Summary: Fasting is often the forgotten key in prayer and spiritual warfare. Yet saints both in the Old and New Testaments utilised it for spiritual breakthrough and victory over the enemy. And so can we.
I want to talk to you about fasting under these four headings:
The importance of biblical fasting
The individuals of biblical fasting
The impact of biblical fasting
The intricacies of biblical fasting
Each of these can take hours to unpack but I want to do an overview of each and hopefully encourage you to do sort of fasting in the course of the weeks ahead.
1. The importance of fasting:
Is seen in the Teaching of Jesus and in the fact that He himself fasted regularly.
In Mathew, he said
WHEN you fast...Matt 6:16.......not if you fast
THEN they will fast...Matt 9:15....when asked why his disciples don’t fast. Jesus explained that when the bridegroom is no longer with them, then they would fast.
Both verses above shows an expectation Jesus had that we would fast.
2. The individuals that fasted.
Most if not all of the major bible characters fasted.
Moses fasted...Joshua....David....Daniel...Elijah....Elisha...Isaiah ...Nehemiah...Ezra....
It would take too long to mention how each person in the bible fasted, but be encouraged to do a personal study on the subject.
3. The impact of fasting
Jesus started his public ministry only after a protracted fast of 40 days and nights.
Jehoshaphat....had a large army come against him. But he called the nation to fast and God gave them a prophetic Word....and they supernaturally won the victory. Whilst we marvel at how praise and faith helped them to win the day, we must not forget that fasting was a major key to victory that day.
Nehemiah....built the wall...and his efforts started with a time of fasting.
Ezra built the temple....he achieved their goal, but during the process called upon the people to fast.
In Acts 10...Peter....makes headway and opens up the door to reaching the Gentiles with the Gospel. One could say that the Keys he was given were activated to reach the Gentiles at this point. But it happens whilst he is fasting and praying.
Acts 13...we read about the release of Paul ti carry out his apostolic mission. Some scholars say this was the most significant move met in the church in terms of missions because it had and is having still a great impact on the world, out of these mission trips, Paul established churches and write letters att are canonised today.
One could say that for Paul....His true call was activated.. and it happened as a result of prayer and fasting.
In Luke 4 we see something important about fasting:
V1 Jesus FULL of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness
V14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the POWER of the Spirit...and news about him spread through the whole countryside.
The fast turned from Fullness to Power in the Holt Spirit. And this is what fasting is meant to do.
When a church fasts, it results in:
Greater levels of healing
Greater sense of unity
Greater victories, open doors
Doors open for Revival
Sensitivity to the Holy Spirit
Greater manifestation of the prophetic and other gifts
Many of my own personal testimonies that I have shared with you about miracles, healing and revivals revolve around fasting.
There is an incredible external impact
And an Indelible Internal impact
For the individual tat fasts:
Faith releases More spiritual power
Humility releases More grace
4. The intricacies of fasting
Biblical fasting Involves leaving out food in some way and
Spending more time with spiritual activities...like
Prayer...meditation on the Word....praying in the spirit....fellowship with believers...etc
There are Different types of fasting.....speak doctor if you are on any medication before fasting
There is the Full or complete fast....
- no food at all for 40 days, only water
- Jesus undertook this type of fast
- Was hungry at the end, not thirsty, as he drank water during this time
- this type of fast requires careful breaking at the end...on diluted fruit juices, then soups etc for a number of days before going back to normal eating of whole foods
There is the Supernatural fast...
Moses and Elijah were caught up in this one, not consuming any food or drink for 40 days. This is extremely rare. They were divinley sustained.
There is also the Extreme fast...
This is 3 days with no food or water...
Like with Esther and the Jews
Then a more common type of fasting in the “Daniel fast”....
Where the person will eat no meat or pleasant food for 21 days, or so.
Daniel did this fast.
There is also the Partial fast....
Which can include various ways like having only 1 meal a day.
The Combination fast...
Is using some of the above during a protracted period.
The important thing is to do some form of fasting.
And when you do it as unto the Lord, you are promised an open reward.