The LORD JESUS said two different times
'WHEN you fast'........NOT ......'IF you fast!!!'
"Now, therefore,” says the LORD,“Turn to Me with all your heart,With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning." Joel 2:12
--FASTING HELPS OUR PRAYERS BECOME MORE EFFECTIVE!
--FASTING IS ONE OF THE BEST WAYS TO HUMBLE OURSELVES BEFORE GOD IN REPENTANCE
12 OTHER REASONS TO FAST:
1. To humble ourselves before the Lord,and repent. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
2. To ask for mercy instead of judgment. (Daniel 9:3-19)
3. To draw near to God and seek His face. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
4. To hear clearly God's will for your life. (Romans 12;2)
5. To seek healing. (Isaiah 58:8)
6.To put on the full armor of God for spiritual warfare. (Matthew 17:21)
7. To seek God's intervention for a national crisis. (example of Queen Esther)
8. To intercede for a loved one ....seeking their salvation or a closer walk with God. (1 Timothy 2:1)
9. To see answers for personal needs. (Ezra 8:21)
10. To pray for our government and leaders. (1 Timothy 2:1-2)
ALLEGORY: FASTING AND THE RADIO
I believe in 'word pictures,' as did our LORD JESUS. Here is a picture of how FASTING can connect us to the right 'frequency' with the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY!
FASTING helps subdue our flesh, and be sensitive to the God's Holy Spirit. Consider an analog radio. When you dial into a radio station you hear a lot of noise and static.. Then as you get closer to the station, the noise fades and the signal improves, and eventually becomes clear without all the background noise. That's what fasting does! As you flesh is subdued, the spiritual and fleshly distractions (noise) fades and the 'signal' from God's Holy Spirit' comes in clearer and clearer . You could say that fasting 'clears the pipes' so we can hear more clearly when God is speaking to us.
PROMISES FOR A GOOD FAST (Isaiah 58)
Righteousness: And your righteousness shall go before you
Guidance: the LORD will guide you continually
Satisfaction: And satisfy your soul in drought
SPIRITUAL TIPS FOR FASTING
--Trade your physical foods for spiritual foods. Instead of feeding your body with physical foods at meal time, feed your spirit by studying (eating) "God's Word".
--Always start your fast with PRAYER:
1. Pray for repentance
2. Pray for forgiveness
3. Pray for the protective covering of the blood of Jesus over your body, mind, will, emotions & spirit
4. While you fast, 'pray the WORD' '.
5. Take the Psalms and personalize them as your own personal prayer
6. Take the money you saved from not eating, and give it as a free-will offering to feed the hungry.
7. Keep a prayer journal during this time to record what you might hear from the LORD and through HIS WORD. Also record your prayer requests and answers.
"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
PLANNING YOUR FAST
Before you start fasting, I suggest that you pray and seek the LORD on:
1) the PURPOSE or REASON for your fast (see above '12 Reasons to Fast)
2) what TYPE of FAST you are to do
3) HOW LONG should you fast
TYPES OF FASTS:
Though there are other 'fasts' besides giving up food (e.g. giving up habits, tv, hobbies, ect.), this article deals with traditional Biblical Fasting.
The definition of fasting is the act of willingly abstaining from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. Anyone with medical conditions need to consult their physician prior to starting any fasts.
A NORMAL FAST is not eating any sold food, and consuming only clear liquids, such as fruit juices and clear soups (broths). This is where you truly humble yourself before God, and subdue your body. This is also known as a 'cleansing fast', which has the greatest physical benefit. No solid food lets your body's digestive system rest and the clear liquids rinse your body.
AN ABSOLUTE FAST absolute fast is no food or water at all. *This is not recommended, * unless the LORD calls you to this type of fast specifically.
A PARTIAL FAST is to omit certain foods from your diet and/or limit your meals. This means you can give up just one meal a day......or just one or more type foods. A DANIEL FAST fits into this category, where he gave up food and meat for 21 days. (Daniel 10:2-3). There is always something that we can omit from our menu, and, in this respect, it is a fast that everyone can participate in.
