Session 2 Notes – Spiritual Formation, Solitude, and Fasting
Additional Thoughts on Spiritual Formation
Practical Tips for Fasting
by Allen Reger
Definition of Fasting
Fasting is a Christian’s voluntary abstinence from eating, drinking, and/or other activities for ______________ _______________.
What Fasting Is NOT
- Fasting is not dieting.
- Fasting is not about you (in a sense). It should be God-centered.
- Fasting is not a means of _____________________ God.
- Fasting is not an end in itself.
- Fasting is not _________________ or self-punishment.
- Fasting is not required religious ritual.
Types and Lengths of Fasts
- Supernatural: no food or water for unnaturally possible lengths
Examples: Moses (Ex. 34:28), Elijah (1Ki. 19:8), Jesus (Mt. 4)?
- Absolute: no food or water for periods of time the body can take
Examples: Ezra (10:6), Esther (4:16), Saul/Paul (Acts 9:9)
- Normal: abstaining from food, but not water
Example: Daniel (10:3)?
- Partial: limiting your diet to certain types or amounts of food
Examples: Daniel and friends (1:8-21), John the Baptist (Mt. 3:4)
The Bible mentions fasts that lasted from just part of a day to 40 days, though the majority of them are of unspecified length.
Reasons for Fasting
- It is a Scriptural _____________ for God’s people.
- It was taught (more assumed) by Jesus (Matt. 6:16-18; 9:14-15).
- It was practiced by Jesus (Matt. 4:1-2).
- It was practiced by the early __________ (Acts 13:1-2; 14:23).
It has been the historic practice of the Church (writ large) to fast.
Spiritual Reasons: Some Spiritual Benefits of Fasting
- A focus on God
- ____________ in hearing from God
- A reminder of our __________________ upon God
- Identification of sin or temptation in our lives
- Identification with the poor and needy
The following answers appear in order of the blanks in the notes above.