Fasting is the ancient practice of not eating in order to discipline your body so you can make room in your soul to commune with God. It must be, as Richard Foster writes, "God-initiated and God-ordained."
The spiritual practice of fasting is NOT designed for weight loss or health reasons, although there are physical benefits for doing it. But the primary purpose of fasting is to deny our physical appetite(s) in order to feed our spiritual hunger and thirst for God with the Spirit and Word.
During a time of fasting we mourn our spiritual condition or the condition of others, confess our sins, and seek God in prayer (See Nehemiah 1:4-11). This is why the practice is "God-initiated." In our relationship with God, we see our lives and the lives of others from his perspective, and he calls us to confession and prayer.
Jesus expected that his followers would fast. In his kingdom-inaugurating message we know as the Sermon on the Mount, he addressed the subject by saying, "When you fast..." (Matthew 6:16-18) We are not to fast to get spiritual high marks or to gain righteousness, that is what religious people do. We are to go about our daily habits with a pang in our stomach reminded that God is listening and responding to the prayers of our hearts.
If God leads you to fast this week, here is one way to make the time without food count:
This Wednesday, October 20, we will join our students at Legacy Church in One Meal One Day by skipping a meal and giving the money to help feed the poor through Compassion International. If you want to contribute with Legacy, go here.
Additional resource with all the information you need for fasting is found here.