The Place of Fasting in the Christian Life – page 9


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From the Summer 2018 issue of Knowing & Doing:

The Place of Fasting
in the Christian Life

by Thomas A. Tarrants, III, D.Min.
Vice President for Ministry & Director,
Washington Area Fellows Program,
C.S. Lewis Institute

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  In this article you have read enough to get started. However, if you want to do fasts with water longer than three days, or any fast with no food and no water, you would do well to read a good book or two on fasting and also consult a physician. If I could recommend only one book, it would be God’s Chosen Fast by Arthur Wallis, which is a helpful guide to the biblical, spiritual, and practical dimensions of fasting. Also helpful is A Hunger for God by John Piper, which provides an interesting, informative, and inspirational account of fasting in the Bible and throughout history. The two complement each other very well.
  If you long for a deeper relationship with God or if you face a crisis or situation of special need, adding fasting to your prayer is a way God has given us to seek Him more earnestly. If you make fasting a regular part of relationship with God, you will never regret it. For He has said, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13).



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1  John Stott, Christian Counter-Culture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1978), 184.
2  Unless otherwise noted, Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version.
3  Charles Hodge, Princeton Sermons (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1958), 263.
4  John Wesley, Sermon 27, Discourse 7 on the Sermon on the Mount.
5  Ibid.

Tom Tarrants has lived in the Washington, DC area since 1978 and served as President of the C.S. Lewis Institute from 1998 to April 2010. He is currently Vice President for Ministry & Director, Washington Area Fellows Program. Prior to coming to the Institute, he served as co-pastor of Christ Our Shepherd Church in Washington, DC. Tom holds a Master of Divinity Degree, as well as a Doctor of Ministry Degree in Christian Spirituality. He is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Church Alliance and a member of the Evangelical Theological Society.


Recommended Reading:
John Piper, A Hunger for God: Desiring God through Fasting and Prayer (Crossway, Redesign edition, 2013)

  Our appetites dictate the direction of our lives — whether it be the cravings of our stomachs, the passionate desire for possessions or power, or the longings of our spirits for God. But for the Christian, the hunger for anything besides God can be an archenemy, while our hunger for God — and Him alone — is the only thing that will bring victory.
  Do you have that hunger for Him? As John Piper puts it: “If we don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because we have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Our soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great.” If we are full of what the world offers, then perhaps a fast might express, or even increase, our soul’s appetite for God.
  Between the dangers of self-denial and self-indulgence is this path of pleasant pain called fasting. It is the path John Piper invites you to travel in this book. For when God is the supreme hunger of your heart, He will be supreme in everything. And when you are most satisfied in Him, He will be most glorified in you.

Arthur Wallis, God’s Chosen Fast (CLC Publications, 2016)

  First published in 1968, God’s Chosen Fast has long been considered the essential guide to biblical fasting, a vital yet often neglected practice. With simplicity and straightforwardness, Arthur Wallis shares what the Bible says about fasting.
  It is not merely a how-to manual, but a timeless reference that explains the purpose of fasting, details accounts of fasting in the Bible, and includes a comprehensive biblical index. God’s Chosen Fast will assist believers who desire to grow closer to God.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE:  Knowing & Doing is published by C.S. Lewis Institute; 8001 Braddock Road, Suite 301; Springfield, VA 22151. Portions of the publication may be reproduced for noncommercial, local church or ministry use without prior permission. Electronic copies of the PDF files may be duplicated and transmitted via e-mail for personal and church use. Articles may not be modified without prior written permission of the Institute. For questions, contact the Institute: 703.914.5602 or email us.



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