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Today, the church seems to have forgotten about the spiritual discipline of fasting. Most of us have never heard a sermon about it, and few of us have ever practiced it. We think of fasting as an antiquated relic of the past. So why should we fast in an age of fast food? Pastor Daniel R. Hyde argues that “fasting is actually a basic biblical teaching and practice, one that is vital to cultivating godly living in an ungodly generation.”
Fasting is a means to the end of abiding, deep, and personal communion with the triune God through prayer. The author explains what fasting is, provides biblical examples of it, reminds us of what Jesus taught regarding it, and tells us how to go about it.
What Is Fasting?
What are the Biblical Examples of Fasting?
Did Jesus Address Fasting?
How Should I Fast?
Daniel R. Hyde is the pastor of the Oceanside United Reformed Church in Carlsbad/Oceanside, California. An author of several books, he serves as an adjunct instructor of systematic theology and missions at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary.
“If you like a lazy and complacent Christian life, this book is dangerous because it shows in a convincing way that fasting belongs to Christianity. Danny Hyde shows from the Bible, the words of Jesus, the early church, the Reformers, and the Puritans how and why Christians should fast. This message is an appeal to Christians that while our old nature would prefer feasting to fasting, our new nature will experience spiritual feasting by fasting.” — Dr. Willem van Vlastuin, professor of theology and spirituality of Reformed Protestantism, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Cultivating Biblical Godliness Series
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones once said, “The world today is looking for, and desperately needs, true Christians. I am never tired of saying that what the Church needs to do is not to organize evangelistic campaigns and attract outside people, but to begin herself to live the Christian life. If she did that, men and women would be crowding into our buildings. They would say, ‘What is the secret of this?’”
Many people who are new to the church need instruction in the most basic aspects of godly living. Even where churches are engaged heavily in discipleship, visitors and members often have gaps in their understanding and practice. One of the greatest needs of our time is for the Spirit of God to cultivate biblical godliness in us in order to put the glory of Christ on display through us, all to the glory of God the Father.
For these reasons, Joel Beeke and Ryan McGraw are coediting a series of booklets titled Cultivating Biblical Godliness. These booklets treat matters that are vital to Christian experience, and each contribution aims to address a wide variety of people and circumstances at a fundamental and introductory level. This includes teaching people what to believe in order to practice personal holiness as well as specific directions on how to cultivate biblical godliness in relation to issues that are common to God’s people.
The distinctive feature of this series is its experiential tone. While some booklet series aim to enlighten the mind, these booklets aim to warm the affections as well. The goal is to promote communion with the triune God and to transform the entire person in thought, speech, and behavior. To this end, we intend to include a wide range of authors whom the Spirit has blessed to skillfully stir up the church to personal holiness and affection to Christ through their preaching and writing ministries.
We need a Christianity that puts the transformative power of God in the gospel on display through developing a communion with God that is visible to the world. Our prayer is that through this series, the Lord would revive His church by producing Christians who are full of love for Christ, who deny themselves in order to follow Him at great personal cost, and who know the joys of walking with the triune God. This is the kind of Christianity that we need. This is the kind of Christianity that the triune God has used to turn the world upside down. May He be pleased to do so again.
Joel R. Beeke is President and Professor of Systematic Theology and Homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, a pastor of Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and a prolific author.
Ryan M. Mcgraw is pastor of First OPC in Sunnyvale, CA. He is also author or The Day of Worship: Reassessing the Christian Life in Light of the Sabbath.