Reasons e5 Men Decided to Fast (List #8)
“To honor the women in my life”
“I love my wife and want to do this for her.”
“To do more to sacrifice”
“To become closer to my wife”
“To cement my marriage”
“To offer up my sufferings in reparation for my sins”
“Celebrate my life in Christ with my wife”
By Steven C. Habisohn, e5 Founder
Although men seem eager to fast for their brides many have never fasted before and may wonder what's it all about. They may be pondering questions like: What does the bible say about fasting? Why have men fast for their brides? Why fasting specifically instead of other types of prayer?
Simply answered, Fasting is Biblical, Powerful, and Christ like.
FASTING IS BIBLICAL
Many Christians today have not heard of the Christian tradition of fasting. Someone just wrote me last week that "Fasting wasn't biblical." This is amazing because fasting permeates both the Old and the New Testaments. The prophets fasted, Moses fasted, Jesus fasted, and the apostles fasted. We need to bring back the topic of Christians fasting back into the normal conversations of Christians in the world. We can start by just referencing the Bible. Here are a few New Testament Scriptures to start with.
Mathew 6:16 -17
Acts 2: 36-38
Mark 9: 14-29
Fasting was prevalent in the New Testament for the apostles before they ordained anyone to be part of the ordained clergy. (Acts 13:1-3, Acts 14:23) This would mean that men that are in charge of seminarians, like vocations directors and bishops should probably fast for their bride, the Church, that they themselves would discern the seminarians that are truly called to be ordained to the priesthood. If those in those positions joined the e5 they would have all of you fasting with them! Would we not all join in even extra fasts to help these decision makers make the right decisions?
FASTING IS POWERFUL
Fasting has played a significant part in my life. Although I only fasted a dozen or so times before I got married almost all my petitions were answered. When I really wanted something in mine or another's life to change I decided not to pull any punches and went right to the sledgehammer of prayers - fasting. The scripture that influenced me to go directly to fasting for a serious or difficult situation was the following:
14 And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd about them, and scribes arguing with them. 15 And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed, and ran up to him and greeted him. 16 And he asked them, "What are you discussing with them?" 17 And one of the crowd answered him, "Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a dumb spirit; 18 and wherever it seizes him, it dashes him down; and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid; and I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able." 19 And he answered them, "O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me." 20 And they brought the boy to him; and when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. 21 And Jesus asked his father, "How long has he had this?" And he said, "From childhood. 22 And it has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you can do anything, have pity on us and help us." 23 And Jesus said to him, "If you can! All things are possible to him who believes." 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, "I believe; help my unbelief!" 25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, "You dumb and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again." 26 And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse; so that most of them said, "He is dead." 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. 28 And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, "Why could we not cast it out?" 29 And he said to them, "This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting."
It always struck me how Jesus told his apostles how to ratchet up the pray power by adding fasting.
I can personally say that fasting has played a significant role in the healing of my bride before we even started dating. She didn't know I was fasting for her yet the week after I fasted she asked me "Did you pray for me?" She was healed of a serious problem and I was the only one she had told. It was from this experience of fasting for her and seeing immediate results that led me to counsel men that this is a powerful prayer in regards starting to healing the relationship between man and woman.
If you know any man that is having difficulty in his marriage ask him to join the e5. I can honestly say that since fasting for my wife I have seen steady growth in those areas of my marriage that just seemed to stagnate. I am more patient and it seems more understanding. I often regretted my temper and jumping to conclusions. My wife mentioned to me the other day that these seemed to have greatly decreased and I apologize much more often for any poor behavior. She also says that I am just a lot less picky about things.
Now this may seem odd at first that fasting for our brides may at first have results in our behavior but it's a truth about prayer that prayer not only changes outside events or people but also, and perhaps more importantly, prayer and fasting changes us.
Fasting is also perhaps the best aid to prayer I know. Every time I feel a hunger pain or desire a snack I am reminded of our mission. I often reflect upon Christ and his mission of suffering even if only for a few seconds. These "few seconds" happen often enough to keep me focused on Christ the whole day through.
After Jesus fasted in the desert for 40 days and was tempted by Satan to turn a stone into bread Jesus said "'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'" (Mathew 4:4) I think it is clear that when we fast we are in a sense dying and our body and soul naturally turn to God in response. We recognize through fasting our mortality and therefore our need for God.
FASTING IS CHRIST-LIKE
Besides the fact that Christ fasted, even more importantly Christ gave his very body up for his bride, the Church, on the cross. This idea of a groom giving his body for his bride is found as a basic tenant of married love. Ephesians Chapter 5 calls a husband to be like Christ in giving his body up for his bride "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her" (Eph 5:25) Fasting allows us in a mystical way to "give up our bodies" for our brides so that we too can make our brides "without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish." (Eph 5:27)
Fasting is a bodily act and hence a bodily gift. A husband can now say like Jesus,
"This is my body which is given for you." (Luke 22:19)
How many women have been screwed up by the selfish bodily acts of men? Fasting for a woman then becomes the exact opposite of the sexual indulgence of many men. Instead of a selfish bodily gift, which is no gift at all, fasting allows a man to make a more selfless bodily gift of himself. In unison with Christ we are able to make a pure selfless bodily gift for many women. This is especially helpful to those women that have never received any bodily gift from a man that was not seriously impure. This gift can also be given in silence and over great distances and even outside of time because of its mystical union with Christ's bodily gift on the cross.
It is for this reason that I have recommended, and done myself, adding extra fast days for the healing of ex girlfriends. Especially those that we may have regrets in how we treated them.
SHOULD I LET OTHERS KNOW I AM FASTING?
The question comes up frequently "Didn't Jesus tell us not to let anyone know we are fasting?" The answer is yes. But his answer was in response largely to how hypocrites let everyone know how much they fast and how difficult it is and to draw attention to themselves. What Jesus was telling his disciples was to beware of religious pride.
However, we must take into account that we are not to put our lamp under a bushel either. If no one knows that e5 men fast then how could they even have the opportunity to join the fast themselves.
We need to get the word out and not be shy of what love really entails. However, at the same time, we need to guard against religious pride and nurture true humility in this act of love.