Ash Wednesday, for main-stream churches, is traditionally the start of forty days of fasting to observe the Lenten season. I grew up in the Anglican church where it was observed, but when I married into the Baptist church, this observance went mostly unnoticed. If it wasn't in the Bible, it was not something God ordained, so it simply wasn't a "thing" with Baptists or any Bible-based churches.
Ash Wednesday and the Lenten season is a man-made construct but one created with good intentions. It is to be a period of reflection and preparation for Christ's burial and resurrection. It can be a very satisfying spiritual journey when done correctly. The forty days is in remembrance of Jesus' time spent in the wilderness, where he fasted and was tempted to sin by the devil for forty days and forty nights (Matthew 4). But for many Christians, this commitment to "fasting" has transitioned more into a second attempt at a forgotten New Year's resolution. Now people are goal setting (losing "X" amount of pounds in forty days) or giving up a luxury or guilty pleasure of some sort, (taking the bus instead of a car or giving up chocolate). Sadly, what the church began as an exercise in growing spiritually, has de-evolved into how one can best help themselves for the next forty days. So today, I am going to re-appropriate a post I wrote on the true meaning of fasting and share it again here.
This is what God said true fasting should look like: