Christians can go for a whole month without fasting, some even a whole year, and this can make you wonder…are we just more carnal? Is fasting still necessary? I believe we have lost a part of our relationship with God that is just as important as prayer. The power of praying and fasting is still as evident today as it was with our spiritual forefathers. The Bible regards it as a normal part of Christian living, and Church history indicates that the Church practised regular fasting for several centuries after the Ascension. Read on…
PRACTICAL TEACHING ON FASTING
Prepared from teaching by Derek Prince.
Fasting is abstaining from food for spiritual purposes. (Although there are biblical accounts of people fasting from food AND water, we will consider abstaining from food only). People can fast together in a group fast, or individually. People can fast at a set time each week, or at special times as the Holy Spirit leads.
HOW SHOULD I PREPARE FOR A FAST?
Matthew 6:17-18. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
That is a very clear promise. If you fast in the right way and with the right motives, God will reward you openly. Also remember if you fail to fast, you are depriving yourself of a reward, because God can’t reward you if you don’t meet His conditions. It is God’s will for me to fast and God will bless me when I do fast in accordance with his will.
I NEED TO APPROACH A FAST WITH FAITH IN GOD.
Hebrews 11:6 and without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.
If you diligently seek God, He will reward you -that is guaranteed! This reward may be different to what you expect, but it will be God’s reward, and nothing can be more beneficial for us than that. When we begin to fast with a positive attitude of faith that we are doing what Scripture teaches, that we are obeying the revealed will of God, and that God Himself will reward us, then we can expect the specific rewards that are listed in Isaiah 58.
WHO SHOULD EXERCISE CAUTION WHEN FASTING?
If you have certain types of physical problems, e.g. diabetes, or if you are on some kind of regular medication, you should consult your doctor and get his advice before you begin to fast. There will be some people who will not be able to practice fasting. I believe that it is the responsibility of other Christians to fast for those who cannot.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF FASTING?
Before fasting choose your objectives in fasting. Here are some Biblical objectives:
1. Humility: David said “I humbled my soul with fasting“. God will not humble us as He has told us to humble ourselves. If you fast with the right motive, and in faith, you can humble yourself, and when you do this God will lift you up.
2. Proximity: James 4:8 Come near to God and He will come near to you.
3. Revelation: When you fast God will give you greater and deeper understanding of His word.
4. Direction:To find God’s will and to receive direction in your life.
5. Deliverance: Mark 9:29 this kind can come out only come out by prayer and fasting. Before Jesus Himself entered on His ministry of healing and deliverance, He fasted and prayed for forty days.
6. Intervention: When we need God’s in some particular crisis, or when some tremendous problem has arisen, which we can’t handle by ordinary means.
7. Intercession: Praying for others. E.g. An unsaved relative. Are you willing to do something that will cost you on behalf of your loved one?
WHAT TO DO DURING A FAST
a. Read your Bible and Pray Bible reading “anoints your spirit” and gets your mind in line with God. Your prayer will normally be much more effective after Bible reading.
b. Guard against spiritual attack. Hell does not like it when we fast. It’s that powerful. Satan will try and prevent you from doing it, through temptation and emotion. Don’t yield! God is on your side; God loves you; God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. This is true whether you feel it or not. Don’t let feelings turn you away.
c. Keep it between you and God. Don’t let everybody know that you are fasting. Some people will have to know, but don’t make a show of it. Don’t make a display of it.
d. Rest if you can, and exercise of you can! Take a walk and get some fresh air and at times get some rest.
e. Drink lots of water. This has the effect of flushing out your kidneys and generally cleaning out your body. Try to avoid coffee or tea as both are strong stimulants. You will get more physical benefit from your fast if you avoid these.
Remember, normally speaking, with a few exceptions, fasting does not prevent you from doing the things that you would ordinarily be doing.
HOW SHALL I BREAK A FAST?
This is a very important part of fasting. You may lose a lot of the benefits that are due you from fasting if you break your fast unwisely.
After fasting always begin with a light meal, even if you have fasted only a short period. Don’t begin with anything cooked or greasy or fat or heavy. Preferably begin with a raw salad or fruit.
ONE LAST POINT.
HAVE A BLESSED FAST.