Fasting


Introduction

 
 
This series, “Bible Cliffnotes: An Easy Practical Guide to Biblical Doctrine,” was conceived several years back when I saw people struggling with understanding the various biblical doctrines vital to the Christian faith.
 
“Bible Cliffnotes” does not represent complete treatises on these various doctrines; I will leave that to those theologians and professors more qualified than myself. Further, each of these doctrines can be found in greater detail in books on Christian Theology, Bible Encyclopedias, and specific books dealing these each of these topics.
 
Instead these booklets are designed to give a working knowledge of these various doctrines in a way and method where both Christians and those seeking after the truth can readily understand and begin to apply to their lives.
 
Throughout my years as a pastor I have read, studied, and presented hundreds of sermons and teachings. Much of the material in this booklet isn’t new but is based on what I have learned over 40 years of being seminary trained, a senior pastor and teacher, and living as a Christian.
 
The material in this booklet can be used by anyone without worry of any infringement. My prayer is that this material can be used to help Christians, churches, and those who are seeking to move closer to all that God has called for them to be.
 

Fasting

 

Fasting for Change: God’s Secret Weapon

As a spiritual discipline, fasting has fallen out of grace and favor within today’s church. Few churches and Christians practice the discipline, and there is even less teaching about how vital and powerful it is.
 
While there are several books written and chapters dedicated to this topic, we hear little about it from the pulpit, and we see it practiced even less. It’s accepted as doctrine, but it’s not being applied in everyday life.
 
This might be because the church in the Western Industrialized nations are into whatever feels good, and the last thing most Christians want to hear about is a message on self-denial and sacrifice.
 
Why is fasting so important? It’s because the human heart hasn’t changed. The human heart is still as deceitful and wicked as it’s ever been (Jeremiah 17:9).
 
The time has come, therefore, for all of us, as well as the church, to start waking up to the sin that is present in our lives, in the church, and in society. We need to start fasting, praying, and turning from our wicked ways, and then God will hear our prayers and heal what we have so badly damaged (2 Chronicles 7:14).
 
Prayer and fasting, along with obedience to God’s word, are the strongest spiritual weapons that exist in a Christian’s arsenal, which is why Satan has done everything in his power to stop it.
 
Unfortunately, when we think of fasting, most of us picture a Mahatma Gandhi-type individual, religious and thin as a rail, with a gaunt face and maybe even a sour expression.
 
Instead, we should picture Jesus, who not only fasted on a regular basis but taught the need to fast as well.
 
As a Christian and pastor, what I’ve found is that if Jesus needed to do something for His well-being and spiritual life, then it’s a good bet we need to do it as well.
 
In our self-indulgent society, we struggle with fasting as a spiritual discipline and resist it because it isn’t easy.
 
While a valuable discipline, fasting is feared and misunderstood because we have the wrong concept about it. We believe we’re going to turn into some radical monk living in a cave wearing nothing but a loincloth.
 
But the real reason is more along the lines that there exists a famine for God’s word.
 
“‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord God, ‘That I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord’” (Amos 8:11).
 
Because the church has left behind this powerful spiritual weapon, it is bereft of Holy Spirit power. Rightly did the Apostle Paul prophesy that in these last days many would have the form of godliness but deny its power (2 Timothy 3:1–5).
 
In this teaching, I’d like to help Christians and the church rediscover one of the lost secrets of spiritual power, the power of the fast.
 

What Is Fasting?

 
The biblical definition of fasting is a person’s voluntary abstinence from food for spiritual purposes, centered on the purposes of God. Abstaining from food is then an outward demonstration of a sincere heart, or inward sincerity.
 
Both in the Hebrew and Greek language, the word “fasting” refers to the practice of self-denial, and generally means to abstain from food. In the Hebrew language it means to cover, and references covering one’s mouth and not allowing food to enter.
 
A fast is taking the time to partake of God’s spiritual feast where our hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness is satisfied even to the point of over flowing. In our fast, we therefore need to allow God to prepare His table, where we have a time of sweet communion with Him.
 
Unfortunately, fasting today has become more connected to dieting than with seeking God. But fasting is not a crash diet.
 
Sometimes when we’re called to a fast, we invariably get the idea that while we’re looking to the Lord and His purposes, we also have a chance to lose some of those pesky unwanted pounds and inches.
 
