Summary: A brief talk given before a prayer meeting on fasting.

Prayer and fasting (Prayer and Praise 1/4/3)

This is not something I¡¦m an expert at. There have been large chunks of years when I haven¡¦t been able (or wanted to!) fast because of

- illness

- tiredness


And there¡¦s no point in doing it if heart isn¡¦t in it

- true, it can PUT your heart in it, if you can start with a grain of correct attitude

ISA 58:3 `Why have we fasted,’ they say,

`and you have not seen it?

Why have we humbled ourselves,

and you have not noticed?’

"Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please

and exploit all your workers.

ISA 58:4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,

and in striking each other with wicked fists.

You cannot fast as you do today

and expect your voice to be heard on high.

ISA 58:5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,

only a day for a man to humble himself?

Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed

and for lying on sackcloth and ashes?

Is that what you call a fast,

a day acceptable to the LORD?

¡K goes on to speak of right attitude and actions

COL 2:20 Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 21 "Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"? 22 These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

So- set your mind on Jesus and your heart in the right place for this stuff! Enjoy it! You¡¦re doing it for your Lord!


To get closer to God. That¡¦s what makes it a joy! It really can help in this.

- if your attitude is right¡K you will really find this LIFTS you

AS part of regular discipleship

- ¡§when you fast¡¨

MT 6:16 "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 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.

- Notice: assumed you will

o = Godward ¡K for Him¡K not for man

To tune your soul

- there¡¦s this sense with all of the great men of God (Moses, Jesus, Elijah) who did 40 day fasts of them tuning their whole beings to the Father¡¦s

o basically the ¡¥flesh¡¦ or ¡¥sinful nature¡¦ as NIV rightly puts it (as ¡¥flesh¡¦ is not intrinsically evil) distracts us from God

„X ¡§the world, flesh and the devil¡¨

- by fasting we deny, tune our ¡¥flesh¡¦, ¡¥master¡¦ it¡K subjugate it

o so that we can be more sensitive to the Spirit

- 1CO 6:12 "Everything is permissible for me"--but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me"--but I will not be mastered by anything. 13 "Food for the stomach and the stomach for food"--but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body

o but please note: we ¡¥master¡¦ the flesh, crucify the flesh, ¡¥beat the flesh¡¦ (1 Cor 9:27, to get the prize)¡K but always respect it and look after it (or we become like Col 2:20!)

To show you¡¦re serious with God

To humble yourself (Cf Is 58 passage, Ezra 8:21)

- to allow grief expression, if you like (1 Sam 31:13, Ps 35:13)

To be more like Jesus

- he did it.

- To copy Him

- To ¡¥enter into His sufferings¡¦ (cf lent)

To cleanse out the body (= a great side-benefit!)

To seek God for something

- holiness

- guidance

EX 34:27 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel." 28 Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant--the Ten Commandments.

- Someone else (vicarious)

Ez 10:6 Then Ezra withdrew from before the house of God and went to the room of Jehohanan son of Eliashib. While he was there, he ate no food and drank no water, because he continued to mourn over the unfaithfulness of the exiles.

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