power. We're saying: "I'm not centre of the universe, but God is!" Fasting is a longing, aching and yearning for more of Christ.

Fasting is when we stop eating, watching TV, going on social media for a season, in order to make extra space for God in our lives. As we take a break from these activities, it reveals what is going on inside and, as Richard Foster says, "More than any other discipline, fasting reveals the things that control us."

It's amazing what rises to the surface when we miss a few meals or can't keep up-to-date with the outside world on social media. Irritability, anger, fear... can all reveal themselves through fasting and it provides a great platform for God to deal with what is really on the inside.

Fasting also draws us back to God, as we turn our appetite towards being satisfied in Him alone. When I fast, it is a hunger for all the fullness of God, to know Him better; it wakens me up to God. Food is good, but God is better.

"Fasting is not a no to the goodness of food or the generosity of God in providing it. Rather, it is a way of saying, from time to time, that having more of the Giver surpasses having the gift." John Piper

Why don't you decide to fast from something, for part or all of our 40 days of hungering after God?

For a great read on fasting and hungering after God, check out John Piper's A Hunger for God, available from Resources on Sundays.

Paul Mann

Posted by Paul Mann


12th January 2013

The why, how and when of fasting

During the January 2013 two Weeks of Prayer, we will be fasting on Wednesdays 16th and 23rd January. This blog post about fasting is taken from a more detailed explanation (see link below).

Praying together with fasting is a forgotten discipline in modern times.

People fasted throughout the whole Bible – we read about it in the Old Testament and the New. It carried on through church history and was practiced by many pioneers, such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley and Jonathan Edwards. Jesus expected that his followers would fast (see Matthew 6:16 and 9:14-15).

You may have many questions about fasting, such as 'how should I fast?', 'what should I fast from?', and 'for what purpose?'. Examples we find in the Bible can help us to answer these questions. For example, in terms of why we might fast:

  • Being in and enjoying God's presence (Exodus 34:28; Luke 2:37)
  • During a personal crisis (1 Samuel 1:7)
  • When you're mourning (1 Samuel 31:13)
  • When praying for healing (2 Samuel 12:16)
  • For protection (Ezra 8:21-23)
  • When going into dangerous situations (Esther 4:16)
  • As part of repentance (Daniel 9:3; Joel 1:14; Jonah 3:7)
  • For direction/guidance for ministry (Acts 13:1-3)
  • To help us take control over our bodies/the flesh (1 Corinthians 9:27)

As well as the many different reasons for fasting, there are also many different ways to fast, including a total fast where you drink only water, a liquid fast (drinks and soup), a fast from rich food (eating only vegetables), a fast from television or the internet or anything else that takes up your time and attention.

In the Bible, we read about fasts lasting from one day to 40 days. If you have never fasted before, it might be best to fast for just one meal to begin with, and then build up from there. (Obviously it is very important that you consult your doctor before undertaking any kind of fast if you have any medical conditions.)

To fast means to put God first. Fasting is an attitude of our hearts as we interrupt our normal life in order to pray and seek God for His will in our lives, to effectively move obstacles and burdens that we may encounter, and to simply tell God that He is the most important one in our lives. It is a discipline that quickly turns into a delight as God rewards our devotion with His presence.

Please join us in praying and fasting on Wednesdays 16th and 23rd January. The prayer meetings take place on those evenings at 7.30pm at The Hastings Centre.
(See the church calendar for details of all the prayer meetings during the two Weeks of Prayer, which run from 13th to 27th January.)

For the full version of this blog, click here:

Adrian Pursglove

Posted by Adrian Pursglove


12th October 2011

Fasting: A pig's perspective!

About two weeks before this Season of Prayer, Fasting & Giving, I was asked to talk to our youth about fasting. Great, so I've got to talk to a bunch of teenagers about giving up food, and if that's not daunting enough, I've never fasted in my life… Gulp!

But that week I did a fast and the talk, and here's a summary:

  1. What is fasting? Fasting is to abstain from all or some food, Eastenders, etc., voluntarily. It's replacing time spent elsewhere with time in God's presence. It puts you in control of your body, and is a time devoted to focusing on God.
  2. Why Fast? Firstly, it's a great way keep yourself in alignment with God. Secondly, it empowers us and is a clear sign of our obedience and trust. And thirdly, when the Spirit led Jesus into wilderness, Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights, then Satan tempted Him (predictable!), but Jesus said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word from the mouth of God.'" So food physically keeps you alive, but God spiritually gives you life.

Fasting is a way of declaring that your hunger for God is far greater than any other, and that when we are in His presence, we feed from Him. Once we have consumed all our appetites can manage, we digest it all: spiritual gifts are extracted and absorbed into our bodies and His love is pumped straight to our hearts.

And the best thing about this is that every time we encounter God in this way, our appetites increase, so let's be greedy for God! Let's live off His Word and, in doing so, gain clarity in his plans and promises.

Reading: Matthew 4:1-4
Next Prayer Meeting: Tomorrow at 6.30am

Caner Mutu

Posted by Caner Mutu


8th October 2011

Building on God's foundations

This Season of Prayer, Fasting & Giving isn't just about praying, fasting and giving, though obviously those three things are important. Of greater significance, however, is the opportunity this period of time gives us to encounter Jesus and be challenged and changed by Him.

One of the things God has been speaking to me personally about during this time is my foundations. Foundations are the things you build on. Whether it's a block of flats, a road or a life, the foundations you use will have a massive impact on the longevity and success of what is built. Over the last two weeks, God has been showing me the foundations I'm building on – causing me to consider if I am living in the good of all Christ has done for me.

Romans 6 talks about us being dead to sin, but alive to God. This isn't because we make ourselves dead, thinking, 'If I try really hard I may be able to die to sin.' Rather we have been joined to Christ, included in Him – what happened to Jesus, happened to me. Christ died, was buried and rose again – I've been included in His death, burial and resurrection.

Therefore, I have an obligation not to offer myself to my own ambitions, fears or sin, but to offer myself to God, following his plans, purposes and direction – building on His foundations – day-by-day.

Let me encourage you to seek God – give Him the time, space and opportunity to speak to you!

Reading: Romans 6
Next prayer meeting: Tomorrow at 7am and 6.30pm

Paul Mann

Posted by Paul Mann










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