We need to put these thoughts aside so we can concentrate upon God’s plans and purposes. We need to put the scale away until we are done fasting.
Fasting also confirms our complete dependence upon God. We trust God will sustain us during the fast and give us what we need, which goes beyond our need for food.
 
As one of the spiritual disciplines, fasting teaches us self-control and moderation. Fasting opposes our desires for and the pleasures of this world. Maybe this is why it’s so easily dismissed.
 
It’s said the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. God has given us appetites so we can receive sustenance to survive, but our bodies should never be our masters.
 
While speaking on the subject of sexual immorality, Paul used the enslavement of food to prove His point.
 
“Everything is permissible for me—but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me—but I will not be mastered by anything. Food for the stomach and the stomach for food—but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body” (1 Corinthians 6:12–13).
 
The Apostle Peter said, “A man is a slave to whatever has mastered him” (2 Peter 2:19, NIV).
 
Fasting is God’s way to make sure our fleshly appetites no longer master us, and then to give control of these desires over to the Lord. Fasting’s goal is to have greater freedom in the spirit.
 

The Spirit of the Fast

 
When a person is unable to fast due to medical, dietary, or work-related reasons, it’s recommended they fast in other ways, such as fasting from what is a regular part of their life. Such fasts include abstaining from TV, Internet, or other forms of communication like texting or talking on the phone.
This is where keeping the spirit of the fast comes in. The spirit of the fast is sustained by giving additional time to God’s word and prayer. It centers on the purposes of God and interceding for others in prayer.
 
The spirit of the fast points to the fact that fasting is more than simply not eating or abstaining from certain things. It involves the condition of our hearts before God.
 
The spirit of the fast, therefore, is an expression of grief followed by repentance.
 
Not only should there be an expression of grief over our sins, but also in our lack of obedience to God. In the fast, we need to grieve over our sinful condition and return to God, His word, and His purpose for our lives.
 
“‘Now, therefore,’ says the Lord, ‘Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.’ So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the Lord your God” (Joel 2:12–13a).
 
The spirit of the fast is also where we apply the whole of our being in seeking God.
 
Every fast needs to be led by the Holy Spirit because it is the Holy Spirit who gives direction and purpose for the fast. A Holy Spirit-led fast frees us from whatever is holding us back, from addictions to crippling fears and behaviors. It gives us heaven’s insight into our lives and what’s going on around us.
The Holy Spirit should then lead the fast for God’s purposes rather than our own; otherwise, it’s nothing more than a weight-loss program that makes fasting into a miserable experience.
 
Finally, we should be always be living in the spirit of the fast so that we can live with an attitude of complete and total dependence upon God.
 

God’s Chosen Fast

 
God should choose our fast, not us. Fasting is a discipline instituted by God and therefore needs to be initiated and ordained by God, not by man for his selfish purposes.
 
Through the prophet Joel the Lord said, “Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning” (Joel 2:12).
This is because the prophet Joel called for the people to “consecrate a fast” (Joel 1:14).
 
“Consecrate” means to set the fast apart for God and from everything else. This means God’s chosen fast is one that He appoints in order for us to minister and serve Him, accomplishing His will and way for His kingdom.
 
God isn’t moved so much by what we do as He is by the reason we do it. Fasting loses its power when it’s done for oneself, the wrong motive, or religiosity. This was God’s answer when people asked why it was necessary to fast, because it seemed as if nothing happened when they fasted.
“When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months during those seventy years, did you really fast for Me—for Me?” (Zechariah 7:5).
Fasting is not a way we earn God’s favor, nor should it be used to make God our servant. It’s not about earning things from God; it’s about learning things from God about Himself. Fasting doesn’t force God to do things for us. It’s a means by which we align ourselves with God.
 
I think it is important we establish that any religious practice or discipline like fasting is not as important as doing the will of God. Fasting, or for that matter, any spiritual discipline is not an end within itself; rather it is a means by which we worship the Lord by submitting our fleshly desires over to Him.
 
This idea of fasting being devoted entirely to God and not to our own interests is seen in the fast God has chosen for His people.
The people said, “Why have we fasted … and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?” (Isaiah 58:3a).
 
God answers, “In the day of your fast you find pleasure, and exploit all your laborers. Indeed you fast for strife and debate, and to strike with the fist of wickedness. You will not fast as you do this day, to make your voice heard on high” (Isaiah 58:3b–4).
 
The people ignore the purpose of fasting making it an empty ritual. Further, the people fasted in hopes that God would bless them although they were in disobedience to His word.
 
To make sure they understood what fasting was all about, God tells them about the fast He chooses and pays attention to.
 
“Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; when you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard” (Isaiah 58:6–8).
 
The fast God calls us to:

  • Helps break the bonds of wickedness and Satan’s yoke of bondage
  • Helps meet the needs of others
  • Allows the light of Jesus to shine through us into this sin-darkened world
  • Brings healing and righteousness back into our lives and into the land

Fasting is God’s anointed and appointed means for His grace, mercy, and power to flow into our lives and into the lives of others.
 

Fasting Is Expected

 
When Jesus taught about fasting, it was never “if ” but “when.”
 
“Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting … But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly” (Matthew 6:16–18 emphasis mine).
 
To make sure this point is not missed, Jesus replied to the Pharisees’ complaint about His disciples not fasting.
 
“Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast” (Matthew 9:15).
 
The imagery is of Jesus as the bridegroom and the church as His bride. While Jesus was with them, it was a time for joy. Afterward, however, He expected His disciples to fast.
 
Fasting was also an integral part of the New Testament church. The leaders of the church in Antioch fasted when the Holy Spirit said to send out Paul and Barnabas on their mission (Acts 13:2–3).
 
And so, while we are not required to fast, Jesus made fasting an expected part of a believer’s life and the life of the church in our relationship with Him.
However, the fast should never be done religiously, so it doesn’t become a form of legal bondage. When habit overtakes Holy Spirit directed action, fasting becomes an empty discipline.
 

The Purpose of the Fast

 
When it comes to the purpose of fasting, Daniel may have said it best knowing that the time for the Jewish captivity to the Babylonians was coming to an end.
 
He said, “I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes” (Daniel 9:3).
The purpose of fasting is to gain spiritual insight to help us face a world hostile to our existence. Fasting, along with reading God’s word and prayer, is the greatest thing we can do to get to know the Lord God better.
 
In this endeavor, we have to be careful not to make fasting into a religious activity.
 
The Lord asked those who were returning from their Babylonian captivity who they were fasting for, themselves or for Him (Zechariah 7:5).
 
Fasting should never be made into a religious ritual because it promotes our own righteousness rather than the righteousness of Christ.
 
A fast also isn’t about self-denial; it’s about seeking God, not only for our own lives, but also for the lives of our family, friends, neighbors, community, government, and world.
 
There are several reasons why fasts are called for.
 

To Seek God’s Presence

 
Seeking the presence of God is probably the main reason to fast. Fasting is an outward symbol of our desire to seek God’s presence.
Jesus said that after His ascension, those who were His followers would fast.
 
When confronted by the Pharisees about why Jesus’s disciples didn’t fast, Jesus said, “Can the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days” (Mark 2:20).
 
Since the bridegroom, Jesus, is not with us physically, as His bride we should be participating in those things that will draw us closer to Him, which would entail fasting.
 
The culture in most Western Industrialized Countries can best be described as anti or post Christian, and the church is losing or has lost most of its influence for Christ. This is why a fast is so necessary. We need to reestablish our connection with Him so we can reconnect with our true power source to advance God’s kingdom.
 
This was Ezra’s purpose as well as they readied themselves to travel to Jerusalem.
 
“So we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer” (Ezra 8:23).
 
This is part of God’s chosen fast, to make our voices heard on high through, which the Lord will answer (Isaiah 58:4, 9).
 
When we fast, God sees that we are getting serious in our search for His will and way, both for our lives and for the church.
 
Through the prophet Joel, God said, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning” (Joel 2:12).
 
Fasting helps us get our spiritual lines open to hear from God, and to get our priorities in line with His.
 

To Seek God’s Guidance

 
In the fast God desires it says that the fast will cause God’s light to break forth like the morning rays of the sun (Isaiah 58:8a). A fast is where God’s light of understanding breaks into our thinking, just like the dawn of a new day. It will be like driving away the dimness of dusk, and being able to see clearly what had been missed in the shadows of twilight.
 
Fasting allows us to focus in on God’s will and ways; instead of trusting in our own understanding of what might be going on around us, or what we think the Lord desires us to do. It is a fast that helps us receive God’s wisdom to make our decisions.
 
When the church in Antioch sent out its first missionaries, Barnabas and Saul, the leaders were fasting and ministering to the Lord. The Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them” (Acts 13:2).
 
They continued their fast along with concerted prayer and sent Saul and Barnabas on their way.
 
“Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away. So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus” (Acts 13:3–4).
 
With the lesson learned, Barnabas and Paul continued the practice of prayer and fasting in appointing those who would lead the churches.
 
“So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed” (Acts 14:23).
 
We see that guidance was also one of the reasons Ezra and the people sought God so seriously before heading out from Babylon to Jerusalem. It was to “seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions” (Ezra 8:21).
 
Ezra said, “So we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer” (Ezra 8:23).
 
Fasting is considered good for helping us solve life’s problems with godly wisdom, but it might also be God’s way of working out His plan thgough our problem.

 

To Seek God’s Protection

 

Besides seeking God’s presence and guidance for our lives, another important reason for fasting is to seek God’s protection from enemies. Fasting is a protective weapon against the demonic.

After King Jehoshaphat was informed of a large hostile army amassing against Judah, he called for a corporate fast to ask for God’s protection.
“And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. So Judah gathered together to ask help from the Lord; and from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord” (2 Chronicles 20:3–4).
 
Queen Esther called the Jews in Babylon to fast and pray so she could bring her case before King Ahasuerus to protect the Jewish population from Haman’s plot to completely annihilate them, and for her not to lose her life in the process.
 
She said, “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” (Esther 4:16)
 
God honored these fasts and protected His people.
 
But fasting goes beyond our physical protection and into spiritual deliverance.
 

To Seek God’s Deliverance

 
As we saw in God’s chosen fast, we are to fast to break spiritual bondages. What we are talking about are sins that result in habitual behaviors and attitudes that are against God’s word and that have victimized and enslaved humanity from the beginning of time. These are behaviors and attitudes that defy human willpower and effort to break free from.
 
Many people are caught up in false religions, cults, and the occult. They are oppressed and possessed by Satan and his demonic forces. These are also people that are bound to alcohol and drugs, deceived by magic and spiritualism, and tied up in their fears and resentments.
 
This is one of the purposes of God’s chosen fast to break these spiritual bondages and deliver people from the clutches of Satan.
 
“Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke?” (Isaiah 58:6).
 
Nothing but prayer and fasting can break through and bring spiritual deliverance.
 
Jesus walked into a crisis when He came down from the Mount of Transfiguration. His disciples were trying to cast out a demon that was constantly trying to kill a young man, but they were unable to do so.
 
Upon seeing the situation, Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out. When the disciples asked why they couldn’t cast out the demon, Jesus said that it was not only because of their unbelief, but also such an exorcism can only happen though prayer and fasting.
 
“The disciples came to Jesus privately and said, ‘Why could we not cast it out?’ So Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting’” (Matthew 17:19–21 emphasis mine).
 
It first begins with faith to believe. Jesus said that this is the one thing that they were missing, because if they had the faith of a mustard seed, then nothing, and no spiritual bondage would be beyond the realm of possibility to break.
 
But there comes a time when more is required, and Jesus mentions the spiritual discipline of fasting. Faith in God and in His Son Jesus Christ, along with prayer and fasting are what breaks the bonds and chains of spiritual bondage and brings deliverance.
 
One last requirement seen from what Jesus said is that this must be something that is constant. The verb form in the Greek indicates that prayer and fasting are to be done on a continuous basis, not just once and it’s done.
 
Fasting is one of the mighty weapons of warfare the Lord has given to us for the pulling down of strong holds, and casting down every thought and imagination that exalts itself against God, bringing them all into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
 

To Seek Revival

 
Fasting for revival isn’t what many people would imagine. It is an act of humility, where we humble our souls and spirits before our great and awesome God in seeking His presence, along with His will and way for our lives, and for the life of His church.
 
Ezra understood the value and purpose of humbling ourselves in the fast. The key in Ezra’s mind is the idea of humility; that is, fasting humbles us before God, making us completely and totally dependent upon God for His guidance and protection.
 
“Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions” (Ezra 8:21).
 
Humility is at the heart of revival, and fasting has generally been associated with past reforms and revival movements.
 
We see this humility and God moving on our behalf as part of a promise God gives.
 
“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
 
But if this is God’s promise, and since God always keeps His promises, why aren’t we experiencing spiritual revival and a healing in our land?
The answer lies in that we are not fulfilling our end of the bargain.
 
While confession and repentance are high up on the list, the way that is often missed is that of fasting, or humbling ourselves, along with the discipline of prayer, or earnestly seeking the face of God.
 
We humble ourselves by committing to the fast. And while we may be praying, we’re not necessarily doing so to seek God’s presence, but rather our own needs. Finally, we are not repenting; that is, we’re not turning from our wicked ways.
 
This is the heart of God’s promise in 2 Chronicles 7:14.
 
The unfortunate reality is that we are leaving in our spiritual holsters the two greatest spiritual weapons we possess, obedience with prayer and fasting.
It was such a fast the king of Nineveh called upon to spare the city from God’s judgment.
 
“The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth … When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened” (Jonah 3:5, 10; NIV).
 
To humble our souls in the fast is then key and vital is we want to see God come down in power and move in the hearts of both those who believe and those who don’t, in order to bring about a revival in our day.
 

Types of Fasts

 
It is not so much the type of fast that is important; rather it is understanding what we are fasting for, and taking the time to read God’s word and pray to get closer to God and to hear His word, will, and way for our lives.
 
Further, what we must always keep in the front of our mind when it comes to fasting is that the abstaining from food is merely an outward demonstration of a sincere heart.
 
 
Normal Fast
 
This is the most common of the fasts. It is going without solid food and sticking only to liquids for a determined period of time.
 
Complete Fast
 
This is where a person goes without food and water. This fast is definitely Holy Spirit led, and shouldn’t be entered into lightly, because a person can only go without water for a couple of days.
 
Partial Fast
 
This fast usually omits one meal a day, or going without food for a few days a week. It may also involve eating only certain types of food, like Daniel’s ten-day vegetable and water fast.
 
Spirit of the Fast
 
While this was discussed earlier, it should be noted that not everyone can fast from food due to health issues. Therefore, there are other things to fast from other than food, like T.V, the computer, or cell phones.

Tips for Fasting

The following suggestions are what I would consider to be common sense approach to fasting expecting God’s divine intervention.
 
Prior to the Fast
 
Reason
We should always enter a fast with a general reason as to why God is calling us to fast, and what the fast is for. We prepare for a fast through recognition of our need, and for God’s presence.
 
Also, it is important to realize that fasting shouldn’t be entered into thinking that God is in some way beholden to us for our fasting, nor is it to be used as some bargaining chip to get God to do what we want.
 
Forgiveness
 
Jesus said that if we know that someone has a problem with us, that we are to go make it right before we do anything else for the Lord (Matthew 5:23). This should then include entering into a fast where we’re seeking Him.
 
If we refuse to forgive, then we place ourselves in spiritual bondage. Paul said that if we forgive, then Satan has nothing to hold onto (2 Corinthians 2:10-11).
 
So important is forgiveness that Jesus says that if we fail to forgive others, then God will not forgive us of our sins (Matthew 6:15).
 
Therefore, forgiveness is key in getting ourselves ready, and brings us into freedom and out of bondage.
 
Removal
Prior to any fast it is important to remove ourselves from circumstances and environments that will hinder our progress, like certain places, or internet sites, or television and movies that will cause us to get our focus off of God and onto the world around us.
 
We need to remove ourselves from anything that will also cause us to stumble, and increase worldly temptations. It may be good to take the Apostle Paul’s admonition to Timothy to heart.
 
“Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22).
 
God’s Armor
Having a strategy for the fast isn’t wrong, especially seeing that Satan has his own strategy against us.
 
The Apostle Paul says, “Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11 NLT).
 
Take time to go over the armor God has provided, both defensive and offensive, and then begin to put them on every day. You can find it in Ephesians 6:10-18.
 
Attitude
It’s important that we enter into the fast with the right attitude, which is our not being seen by others as something special or super spiritual.
Jesus said, “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly” (Matthew 6:16-18).
Further, fasting isn’t dependent upon how hard we try to stay away from food or other items; rather it is dependent upon our desire to spend time with God.
 
Eating
We prepare for a fast by starting to decrease our food intake, whether it is a meal or the type of food we are eating. We need to take time prior to the fast to begin decreasing solid foods, and start increasing our liquid intake.
 

During the Fast

 
Prayer
For our fast to be meaningful, we must pray in earnest for God’s intervention and guidance throughout the fast, and for whatever it is that we are fasting for.
 
Ezra said that they fasted and earnestly prayed, and God answered their prayer (Ezra 8:23).
 
But this also involves finding a place and time where we can meet with God, and hear a His word for our lives.
 
Fasting will literally take our prayers, when coupled with faith, to new heights and nearer to God.
 
