People who have willingly chosen to become Jesus disciples are required to partake
in the fellowship of Christs sufferings. While we are not meant to nail ourselves
on the cross and re-live the suffering by Jesus at Calvary, yet we are asked by
God to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him. Fasting, from many years
even before Christ, was a symbol of a person humbling him or her self to show
God that he or she is sincere in seeking Gods blessings. Fasting is serious business,
but it can be approached with the wrong motives.
The Holy Bible tells us
what false fasting is all about. The Israelites made fasting a ritual and often
announced that they were fasting before God. Even though they had done much penance,
God was not impressed, as if he didnt even notice it! God replied through the
prophet Isaiah in chapter fifty eight, that He hasnt noticed them because they
were living for themselves even while they were fasting. They kept right on oppressing
their workers, even while they were fasting. God asks, what good is fasting when
you keep fighting and quarreling? This kind of fasting will never get us anywhere
with God. They humbled themselves by going through the motions of penance, bowing
their heads like a blade of grass in the wind. They dressed in sackcloth and covered
themselves with ashes, but all this is unacceptable to God.
God tells them
what true fasting is, that is fasting in order to share with the poor and hungry;
to stop oppressing workers and start treating them fairly, giving them what they
earn; to cover with sackcloth and ashes so that the needy may be given clothes
and not to hide from relatives who need help; to stop fighting with one another
and free those who are wrongly imprisoned.
The reasons for fasting still
remain, as mentioned by God. We fast with only one motive and that is to seek
God. If we are fasting to impress people or as a ritual or a test of will-power
this has been and will always remain unacceptable to God. He just wont listen
to your pleas and requests.
Different Kinds of Fasts
are various kinds of fasts:
- the absolute fast, which is without
water or food and needs to be approached with careful consideration as you are
led by the Holy Spirit;
- the normal fast, which is without food for
a limited time -- one day up to seven, and sometimes even forty days, but with
water or liquids;
- the partial fast, which is a limited diet like going
without tea, coffee, delectable fare, non-vegetarian, breakfast, or any of the
meals during the day for a period of time; and
- going without sleep
for a night, spending it in prayer.
Fasting needs to be accompanied
by prayer and the leading of the Holy Spirit. If we make an outward show of fasting,
expecting sympathy from people around us, then Jesus says that our motives are
not right and it is, in fact, hypocritical and motivated by self-interest. We
can go about our daily routine without making a show of fasting and have moments
of prayer if our schedule is busy. The idea is not to make an issue about personal
fasting, whether with lack of food or lack of sleep, but to go about your daily
business with a normal attitude. We are called to fast in secret with a desire
to hunger for God and His presence in our lives.
Such a selfless attitude
enables our prayers to be heard and answered as well. God sees the sincerity of
our heart and He is pleased when our motive is simply to do our best to love Him
with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.
Why Should We Fast
are many reasons why people fast. We have talked about seeking God in our lives.
We fast when we have to make an important decision in our lives. Jesus prayed
all night going without sleep when He made a selection of the twelve disciples.
He denied Himself the normal desire to sleep. Church leaders fast when there is
a disciplinary action that needs to be taken within the Body of Christ in a church.
The example we can give is when Joshua had to identify the person who caused
the Israelites to be defeated at Ai, when God had assured them victory. Achans
sin was discovered to be the reason. But first Joshua and his fellow-leaders rent
their clothes and fasted and wept in prayer before the Lord revealed to them the
reason for their defeat.
It is the same today. The Body of Christ suffers
defeat at the hands of the devil because of hidden and unconfessed sin when we
should be leading victorious lives. When the church leaders fast and pray, that
church is strong and is able to minister to the needs not just of the church but
of the community at large.
We can fast for the nation just as Esther did.
She used her authority to call a fast among all the Jews who were facing persecution
and even extinction to ensure their and her own survival. She succeeded.
can do the same today when the Body of Christ fasts for specific nations so that
the hand of God moves for that nation rather than against it. Wherever Christians
are being persecuted they fast and pray and have victorious testimonies of how
they won over the enemies of the Gospel in amazing and incredible ways. In nations
where Christians are being persecuted, fasting and prayer, along with the preaching
of the Gospel, is causing the number of believers to grow in leaps and bounds
so that the authorities and people in power are disturbed and redouble their efforts
to persecute Christians. But the church of Christ has grown from strength to strength,
and history has enough proof to show it.
When the disciples of Jesus could
not rid a boy of the evil spirit that possessed the lad, Jesus commanded the demon
to leave, and it obeyed. The disciples asked Jesus why they couldnt remove this
particular evil spirit when in Jesus Name other evil spirits had responded to
the command issued to them. Jesus replied that this particular evil spirit and
its kind obey through fasting and prayer. So when we fast and pray we can bring
deliverance in the lives of many people who are possessed by tenacious evil spirits.
They will definitely leave and the person will be set free and Jesus will be glorified.
If you are a believer in Jesus Christ we encourage you to experience His
power through fasting and prayer. You may be a single Christian in your family,
but in the privacy of your home, you can achieve much more than people in position
and power can ever achieve. We encourage you to fast regularly, not just alone
but with like-minded believers as well, making your points of prayer, and you
will begin to see the hand of God move mightily in your own life, in your familys
life, in your community, in your country, and indeed in world affairs as well!
You can pray this prayer with us.
Heavenly Father, I come
to You in the Name of Jesus, asking You to prepare me as a chosen vessel to fast
Let the spirit of intercession be imparted to me so that
Your mighty power is shown. Let the Blood of Jesus be put on the mercy seat of
my heart as the Spirit of God travails through me. I want to touch Your heart,
Father, through prayer and by denying myself in fasting. May I know no other hunger
but a hunger and a thirst for the living God. Burden me with Your desire because
I do not know how to pray.
Birth in me the desire to pray and fast to achieve
mighty things for You. Help me to deny myself and fast. Let my motive to fast
and pray be sincere in Your sight.
Remove all the works of the flesh, carnal
desires, selfish thoughts from me so that I may be empty before You. Mold and
melt me, and break the hardness of my heart so that I can approach You with tears
Have mercy on me, a sinner. Forgive my every sin and presumption,
and make me an instrument of righteousness for the sake of Your dear Son, my Lord
and Savior Jesus Christ,
CBN IS HERE FOR YOU!
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