Fasting

Understanding Biblical Fasting

 

I greet you in the Name of Jesus.

I know that some of you might be struggling with getting into a routine of studying the Word and praying daily. Scientists tell us that it takes twenty-one (21) days to form a habit and forty-two days to get rid of an old habit. It takes twice as much time to get rid of a habit than it does to begin on. Although that sounds discouraging the good news is this; Firstly, all you have to do is to form a new habit to displace the old instead of trying to fight. Example is, if you were in the habit of watching television for six hours every evening and now you want to reduce that habit instead of just trying to stop you can form a new habit of putting in some reading time and within twenty-one days you can comfortably enjoy your new habit without feeling the loss of the old one.

Secondly, as Christians, we have the anointing that enables us to replace old things with new ones. When you ask the Lord to help, you will find that it is a lot easy to change. Romans 12 says, “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” in other words when I renew my mind with the Word of God I begin to change and become another person. Now is that not awesome! You are not alone in this walk God is with you and He is at work in you, and we know that “He that has begun a good work in you will bring it to completion unto the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” the Holy Spirit is at work in you making real all the things that God desires to fulfil in your life.

Now the three stage plan to walking in the Word and prayer.

  1. Do it as a DUTY. That means you know that it is your duty as a Christian to pray and God requires you to do what is your duty, it is not a matter of choice, it is mandatory.
  2. When you do your duty well you get into the DISCIPLINE of doing the right thing. A discipline is something that your system can do almost without prompting; at this stage you have formed a habit.
  3. When the habit is done consistently it becomes a DELIGHT and this is where you begin to enjoy yourself. Prayer, reading the Word, witnessing, serving and all the other things cease to be a duty they become a delightful discipline that you enjoy doing. So don’t give up if you feel you are at duty stage. Tell that body you will read the Word and study and pray whether you like it or not. Sooner or later it will submit and say ok, ok, ok I like it. It’s called putting the body under! The Bible say’s delight yourself also in the Lord and He will grant you the desires of your heart.

Let’s get in the Word  

Read Isaiah 58 verse 5 -12 and Mathew 6 the whole chapter and Acts 13 verse 1-4 The subject of fasting is one of those areas where we have never really taken time to focus on and study, so I would like to just do a brief study of the same to help you get the best results from your fast.

We have a biblical pattern in the Word of how the saints fasted and got wonderful results. I believe that fasting does not change God because he said “I am the Lord I change not…” but fasting can and should change us thereby positioning us to receive from God that which is prepared for us. You will also notice that fasting often went along with repentance and humbling oneself before God, which is one of the reasons why there is often an infusion of the power of God into our situations. Fasting also make our spirits more sensitive to the voice and instruction of the Holy Spirit thereby helping us to walk in Gods divine will and purpose.

Look at the notes below and meditate on them and let God minister to you. I sense so strongly in my spirit that the Lord has brought us as a people to a defining moment, a time where He will establish certain things in our lives. Read Isaiah 62 with special note of verse 6-7

Isaiah 62:6-7 KJV I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence, (7) And give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.

There is a work that God is doing in the church and He needs some people to stand and pray it through. We are on the verge of a ‘God outbreak’ that will take us to another place in all that we do. I am determined not to draw back but to press in and possess my stuff. I want my portion of God and of the anointing that He has prepared for me. So as we fast let us be mindful of these things that the Lord is doing in the church.

At the end of these notes I will high light some of the things that I believe we will see happening in the near future as we walk on with God and in God. Do you have you pen and highlighter and Bible? GOOD, so let’s dive into the Word and be transformed.

PERSONAL FAST

Let us now look at a personal fast. In Matthew 6:16-18 Jesus talked of the personal fast.

Rewards for personal fasting can be viewed at two different levels. One is the open admiration of men. Remember, once men are impressed, God is no longer impressed.

Secondly, an open reward comes from God when you fast in secret.

One thing we must get clear is that fasting in the New Testament is not for chastisement. Old Testament and New Testament repentance are two different things. Old Testament repentance meant to be sorry to the point of self-infliction or mourning. New Testament repentance means to completely turn around, to change your mind. Chastening in the New Testament means to instruct. God uses His Word to teach (or instruct) you. Isaiah 58:8 say’s that when you fast, your health will spring forth speedily. Fasting causes the spirit man to gain ascendancy over the flesh. Faith for healing and any other miracles is easy when you are walking in the spirit, but when we are carnal, sense-ruled believers, it is not easy to walk in victory.

Let us look at a scripture that has had many Christians running around in circles and scratching their heads. For a while I was always uncomfortable about this scripture myself until the light came, then I was set free. Read Mark 9:14-29.

