Summary: Though scripture does not command fasting in prayer, it is back up in scripture that there are some things that cannot happen without fasting and prayer. "You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high"
The power of prayer and fasting
This morning I want us to look at the power of prayer and effectiveness of adding Fasting to prayer.
I believe most people do not understand the biblical concept of prayer and fasting.
Most people either ignore fasting (It’s not for me) or misunderstand what fasting is and get discouraged and do not participant.
Definition of fasting- a voluntary withdrawal from food / and/or drink for specific time period.
Isaiah 58 is a conversation God had with the prophet Isaiah concerning a rebellious Israel.
Isaiah was told to declare to Israel their rebellion.
Fasting was a common practice at that time and we pick up their conversation starting at verse 3-7.
Israelites are fasting and wondering why God doesn’t see or hear them.
Why their prayers were not being answered.
God is telling them, your rebellious, you have no desire to stop being rebellious, and you wonder why prayers are not working.
“You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high.”
Though fasting is not commanded, there is scripture to back up the fact that some things won’t happen without fasting and praying.
You want kingdom work done, you need the power of God working.
It comes by fasting and praying that God’s will be done.
Mark 2:18-20 (paraphrased)
John’s disciples are fasting, Pharisee’s are fasting and some were asking Jesus “How is it John’s disciples, and the disciples of the Pharisee’s are fasting, but yours are not?”
Jesus replies, “But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and on that day they will fast.”
Jesus knew there would be a time that he would not be here physically with His disciples, “THEN THEY WILL FAST.”
Those days church we are living in! The bridegroom is absent and we need the spiritual power that comes from God by prayer and fasting.
Prayer is a spiritual discipline.
Fasting is a spiritual discipline. WE JUST DON’T LIKE DISCIPLINE!
Spiritual discipline is a by-product of the Holy Spirit working in our lives.
We admire it in others
We know we are commanded to have discipline in our lives.
We know that it is a process that God uses to train us to do kingdom work and be kingdom minded.
If we do not understand what is to be accomplished by fasting, we will crumble like the Israelites and call out to God because He is not “listening to us”
Let’s get some groundwork on fasting and prayer
1 day fast- judges 20
3 day fast- Apostle Paul did after getting saved in Damascus in the book of Acts.
40 day fast- only water/ no food
40 day fast with no water and no food- will kill you. That is a miracle recorded in the Bible.
I know several people that claim that they have done a 40 day fast with only water or juices.
Bill Bright- founder of Campus Crusade for Christ
James Dobson- Focus on the Family
Jerry Falwell- Liberty College
Almost anyone can fast if they plan correctly and seek God’s wisdom.
Partial fast would be good for those that are diabetics. You omit certain foods for awhile, but not others so you physically don’t harm yourself.
You can fast certain meals- breakfast, lunch, or a dinner.
You can fast your favorite meal for a time.
The purpose of the fast is not just not eat. It is to deny the physical in order to focus on th spiritual (repeat)
If you want to benefit spiritually, you take the time that you would have eaten and transfer it to prayer and seeking God for direction in a certain area of your life.
1. We fast for more obedience to Jesus teachings Matt 6
2. We fast to demonstrate dependence on God- James 4:10
3. We fast for repentance of sin- Daniel 9
4. We fast for God’s wisdom and direction- Acts 13
5. We fast for deliverance in time of crisis. 2 Chronicles
God gives us tools to use to effectively live our lives, and fasting is a tool to effectively enhance our prayer life and commitment to God.
When we fast, it is not long before the tummy says “feed me” that is a physical test of fasting. Will you feed your flesh or rely on God for His strength.
It is a way for us to discipline our bodies for spiritual battles God needs us to fight.
Fasting and praying is a biblical discipline to have delayed gratification.
Something this society and this world has had a hard time dealing with.
Advertisements that tell us to “have it your way” “You deserve a break today”
All lead us to believe that life is all about us instead of seeking God for direction and service to Him.