And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. Matthew 4:2 (Speaking of Jesus)
Fasting: The Key to Heavenly Power
Fasting is one of the hardest thing for some people to do, myself included. I have spent over 22 years actively embracing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to this day I struggle with fasting. However, I have a testimony of the power fasting can bring into our lives, if done consistently and faithfully.
What is fasting?
In simplest terms, fasting is going with out food or water for a certain period of time while praying for a specific reason. It is always begun with a prayer and ended with a prayer. Without praying, fasting is just starving and serves no purpose. It is important to fast and pray for a specific thing such as direction or healing for yourself or others. Sometimes fasting is needed to find the courage to do something specific in your life.
How long should someone fast?
Christ fasted for 40 days and nights — he was empowered by being God’s physical son so he could do this without dying. However, if we tried something like that, we wouldn’t survive. It is his example of fasting, not the length of time, that we should follow. We know that our bodies need water frequently or we suffer ill health. Our bodies can do without food longer yet it is not safe for too long. Our purpose in fasting is specific to the cause we pray about with a side effect of being spiritually renewed. It would be defeating the purpose of being renewed if we became ill from fasting too long.
Our congregations follow this simple idea of fast: beginning Saturday evening, we fast for 24 hours or the equivalent of two meals the first weekend of every month. All around the world, our congregations are fasting at the same time in unity of prayer – not always for the same blessings, but unified in purpose to plug into Heavenly Power. We then donate money equivalent to the cost of the meals we didn’t eat to the hungry in the form of a fast offering. This form of charity is essential and will be talked about further in another chapter.
Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substances. Ezra 8:21
What about medical conditions that prevent fasting?
Many people suffer from medical conditions that require them to take medications with food or drink daily and they can’t fast for 24 hours. Others might be diabetic or have some other chronic illness which prevents them from forsaking food altogether. This is where creativity comes to play. Fasting is really about physical sacrifice in order to be filled spiritually.
I read a story once of a woman who was sick. She couldn’t fast for her self because her illness required consistent nutrition. However, all her friends, family and church family fasted and prayed for her recovery. She was so grateful for their sacrifices that she wanted to participate too. She pondered and prayed about how she could fast within the bounds her body could allow. She decided that giving up chocolate for the rest of her life was her fast to show Heavenly Father that she did have faith to be healed. She has honored this fast every day since and has been healed.
I have to eat at regular times or my blood sugar starts dropping and I become ill. This physical discomfort prevents me from enjoying a full fast. I have compromised in several ways. Sometimes, if the situation permits, I just eat enough of specific things like saltines, peanut butter bread or a protein bar along with some water to keep my body stabilized. Other times, I just fast for one meal instead of two. Of course, as I continue walking the path of physical restoration due to proper eating habits and exercise, I expect this blood sugar problem to go away and I will be able to be fully capable of partaking of a full fast. I have witnessed others who need to take medication eat just enough to take it safely.
It is more important to have the right focus and humility of heart during the fasting period than it is in the specifics of when and what you eat. You could fast for 24hours every week by beginning and ending with prayer and still be shallow in your heart. Or you can be fully contrite and full of Christ’s love as you only fast for one meal due to medical reasons and find true heavenly power.
Are you ready to get serious about spiritual power?
Let’s talk about spiritual power for a minute.
Jesus said it best in Matthew 17:20-21 when he was instructing his disciples how to move the mountains in their lives. He instructed them that the only way to do so was through prayer and fasting.
And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto, If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but BY PRAYER AND FASTING. (emphasis added) Matthew 17: 20-21
I went to massage school in 1998 but didn’t immediately take the national exam for certification. Two years later I was ready to get married and needed that certification to start a high paying massage job at a 5 star resort. I hadn’t studied the information in two years and had only a couple of weeks to cram. My fiancé at the time fasted with me so that I could have heavenly power to help me remember the information I needed to pass this test.
Of course, I had to put the effort in and study so that the information was in my brain. However, the miracle was that the Spirit was with me and brought to my remembrance the things I needed to remember in order to pass that test. The morning of the test, I was extremely calm and felt God’s reassuring presence. I didn’t score extremely high, but I passed. This was but a small miracle, but a miracle none the less.
I believe in miracles. I believe they happen every day all around us. I believe angels are all around us ready to give us assistance if we but ask in the right way. The right way of prayer and fasting joined with discipline of hard work, faith and charity.
Fasting can be used to help heal the sick, find direction, bring others to Christ, secure strong families and change the world. It is a powerful tool that we have been given and statically rarely use. Imagine using fasting to help us reach our goals or helping others find the hope they need. Satan is scared of people who fast and he will do everything in his power to prevent us from fasting.
But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom. Psalms 35:13
We must remember to be humble at all times and there is no better way than to kneel down in prayer and fasting with all supplication to the Lord. When we arise, we must be prepared to help the sick, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and bring the gospel to the sinners who need it. Without getting up and going to work for others, we miss so many opportunities to grow.
Humility begins from supplicating our selves unto God in the name of Jesus Christ and then going to work to help our fellow man. I love what Isaiah said in chapter 58. He describes not only the fast but what needs to be done to honor the fast. I would rather fast for only one meal and take that time to prayerfully serve others than to fast for 40 days with no service in my heart. I would get more accomplished in that one meal time span than the whole 40 days.
6)Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
7)Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? When thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
8)Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily; and thy righteousness shall go before them; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rearward. Isaiah 58:6-8
You are invited to join our prayer list. Each month, on the first Sunday of the month, we fast. I would like to invite you to join our fast for the prosperity of this group as well as for other specific needs.
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