God’s Word
The fast should also be accompanied by extended time in God’s word, both in reading and studying what God would be saying to us. It also involves taking the journal what the Lord is saying, and then taking the time necessary to pray through what we are reading.
 
Outside Reading
 
I also take time to read other books, generally books on prayer and fasting to enhance my understanding of this time and to encourage me to continue the course God has set forth.
 
Listening
While we take the time for fasting, prayer, and the reading of God’s word, and other godly resources, we need to take all the time necessary to listen to what the Lord may be saying.
 
Jesus said that He would send another comforter just like Himself, the Holy Spirit, who would bring all things to our remembrance (John 14:26).
These words from God may be what we’re specifically fasting for, which we desire an answer from God, but it could also be something God wants for us to hear and obey that has nothing to do with why we started the fast in the first place.
 
So it is important to open our ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church, that is, each of us (Revelation 2:7, 29; 3:22).
The Psalmist said, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
 
There come a time when we need to stop working, and quite ourselves to hear God. We need to quite our mind, soul, and spirit to allow God to speak, and to get ourselves, and our own thoughts, out of the way.
 
Exercise
If going on an extended fast, it is important to get regular exercise, because after a while the body begins to hold onto the fat and starts to eat away at the muscle. Exercise, like walking, going to the gym, even doing work around the house helps keep our muscles active and stops any erosion from the extended fast.
 

After the Fast

 

Eating
It is important that a fast isn’t broken with a pizza with everything on it, or a steak and potato dinner. In fact, any solid food should be introduced slowly, so as not to cause undo stress upon a person’s digestive system.

Obedience
The most important thing to remember following the fast is to follow what the Lord may have been saying during the fast.
The Apostle James says, “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only” (James 1:22).

Abiding
It is important to remember why we entered the fast to begin with, and that is to get closer to God, to seek His presence, guidance, protection, and deliverance. Therefore as we exit the fast we should seek an even closer walk with God.

 

Results of Fasting

 
The following are some of the results from taking time in the fast.

  • To increase God’s presence in a person’s life
  • To receive divine protection and guidance
  • To enhance a person’s prayer life
  • To gain a greater understanding of God’s word
  • To receive an increase in spiritual discernment and wisdom
  • To affirm and confirm God’s ministry
  • To gain spiritual insight into problems and issues
  • To receive divine power for spiritual warfare
  • To take down and destroy satanic strongholds in people’s lives

 

Conclusion

 

The unfortunate reality is that we struggle with this most valuable discipline, resisting it because it goes against the grain of what feels good.
Fasting, however, is one of the most potent weapons we have, and when combined with prayer and obedience, it’s deadly to Satan’s plans. It’s part of God’s one-two punch.
It’s also not some crash diet or some religious fad. It is something God expects of His people and of His church. It has been promoted throughout the Scriptures as God’s way to keep us humble and to seek His presence, guidance, protection, and deliverance.
Fasting confirms our complete dependence upon God and teaches us self-control and moderation. It also frees us from whatever is holding us back from becoming everything God has created us to be.
And while fasting doesn’t earn God’s favor, it does place God on notice that we’re seriously seeking His will and way for our lives and to gain divine revelation.

 

Spiritual Transformation Series

 
Spiritual transformation is probably the most important process undertaken by a Christian. The goal is to grow into the likeness of Jesus Christ. It’s about actively engaging with God and His Word, the Bible, following its commands in and through the power of the Holy Spirit.
 
The Bible tells us not to be conformed to or by any worldly standards, but rather we are to be transformed, that is, a change that happens within through the renewing of our minds and hearts (Romans 12:2), because as a person thinks in their hearts, that is who they will become (Proverbs 23:7).
 
The Apostle Peter says it’s all about growing in both the grace and knowledge of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).
 
Pastor Dennis Lee is writing a series of books and pamphlets dealing with discipleship and doctrine to help the reader grow, not only in their knowledge of God, but also in how to apply biblical reality to everyday life.
 
 
 
Copyright © 2019 by Dennis Lee
 
Bible Cliffnotes: An Easy Practical Guide to Biblical Doctrine
“Fasting”
by Dennis Lee
 
Printed in the United States of America
ISBN
 
All rights reserved solely by the author. The author guarantees all contents are original and do not infringe upon the legal rights of any other person or work. No part of this book my be reproduced in any form without the permission of the author. The views expressed in this book are not necessarily those of the publisher.
 
Unless otherwise indicated, Scriptures quotations are taken from the New King James Version (NKJV). Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. used by permission. All rights reserved.