The Power of Fasting

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The Power of Fasting

August 11, 2014 at 7:30 AM


We don’t eat because we’re hungry; we eat so that we won’t get hungry!  We don’t eat to live, we live to eat! 

I remember once listening to a Pastor going on about how he longed for Vogel’s bread when he was fasting.

Fasting is a largely forgotten discipline in these days

Although fasting comes up so often in the Bible and was so commonly practised by Bible characters and Christians over the centuries it’s really out of vogue in many churches today.  In fact it’s barely mentioned and most Christians do not expect, and are not expected, to fast, as regular spiritual discipline.

What does the Bible teach about fasting?

Matthew 6: 6, 16

But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

“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. 

Notice how scripture says, when you give………..when you pray………….and when you fast.

What does it mean for us that the Bible says, “when” rather than “if”?

We have no more reason to cut fasting out of our lives than we do to cut out giving and praying.  We should do all three!

We see here that fasting is not just for the super-committed, or the fanatical, or the very spiritual people, it is for all Christians, health issues permitting, just as prayer and giving are for all Christians.

Why would we bother to go through the hardship of fasting?

a) It’s a way of putting God first in our lives and of helping us to seek first His kingdom.

b) It’s a time to examine our lives spiritually.  Israel did this once a year on the Day of Atonement, which was a day of humbling themselves with fasting.

God showed me something I needed to deal with when I was once fasting.  I obeyed God and dealt with the issue and that was a turning point in my life and ministry.

c) Fasting can bring inner revival.  It releases the Holy Spirit to do a special work in us, strengthens our determination to fulfil God’s plan, bring us more into God’s presence and increases our faith to see prayers answered. 

d) Mark 9:29 - So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”

The benefit of fasting here is increased faith and answered prayer.

e) Fasting can help us discover God’s plan for our lives, as we see in Acts 13:2-3, and this same passage shows us that it releases ministers into world missions.

f) Fasting can change the course of a nation (2 Chronicles 7:14).  This has been seen a number of times including the saving of the Jewish nation by Esther’s heroic intervention and in the miraculous evacuation of 400,000 allied troops trapped at Dunkirk near the end of the 2nd World War.

Practical guidelines

Now that you have hopefully been encouraged to continue to practice fasting, or if you have developed and appetite for fasting let’s look at some of the practicalities.

a) Go without food but drink plenty of fluids.  The fluids can be water only, this is called a true fast, but many people have tea, coffee, juice and so on.  Daniel did a partial fast for 21 days when he ate no “pleasant food” (Daniel 10:2-3).

b) If you plan to fast for more than a day or two and haven’t done so before then do talk to someone who has experience with this.

c) If you have a medical condition, do check with your doctor if it’s OK to fast.

d) While fasting, do be sure to spend time in prayer and in God’s word.

e) Expect great rewards!

Tags: seeking God prayer fasting relationship with God spiritual disciplines
Category: Articles

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