Here, we see a situation where the disciples could not cast out a demon. When they asked Jesus why they couldn’t cast out the devil (verse 28) He didn’t say, “Because you haven’t fasted”. If it were fasting that cast out the demons, we would have powerful demon-casters in the church or among the Hindus. The reason is in verse 19 – because of their unbelief! He had already given them the power to cast out devils (Luke 10:19).

They had been letting their flesh rule them. They were not fasting and praying and meditating on what Jesus had told and taught them. By fasting regularly one is able to stay connected to the power source – the Holy Spirit. The Bible says in Acts 1 vs. 8, you shall receive power after you have done a forty day fast? No! It is after the Holy Spirit is come upon you as a born again Spirit filled child of God you have power at work inside of you but if you are living as carnal Christian you will not be effective in doing your assignment on earth.

Now here is a word of caution to you. Someone might take what I have said and get into a rut and have endless fasts.

This is not what the scripture is teaching us and this will create an opening for devils to begin to operate in your life and deception and pride will distract you. The pivotal point about fasting is that God expects you to live a fasted life not a life of fasting. A life of fasting involves having to regularly get your flesh under. A fasted life, however, is a much better life. You should come to a place in your Christian walk where your flesh is under, and stays there it does not dominate your spirit man. When your spirit man is in control, you walk in the spirit and you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh. This will mean that the actual ‘fasting’ practice will not be so occasional in your life as in a life of fasting.

A fasted life is developed by spending time in the Word and ministering to the Lord in worship and prayer. It means prioritizing the things of God in your life.

Actually, when you read the word of God you will realize that it is calling you to live a fasted life. You fast your temper, anger and rights, you fast bad words, friends and habits, you fast forms of entertainment that take you away from Gods plan. You fast too much sleep and laziness. The list could go on but when you choose to abstain from these things for the purposes of fellowship and intimacy with God you are fasting. An important thing to note is that when you fast, spending time with God and His Word, the faith of God will begin to rub-off onto you. Unbelief will be crucified you will begin to walk in a new realm of authority and power!

STEPS TO EFFECTIVE FASTING

To help you in effective fasting, here is a five-step checklist. To put yourself in a position to receive from God spiritually, you can take these steps and order your thinking by them.

  1. Decide the purpose of the fast.
  2. Proclaim the fast before the Lord.
  3. Believe you receive the reward (Matthew 6:18) – before the fast. The purpose of the fast will have a great deal with the rewards involved. If you are fasting for revelation knowledge, the reward would be receiving the knowledge you desire.
  4. Minister to the Lord (Colossians 3:16). When you begin to praise and minister to God, He will get involved with you. Jehoshaphat and his nation praised the Lord
  5. Minister to others. Always minister to others after the fast. You need to use the spiritual power within you to meet the needs of the people. Minister to others during the fast only as you are led of the Father to do so. As you fast the Holy Spirit gives you power – and you bear the fruit. (Galatians 5:22-23)

WHY FAST?

  1. HE said we should.
  2. We buffet the body and build our spirits.
  3. We kill natural appetites that fight against Gods plan for us.
  4. We sensitize ourselves the voice of the Holy Spirit.
  5. We tap into the supernatural power of God.
  6. We activate the miraculous.
  7. We step out of the spiritual ruts that we’ve fallen into.
  8. We step out of a backslidden state and stir up our passion for God.
  9. We realign our priorities (some of you have gone out of the will of God for your lives).
  10. We fast to ordain and lay hands on ministers as we send them forth.

HOW TO FAST

Now, there are two categories of fasting, a proclaimed fast and a personal fast.

Evidence of a proclaimed fast can be found in Joel 1:14 and that of a personal fast in

Matthew 6. In this there are also two forms of fasting related to food:

PROCLAIMED FAST

Let us look at a case of a proclaimed fast. A proclaimed fast is for the purpose of bringing believers into a place of hearing from God or receiving direction and help. In

Acts 13 they fasted and God gave them direction then they fasted and prayed some more and laid hands on Paul and Silas and they went out and changed the known world. When you find out how to pray about the situation, you can then move in the same area of faith in one accord. In Isaiah 58 we see some guidelines that help you to understand what to do, so read it again and note of some of the important factors. Like giving, ministering to the oppressed just to mention a few.

2 Chronicles 20:1 – 6 (KJV)

We see the children of Israel fasting during a time of national danger and God delivered them from the trouble and blessed them materially

Three types of fasts

The Normal Fast: There are very few rules when it comes to fasting. What you do is really between you and the Lord. There is only one fast command in the Bible and that was the fast on the Day of Atonement. This fast was from sunset of one day to sunset of the next (Leviticus 16:29; 23:32).

Since then, people usually don’t eat during the night that makes the fast fairly easy, since you can eat again in the evening before retiring to bed. So in this type of fast the person abstains from food and liquid for a period of one day (from sunset to sunset). This is a normal fast.

