A Word on Fasting

Series: MasterClass | Week 6: Teach Us to Pray

Day Five Matthew 6:16-18

16 “And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. 17 But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. 18 Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” – Matthew 6:16-18 (NLT)

Learn From the Word
Jesus now addresses the third of the three disciplines He assumes His followers practice – fasting. Fasting simply means going without food for a certain period of time in order to draw closer to God. Fasting was a regular spiritual discipline practiced in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, and Jesus once again instructs us to do it with the proper heart motivation. The religious elite tried to draw attention to themselves when fasting because they desired only the praise of man. Jesus tells us to not even let people know when we’re fasting. As a matter of fact, He instructs His followers to do the things that symbolized rejoicing when they fasted!

Put It Into Practice
If fasting isn’t something you normally practice, talk to God now about implementing this important discipline into your life. Listen to author and pastor, John Mark Comer, give a short teaching on it here. If there's anything in your life besides Jesus that you feel has mastery over you, consider fasting as a means of “turning it down” and turning the voice of Jesus up.

For Families with Kids at Home
Jesus is making a point here that we can sometimes do the right thing for the wrong reason - whether it’s praying a big, public prayer just to be seen or fasting in a way that draws attention. It’s important for us to always examine our motives - we need to make sure we’re doing the right things because we want to be like Jesus, not because it gets us attention and admiration!