“Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him.” –Mark 1:12-13
Even Jesus disconnected from the world to fast and pray. Matthew, Mark, and Luke tell of Jesus going to the wilderness for forty days and forty nights. They also describe other times Jesus pulled away from the demands of the crowds, His ministry, and even His closest friends to pray.
There are times that we, too, need to pull away from the things of the world to focus on God. “The things of the world” can certainly include more than just food. In fact, in our world they are more likely television, movies, Facebook, Twitter, cell phones and the Internet. None of these things are wrong in themselves, but they are avenues for a mental and spiritual crowd to gather around us and drown out the Holy Spirit’s voice.
Fasting is a means of disconnecting from the distractions of daily life and consciously choosing to bring God into greater focus. Giving up physical nourishment is the first step in engaging in that process. If you think about it, though, in day-to-day life we nourish our souls as well as our bodies. We do so through reading, talking, socializing, playing, and entertainment. When our souls are full of those things, we often don’t hunger for God.
During this time of fasting, we are sure to feel physical hunger, but let’s be intentional about cultivating spiritual hunger as well. Let’s draw away from the crowd and lay aside for a season the activities we use to nourish our souls. Instead let’s enter a state of spiritual hunger, a craving for righteousness. Jesus said that being spiritually hungry is a blessed state, because we can be sure of being filled with food that truly satisfies our deepest needs (Matthew 5:6).