We are entering a deeper level of Fasting that is not taught behind the pulpit. I know itís not taught behind the pulpit. Iíve been in many churches and they never discussed this level of Fasting. However, it is not that big of a secret because you find this practical Fasting in the book of Acts chapter 13, verses 1-3. Itís right there as clear as day. But do we hear it mentioned? No! Now you will!!!
The Ministerís Practical Fasting
Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
As they MINISTERED to the Lord and FASTED, the Holy Spirit said, Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.
Then, having FASTED and PRAYED, and laid hands on them, they sent them away (Acts 13:1-3 NKJV)
The Example We Must Follow
Here we have 5 ministers, prophets and teachers in the body of Christ who set-aside time to PRAY, FAST and MINISTER to the LORD. To find out what was Godís next move for them in regards to the calling they had on their lives. It is interesting to note that they just didnít continue to minister- teach, preach and minister to people as they were originally called to do. They took time out to find out what God wanted them to do.
This practice found here is what Paul (Saul) was referring too when he wrote his letter to the Christians at Rome saying, How then shall they call on Him (Jesus) in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? (Romans 10:13-15)
What Paul practiced in Acts 13:1-3, is what he taught in Romans 10:13-15. We must be sent to minister only after we PRAY, FAST, and MINISTER to the Lord first. We cannot go on our own just because we think we have to save the world. We have to leave the Saviorís complex home and be submissive to the Spirit of God to lead us to where He wants us to minister. We must always seek God to find out what is our next mission.
We have to think of it like the military, or being a police officer. They are always given an assignment every roll call before their sent out to patrol. The word of God is that practical and parallel to todayís practices that we know to be in different careers. So whether youíre a police officer, solider, a paralegal, or a carpenter there is a foreman, sergeant or supervisor thatís giving us instruction to do the job we were chosen to do.
If we are chosen to do the job it means we are more than capable through the Holy Spirit to do the Job. God does the choosing not us. The Holy Spirit said separate to Me Barnabas and Saul (Paul) for the work to which I have called them. Verse 2
Fasting to Hear From God
Here is another reason for fasting- to hear from God for the purpose of ministry. When we voluntarily give up food and other distractions like-T.V., video games, texting, calling everyone, hanging out and other leisure activities to isolate ourselves and minister to the Lord in prayer. We demonstrate our desire to fellowship with Him alone, as well as with other ministers who are doing the same thing.
I remember when I began Fasting with 2 brothers as they received confirmation from the Lord thru a dream or by inward witness to Fast. We would go as many days as the Lord directed us-3, 5, 7 or 10 days without food and sometimes 30 days with one meal a day -a partial Fast. There is so much to gain from it spiritually. We would receive instruction on what God wanted us to do.
When we Fast we open ourselves spiritually. We are spiritually sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Let me share some spiritual facts that you will encounter during your Fast;
1. You will become a light sleeper or unable to sleep- David said, my eyes are awake through the night watches, that I may meditate on Your word (Psalm 119:148 NKJV) This is not to deprive you of rest but to keep you open and sensitive to what He is about to share with you. When I Fast I was automatically led to think about Godís word. Yes, evil thoughts come to mind it does every day. But I mostly think about scripture many times without me doing it with much effort on my part. This is what David was referring too.
Night watches is- a spiritual sensitivity to see things by way of visions supernaturally like falling into a trance or with your eyes closed a flash of a vision of something may come before you to give you an understanding to what God is showing you. To explain it better Ė as I stood up in the night Waiting on the Lord a personís face or situation that occurred would come as a mini-vision of a story of what happened and I would pray for them.
One time I was asked to host a Christian festival 25 days before the event. I fasted 3 days before the event up until the day of the event. I could not sleep but I wasnít tired. God showed me things that would happen in the event before I saw them happen. He instructed me to pray for ministers first, then for the unsaved people and back-sliders and then for healing (see Acts 16:9-10). It went just as He showed me. Ministers were delivered too and trembling under the Power of God. After the event I was invited to minister to about 8 different places. I went to only three places out of the 8 because that is where God wanted me to go.
