On Wednesday of this week we commence our 2011 season of fasting and prayer. Fasting and prayer, in preparation for Resurrection Sunday, is mentioned as early as the time of Irenaeus and Eusebius. Following events in 313 A.D. this fast became more regulated and structured.
The pre-Resurrection Sunday fast features repentance of sin, the revitalization of our faith, and preparation for celebrating Jesus’ ministry on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. This fast is an opportunity to look into one’s heart, through the eyes of the Spirit, and see what God may want adjusted, removed, or accentuated.
Some Christian leaders have generated a 21 days of fasting and prayer for the congregations following their lead. This is good and positive. MCA, however, requests that our entire congregation fast and pray for forty days. Let’s do the whole fast.
The early Christians, during the Great Fast, ate one full meal a day. Each day they could include meat, except on Fridays, when meat was banned. During this portion of Church history it became common, since meat couldn’t be consumed on Fridays, to “eat fish on Friday.”
It is important for you, in preparation for the Great Fast, to get medical advice for your fast. Some people need to consume certain foods at approved times. Medicines, procedures, and health conditions may influence your Doctor’s view of a proposed fast. Get medical approval prior to starting a fast.
During the Great Fast and once approved, I recommend the following:
1. Eat one meal a day Monday through Saturday.
2. Eat normally on Sunday.
3. Do not eat meat on Fridays.
I don’t have researched data about the health benefits of the Great Fast, but I am confident that everything Jesus did is more healthful than we can imagine.