The Partial Fast: In this type of fast, the emphasis is placed on restriction of diet, rather than abstaining completely from eating. Examples are: Daniel, Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego eating only vegetables and drinking only water (Daniel 1:15) and later on when Daniel alone practised a limited diet for three weeks (Daniel 10:3). Some people would argue that this isn’t really a fast at all, but (Daniel 10:3) does use the word “mourned” which is a Biblical occasion for fasting and a common synonym for fasting.

The Absolute (Radical) Fast: This type of fast is one in which the person refrains from both food and water OR simply food (but not water) for an extended period of time. A radical fast can be harmful to your health and in most cases should not exceed three days. An example of a radical fast can be found with Esther and her household. Esther decided to fast for three days abstaining from both “food and water” both “day and night” (Esther 4:15-16). The rabbi Ezra and the apostle Paul also went without food and water for three days (Ezra 10:6-9; Acts 9:9). David is another example of a radical fast. He went seven days without food (but probably with liquid) as a plea to God to save the life of his child (2 Samuel 12:15-20). Fasts that extend beyond three or seven days can be found in the Bible, but these exceptions were based upon direct guidance from God or a supernatural ability given by God to complete the fast. Examples of these extreme fasts are: Moses (Deuteronomy 9:9-18 and Exodus 34:28); Elijah (1 Kings 19:8); and Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11).

I recommend that you take some sweets for fresh breath. When you break in the evening take reduced portions of what you normally would eat don’t fill your stomach.

Do take extra time in the Word and prayer seeking the Lord and letting God speak to you. Keep a notebook and pen handy as the Lord will give you instructions, do reduce your television viewing, for some of you it will help to totally stop some programs as they are hindering your spiritual progress. If you sense a discomfort on some normal routine habits, programs and people stop and inquire of the Lord.

As many as are led by the Spirit of God they are the sons of God. Find some brothers and sisters in the Lord and take time to pray together and encourage one another in the Lord (no two people of the opposite sex alone unless married).

MEDICAL COMMON SENSE TO FASTING

Finally, there is some medical commonsense that has to be applied to fasting so that you do not do harm to your body. God wants you healthy to serve Him and He expects you to take care of your body.

  • If you have never fasted for a whole day before, don’t try fasting for three days unless expressly commanded by God. Build up your fast progressively.
  • A complete fast should never be more than three days long. After three days your body begins dehydrating and it can be injurious to your health.
  • A long fast should be broken gradually with light foods. Do not attempt to take heavy food as this can cause stomach upsets.

WHEN DO YOU FAST?

When there is a prompting from the Holy Spirit.

When there is a desire to move to another level.

When there is a need for instruction, direction and wisdom.

When there is danger, trouble, plague or pestilence.

When there are seasons of consecration and dedication.

WHILE YOU FAST (Read Mathew six)

Take time to give

Take time to pray

Take time to read the Word

Take time to serve and minister

Take time to fellowship with like-minded people

Take in fluids (water)

Do not be overly caught up with natural things

Do not let TV friends and other things distract you

Do not overeat during the break time

Do not let tempers and moods govern you

Do not let the flesh rule you

AFTER YOU FAST

Don’t overeat

Don’t go back to normal

Continue your pursuit of God

Continue with a rich Word diet

Do the things that God instructed you to do during the fast

Prayer points

The revival we are in

I believe that God is at work in Africa to raise the church to a new level of impact and influence that will bring many people to the knowledge of God. Just like we see in the Bible and in the book of Acts we will see millions of people transformed by the gospel.

God desires to see the church (body of CHRIST) get up and become a blessing. Acts 2 vs. 42 Acts 19 Acts 13 vs. 1»

New level of impact and influence;

Access and open doors;

Schools, colleges and universities;

Flats, homes and workplaces;

Miracles and breakthroughs;

Financial increase in peoples’ lives; financial revival

Job and career miracles; 100% employment and fruitfulness

Asset acquisition (cars, houses, land, furniture and personal items);

As people who are in covenant with God and walking with Him: Deuteronomy 8 vs. 18 becomes a reality;

Outbreak of miracles and healings as we minister to people;

Increase in evangelism and soul winning;

And leaders that are bold confident, proactive and clear about the vision.

REVIVAL

Personally, corporately and nationally

Revival of the Word

Revival of Prayer

Revival of the Holy Ghost

Revival of signs and wonders

Revival of fellowship and discipleship

Revival in finances and resources

Finally, brethren be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might don’t give up. Let us press-in together and obtain our reward. God is at work in our lives and much will be accomplished as we pursue Him. Remember He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.

So mightily grew the WORD of God and prevailed

 

Dr. Tich Tanyanyiwa



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