I was working on something recently and was reminded of the excellent (and quite brief) primer on Fasting by Bill Bright, presently titled Your Personal Guide to Fasting and Prayer and available for free online right here.
Bright was clearly a big fan of Fasting, and he participated in a 40-day fast once a year for a number of years. His regard for fasting pops up in the first sentence of his resource, where he writes that “Fasting is the most powerful spiritual discipline of all the Christian disciplines.”
Regardless of where you put this one on the priority list (or how we determine “powerfulness” of the disciplines), Fasting can indeed be a phenomenal discipline to teach college students… and to practice with them, whether in one-on-one disciplemaking, in small groups, or even ministry-wide. What a chance to seek the Lord, to build community, to step up a ministry’s seriousness, to let God search students’ (and leaders’) hearts, to “fight together in the heavenlies,” and more!
Have you considered the spiritual discipline of Fasting as part of your college ministry’s available arsenal? There are several reasons this one may especially connect with this generation – its “vintage” nature, its tactile nature, the commitment involved. But more importantly, it seems to have been expected by Christ, we’ve got Scriptural direction in the Old and New Testaments, and it has been a powerful part of Christians’ walk with God throughout the centuries.
And chances are your students haven’t had an awful lot of exposure to this staple of Christianity. So… giddy-up!
Bright’s resource is an easy read and extremely practical – down to noting that Bright preferred a mix of white grape and peach juices when undertaking a long fast. Another classic is God’s Chosen Fast by Arthur Wallis (several versions available new or used), and I remember that one having some real practical tips, too. And when I walked through a 40-day fast several years ago, John Piper’s A Hunger for God was valuable and impactful.