The Daily Fountain Devotional of the Church Of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) 17 February 2021 – Fasting Guide
Topic: Fasting Guide (Anglican Devotional 17 February 2021)
Read: Matthew 6:16-18 (NKJV)
- ” Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.
- “But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,
- “so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who [is] in the secret [place;] and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent and the 40-day fast. Lent is a period when we humble ourselves to seek the face of God. It is a time for mourning, weeping, and solemn assembly. The palm leaves of the last Palm Sunday will be burnt and the ashes used to rub on the forehead to remind us we are dust and ashes. Fasting that is not accompanied with prayer will amount to starving/self- punishment. Fasting, prayer and the word of God, go together. In this passage, Jesus taught salient points on conducts during fasting. Verse 16 warns that fasting should not be done like hypocrites do. Hypocritical fasting portrays pretence and falsehood. It is a show off. People are not meant to wear sad countenances or disfigure their faces to appear to men that they are fasting. Such is hypocrisy and does not give glory to God.
Isaiah 58:3-7 and Matthew 6:17 give us guidelines on proper conduct in fasting. When fasting, brush your teeth, and borrowing a leaf from Ruth 3:3 – ‘… wash yourself, put on some perfume and get dressed in your best clothes’ (GNB). Don’t show people that you are fasting. God desires that we come to Him secretly (v.17). Isaiah 58:6-12 spells out the power and reward in fasting. Meditate on them this season.
PRAYER: Lord, reveal to me the power in fasting and prayer in Jesus Name.