God knows our hearts, and sees the effort taken to abstain for HIM. HE promises to reward us for our fasting.
"But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others 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." Matthew 6:17-18
LENGTHS OF DIFFERENT FASTS:
--one meal a day
--one day: sunrise to sunset
--one 24 hour period
--three days (Nineveh's fast & Queen Esther's fast)
--abstinence of one type of food for 3 days or more
--21 days (Daniel Fast)
--40 days (Mose's and JESUS's fast)
SIMPLE GUIDELINES FOR FASTING
--Eat lightly 24 hours before you start fasting. This way you gradually get your body prepared to fast. Your first few days will be easier on you if you do taper off your eating prior to abstaining.
--Always check with your physician before fasting, especially if you have any medical needs.
-- Drink lots of water during the fast. This will cleanse your body and also helps with the hunger at the start of any fast. Water will never have tasted so good! Avoid any sodas, 'soft drinks' or alcohol during your fast, these are very hard on your organs.
--When you feel that you need a little something extra, have some broth, or liquid soup.
--If you are doing a lengthy fast, and you feel excessively weak, have a few nuts, not many.....the energy they give will amaze you.
--Every time your stomach tells you it's hungry, talk to God, and thank him for this opportunity to fast. Your stomach will soon stop telling you it's hungry.
BIBLICAL EXAMPLES OF FASTING
1) Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, received word that a very large army was invading his kingdom from the east. Realizing that he did not have the military resources to meet this challenge, Jehoshaphat turned to God and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. The people gathered in collective fasting and prayer for divine intervention. When Jehoshaphat's army came to the place where they were to meet the enemy, all they found were dead bodies No one had escaped. Not a single member of Jehoshaphat's army was harmed, and it took 3 days to carry off the equipment, clothing and articles of value. And the fear of God came on all the kingdoms of the countries when they heard that the LORD had fought against the enemies of Israel. (2 Chronicles 20)
2) God gave Jonah a message for the people of Nineveh (Ninevah was the capital, and the most populous city of the ancient Assyrian Empire): In 40 days your city will be destroyed. The Ninevites believed God. They declared a FAST, and all of them, from the greatest to the least. The King of Ninevah issued a proclamation: Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 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)
3) Queen Esther, queen of Xerxes I of Persia, not an ethnic Persian herself. Discovered a plot, codified by an edict to annihilate the Hebrew people. Queen Esther's response was to call a unified fast. The LORD heard the prayers and fasting of Queen Esther and the Hebrews! The annihilation of GOD's people was canceled and her people were saved! (Book of Esther)
A MODERN DAY EXAMPLE OF FASTING AND PRAYER
On Tuesday 12 January 2010, an 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck the island of Haiti, with it's epicenter 25 km (16 miles) west of Port-au-Prince. The Haitian Government reported that an estimated 230,000 people had died, 300,000 had been injured and 1,000,000 made homeless. They also estimated that 250,000 residences and 30,000 commercial buildings had collapsed or were severely damaged. On February 12, 2010, President Préval of Haiti cancelled Marti Gras and called his nation to 3 DAYS OF FASTING AND PRAYER AND MANY WERE SAVED. Over 1 million Haitians attended this epic event.
SCRIPTURES ON FASTING
"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
"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
"Moses remained there on the mountain with the LORD forty days and forty nights. In all that time he ate no bread and drank no water. And the LORD wrote the terms of the covenant—the Ten Commandments—on the stone tablets." Exodus 34:28
" Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away" Acts 13:3
" Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes" Daniel 9:3
" Now Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wild. For forty wilderness days and nights he was tested by the Devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when the time was up he was hungry." Luke 4:2-4
" 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 So we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer.." Ezra 8:21; 23
“Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the c]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 [d]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.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ Isaiah 58:6-9
"So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them.
Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it". Jonah 3:5;10