Despite the many teachings that we have on the topic of fasting in the Christian world we need to practically ask a fundamental question, Why Are We Fasting? Is there some divine purpose for it? Are we doing it for religious reasons? Is it because the Pastor said to do it? Or if I donít do it my church will criticize me for not being a spiritual Christian? Why do I have to fast? What am I getting out of it? This may sound repetitive but it is not! The purpose of interrogation is to narrow down our reasons for fasting, as well as, finding the clear path to godly fasting.
The God Purpose of Fasting
The Prophet Isaiah outlined the rebellious and sinful practices of Israel in Isaiah 58:1-5;
1. The Bad attitude they had, why are we fasting and youíre not taking notice God(Isa.58:3)
2. The Evil Practices, exploiting people, arguing and fighting (Isa.58:3-4)
3. The Wrong Religious reasons-to humble themselves, to lay on sackcloth and ashes (Isa.58:5)
Looking at this list we know that we should not do things with a bad attitude, evil practices, and religious reasons because this is how somebody did it- so we are to fast this way.
Well, God condemned those practices. Then gave us a list of good reasons to fast which is;
1. To get rid of injustice
2. To release others and ourselves from the yoke of bondage
3. To feed the poor, the homeless and not to forget our flesh and blood relatives during our fast
Then we will experience the supernatural power of God in many areas of our lives;
1. Our light will shine
2. We can be healed in many areas
3. We will obtain and maintain Godís righteousness
4. We will experience a greater anointing in our lives
5. We will have our prayers answered constantly
6. We can receive continual guidance by the Holy Spirit
7. We will be satisfied spiritually and emotionally
8. We will experience the refreshing presence of God
9. We will be builders of projects that endure for a long time
10. We will be recognize as a restorer (Isaiah 58:6-12)
The Reasons for Fasting
1. Daniel fasted several times for different reasons- he fasted to stay away from contaminating himself with the kings un-kosher food (Dan.1:1-16) and as a result, heís acknowledge in scripture for having wisdom and knowledge and great understanding in dreams and visions (Dan.1:17)
2. When king Nebuchadnezzer had a dream that no one can interpret, Daniel fasted to ask God to reveal the dream to him so that he can interpreted to the king and survive and save all the wise-men in Babylon from perishing (Dan. Chapter 2)
3. Daniel continuously fasted especially during the Sabbath days.
4. Daniel also fasted to seek revelation from scripture about the time-line God had through the prophecies of Jeremiah to release Israel from Babylonian captivity (Dan.10)
5. If we practically apply the reasons of fasting as Daniel did- we would please God. We need to stay away from unhealthy foods, we need spiritual wisdom, knowledge and understanding about dreams and visions that God will grant us during our walk with Him. We need to practically fast weekly. We also need to fast when we need further light or revelation of scripture, Especially Bible preachers and teachers.
6. We need to fast to have supernatural power and authority to cast out demons. Jesusí disciples failed to minister deliverance to the little boy because of lack of prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:14-21).
7. When the people of God are struggling and the church or the community is in ruins we should pray and fast like Nehemiah who felt the burden to intercede for Israel to be restored to its glory days (Nehemiah Chapter 1) As a result, God gave Nehemiah favor and a plan to restore Israelís broken walls.
The Practice of Fasting
I remember when I was a baby Christian in 1992, we fasted for reasons that I was unaware of. I didnít read a book on the topic. I just followed two brothers who would have dreams and divine impressions to fast and they didnít know why. So since I trusted them to be men of God I followed along. We fasted 1, 3, 5, 7 days without food, 30 days with 1 meal, and be consistent. One day I asked the Lord in prayer why is it that we are fasting so much?
And God just showed me that we have been given a lot of insight into scripture, we have received a lot of dreams and visions, when we prayed for the sick they recovered immediately, I was bless with a ministry like Peter, John and Paul to lay hands on people for the baptism of the Holy Spirit and they would speak in unknown tongues as evidence. I was granted bible teachings that bless so many people in bible studies and so much more.
My point is that now Iím outlining biblical reasons for fasting. We have a right to know through scripture the proper way of fasting and the true reason for it. We donít have to second guess or do things for religious reasons. Today, being much wiser than yesterday I meditate and seek God to fast, but I also fast weekly two days out of a week. I donít want to sound like the Pharisee that Jesus spoke about in (Luke 18:9-14) my intent is to educate by practical application. A bible teacher-is an instructor, a guide, an example, a tutor, a trainer, a mentor, and a coach who have been there and done that-and is still doing it.
So please donít look at me as some stuck-up man of God who thinks highly of himself. Iím educating you because people really are in the dark about the proper practice of fasting. I will continue to share more about this on a higher level Ė a ministerís level, because there are certain things we need to know about in the practice of fasting as a minister.
Prayer for Fasting
Father, in Jesusí name I thank you for allowing me to come in contact with the biblical bases for fasting. I ask Lord to move me with a divine desire for fasting with divine purpose that will please you and build me into the man (or woman) of God you called me to be. I want to be filled with wisdom, knowledge and understanding in dreams and visions like Daniel. I want to receive fresh insight of scripture so I may properly apply them and be able to teach it. I desire to intercede in prayer for my church, my family, and my community and see Your Mighty Hand move upon the hearts of the people to be saved, healed and delivered in Jesusí name.
I desire to be a light in a dark place. I want to experience Your healing in my spirit, soul, mind, emotions and my body. I desire to walk in Your righteousness. I desire a greater anointing in my life. I want my prayers answered constantly. I want to experience times of refreshing when Iím growing spiritually dry. I want to be involved with projects that will last a long-time. I want to be the restorer of my family, job, church, and community. Grant me wisdom to fast for Your Glory, Amen.