30 Hour Famine as a Spiritual Discipline


Brian Mateer

Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. Jesus ate nothing all that time and became very hungry.   -Luke 4:1-2

Hands isolated on black backgroundCurrently, I am participating in the historical practice of Lent in preparation for Easter. The penitential season of Lent is a season of the church year which commemorates the forty days Jesus fasted and prayed in the wilderness before he began his public ministry.

During this forty day period between Ash Wednesday (March 5) and Easter Sunday many people choose to fast from various things as a means to reflect on Jesus’ suffering, sacrifice, life, death, burial and resurrection.  Some choose a fast of one meal a day, others fast from meat; some choose to fast from a particular type of food or eating out.  Some may even choose to fast from social media, television, internet or shopping.

In addition to denying oneself by fasting, many people choose to add to their prayer and reflection time, increase scripture and or devotion time, look for opportunities to volunteer and seek ways of giving to the poor.  The practice of fasting, reflection and giving are all ways that we may become closer to Christ during the season of Lent as we prepare for Easter Sunday.

Let me repeat… fasting, prayer, reflection, scripture reading, volunteering and giving to the poor are all efforts to become closer to our savior Jesus Christ. This is what the 30 Hour Famine does for students and youth leaders.  The 30 Hour Famine is so much more than an event, it is a spiritual discipline and practice.

This year my group is signed up and will be participating in the second national date on April 25-26. This is the week after Easter.  Our group kicked off its fundraising effort the Sunday prior to Ash Wednesday, and we are reminding the participants about the significance of the 30 Hour Famine as a fast.

The climax of Lent is the resurrection of Jesus on Easter morning and we will celebrate.  Five days later as Easter people, we will again fast and reflect and give to the poor in an effort to continue to become closer to Jesus through the fast of the 30 Hour Famine.

We are preparing for the crucifixion; we are preparing for the resurrection; we are preparing our hearts to become closer to Jesus; we are preparing to fast; we are preparing to “Release the Feast”!