2. You will be sensitive to His voice- The sons of Korah said, I will hear what God the Lord will speak: for He will speak peace unto His people, and to His saints: (Psalm 85:8) The sons of Korah prayed and asked for revival and mentioned other things then they said, I will hear what God the Lord will speak. (Psalm 85: 1-8).
When I Fast, meditate on His word, go about my day whether I do acts of mercy like Isaiah pointed out in Chapter 58:6-12, or isolate myself like Paul and the 4 prophets and teachers in Acts 13:1-3. God speaks to me about a lot of things. If Iím involve in a project at work He will give me insight to do my work better, if it is ministry like writing this article I hear a voice whispering sentence structures, outline formats, titles, and sub-titles to outline paragraphs without my mental input or intelligence. Thoughts that I would never have thought about on my own come to mind to write this article and the 62 articles I have written so far on this web-site. Jesus said, however, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears he will speak; and He will tell you things to come (John 16:13 NKJV).
When it comes to relationships God will talk to you too. God told Abraham to listen to Sarah and get rid of Hagar because there was too much strive in the family (Genesis 21:8-21). God spoke to me a lot about my actions and reactions toward my wife. We must listen- if not our prayers will be hindered from receiving Godís blessing (1 Peter 3:7).
3. This practice of Fasting, Prayer, and Ministering to the Lord is not just for high-profile preachers and teachers. If you are a humble servant who wishes to hear from God, simply apply every- thing scripture points out about Daniel, Paul, Jesus, and any other Bible character that fasted for a specific purpose to hear from God and be directed to do the will of God.
This is how I started without me having any big titles. I know God called me to be a Prophet and Teacher and many more titles but I donít get hung up on titles Iím just Manny Vargas a Puerto Rican chico-suave looking dude from the Bronx. Who cares about titles Iím just teaching what God is injecting into my mind right now.
Praying while Fasting
When we think about prayer automatically Psalm 23- The Lord is my ShepherdÖ or Our Father who art in HeavenÖ or Now, I lay me down to sleep I bless the Lord my soul to keep, may pop into our minds.
Okay, without taking offense let us grow up into prayer warriors. And change the way we pray by looking at how Jesus, Peter, and Paul prayed. In most of these articles I leave behind a short prayer. I also shared how Paul prayed in Ephesians 1:16-23, and so much more.
When we Fast for a specific purpose say for a lost soul we would like to be saved or born-again. We need to find scripture that deal with that type of situation and make our prayer along with Fasting for that soul or person. Let me give you an example of praying for a lost soul;
Heavenly Father, You exhorted us by the apostle Paul that all supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men and women; for kings, and for all that are in authority;ÖSo that You will have all men to be saved, and come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:1-2, 4)
You O Lord, are not slack concerning your promise, as some men count slackness; but You are longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9)
You have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; But that the wicked turn from His way and live (Ezekiel 33:11). We pray in the name of Jesus that You grant salvation to Mike, Molly, Tony, or TinaÖ No man can come to You Lord, except the Father draws them by the power of the Holy Spirit (John 6:44). Use any medium You desire a tract, a bible, a servant, the T.V., Radio or some supernatural manifestation like Moses encountered to capture their attention.
We exercise our authority over the powers, principalities and rulers of darkness who is blinding the eyes of those to receive the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ and render their diabolical tactics harmless and in-effective in Jesusí mighty name, binding their lies, deceptions and manipulations that are keeping these people in the dark (2 Corinthians 4:3-4/Luke 10:19/Matthew 16:18-19)
I thank you Lord for providing Salvation for them 2000 years ago and I trust that You will manifest it in their lives at Your appointed time in Jesusí name.
When we fast we need to pray in-line with scripture for whatever we are fasting about. This is what Daniel did. Daniel wanted to know the time-line of Godís deliverance for Israel from Babylonian captivity. Jeremiah said it would be 70 years. Daniel was wondering whether the 70 years expired and partially fasted and prayed about it (Daniel chapter 9-10). God sent Gabriel to inform him about how He was going to deliver Israel by allowing the Persian and Medes to conquer Babylon and eventually release Israel.
The Bible is so practical that we donít have to second guess how to fast and pray. We have clear instruction on how to do it. We just need to do it. Like the Nike commercial says, JUST DO IT!