Many of us fast from food weekly, eating our evening meal Monday evening, then breaking the fast with a meal on Tuesday evening (24h). We’d love for you to join us in this regular rhythm of fasting. In this blog Pastor John Harding explores why we do it.
Over the summer I was chatting to a bunch of church leaders and they were asking me all about Frontline, and one of them asked me this question… ‘what do you think is the most significant thing you’ve done as a church since stepping into the role of senior pastor?’ I knew it was a good and important question immediately, cos unusually for me, I didn’t have an immediate answer. And in a moment of reflection where head and heart combine, the answer that came to me was this… the bridegroom fast. I didn’t immediately think of Scattered Sundays, or transitioning from multi-service to Church planting. I thought of fasting. And although I can’t evidence or prove this answer, this answer still resonates within me as true.
My relationship with fasting over the 30+ years I’ve been a Christian is varied. For huge periods of time fasting simply wasn’t on my radar. I think there’s something about apostolic gifting in youth / immaturity that just wants to get on with ‘doing’ and often leaves God and his power out of the equation. At other times I’ve fasted and I know now, with hindsight, that my motivation was wrong. OK, maybe ‘wrong’ is the wrong word… maybe I mean my motivation wasn’t quite right or refined, and maybe that was more down to how at that time I understood my identity and relationship with the Father.
It’s been incredible liberating to remove fasting from any sense of seeking the Father to do something for me. I think it’s been the key to embedding fasting into a regular lifestyle and habit. And this is the truth at the heart of the Bridegroom Fast; fasting is primarily a way of deepening intimacy and relationship with Jesus.
In Matt 9:14-15 John the Baptist’s disciples came to Jesus and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.
For me this passage gives an incredibly powerful insight into our motivation to fast. We fast that the Bridegroom (Jesus) and the Bride (us, the church, The Church) might be united, joined in perfect union forever. So fasting is about intimacy and relationship, and ultimate leads us to pray ‘marantha, come Lord Jesus’ 1 Cor 16:22, Rev 22:20
Interestingly, when Jesus talks about fasting he then immediately goes on to talk about new wine being poured into new wine skins. There’s something about fasting that aligns us for the power of God. In fasting we’re recognising that even the greatest of human efforts is not enough to see our city, nation and nations ‘transformed by grace’ – we need a move of God, we need the presence of Jesus.
Why not join us in the Bridegroom fast and turn your longing for food into a longing for more of the presence of Jesus?