Godís Chosen Fast
A spiritual and Practical Guide to Fasting
by Arthur Wallis
Christian Literature Crusade
PO Box 1449, Fort Washington, PA 19034
This is a small but powerful book about fasting. Its author, Arthur Wallis relates that:
There are three kinds of fast:
The absolute fast -- No food and no drink AT ALL, usually for three whole days.
The normal fast -- No eating of foods, liquid or solid, but water is allowed
The partial or modified fast -- No meat, no wine or alcohol, no desserts or sweets. Only fruits and vegetables. But it can also be modified in other ways: skipping one meal a day, for instance, or not eating before noon, or after 3:00, however God leads.
There are many reasons to fast. The therapeutic fast -- to free the body from toxins. And there is Yom Kippur and Catholic fasts days -- times for repentance from sins. But there are other reasons:
Fasting to honor God -- this kind is done to die to self and is usual a fast where no one knows you're fasting. Because everyone knowing you're fasting would be self-righteous and work against the purpose of dying to self. This is mainly about getting rid of our self-righteous or about returning to God after one has forsaken Him. Joel 2:12
Fasting for personal holiness-- this is done when one notices a particularly horrid sin in one's personality and really see the effects of it in one's or another person's life. A desire to be a better person. This is kinda connected with the fasting to change God's mind kind of fast. Remember Jonah. Remember all those folks repenting in sackcloth and ashes. This is when you see something bad coming down the line at you, something you kinda deserve and you want God to forgive you and protect you from the consequences of your actions.
Fasting so God can hear you about a particular matter. If a situation is particularly hard -- longstanding depression, longstanding confusion, mega-trouble or drastic situation-- then fasting to be heard by God is the way to go. Ezra 8:23, Isa 58:9, This is the "fast as warfare" As we pray, we war against ourselves, (our own sufficiency, our own self-righteousness, our own sins. We also war against demonic entities, if any. Remember Jacob and the angel fighting. Now whether Jacob was fighting against God, himself, a spirit, Esaus's guardian, whatever, the spiritual life is a struggle. A lot of prayer is wrestling. Not against God, but with God against ourselves, the evils of the world, bad spirits. And fasting helps this. Matthew 11:12 talks about, "the kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force." That's the King James Version. But it means, there is a kind of divine pushiness, a divine chutzpah which says, "I am going to have what God has for me. I will not let go of this situation (or in Jacob's case, this angel) until God blesses me." At the same time, we are told that the kingdom of heaven is very childlike. The element of trusting God is very important. So the fast makes us push away all our strength, all our self-sufficiency and make us know that God is the only one who helps us. As we fast, we move more and more away from our self-reliance and more and more into understanding God's the height, width, depth, length of love, power, care for us.
There is fasting to free the captives Isaiah 58:6. There is fasting to deliver a person (this is usually when a person is either so depressed, so demon-possessed, so sick or so in the throes of trouble that it's as if they are captured or in jail or enslaved.
There is fasting for a revelation Daniel 9:2,3,21,22. This is done when you need to know something very important...and only God can reveal it.
During fasts, one might get dreams, visions, a feeling of peace or God's presence, a growth in faith, a feeling of being strengthened, a feeling of acceptance or understanding of a certain situation, a miracle or any combination of the above.
You begin to prepare for the fast by getting the body used to it. The body is used to having it's way and during a fast you're telling the body, "for so many days, you will have to listen to my spirit. My spirit SO NEEDS matters to change that I want to show God how important this thing is to me, even moer important than my comfort." So you start the fast a few days earlier by eating a little less so your body doesn't get too much of a surprise. Same thing with breaking a fast. You generally come off a fast with a slow return to normal eating, not by indulging in heavy sweets or meats, etc. If you want you can keep a diary of the fast, if it's a long one and write down all dreams...especially the vivid ones.
Wallis also recommends that to prevent the fast from becoming a glorified diet one must connect with God. Fasting is praying without words. But praying doesn't hurt. Prayer simply means talking to God, telling him all your heart, all your whining, etc. When not praying, it helps to read a spiritual book. You can read the Bible in a modern translation, a book by a good spiritual author. The reading material should be fairly respective of the traditional view of our religion. A book by a respected conservative rabbi, minister or priest, a book by a true believer. Yahweh has called himself a jealous God and He wants us to seek Him in certain places. So avoid anything too new agey or anything pagan or the like.
He states that when fasting we must search the heart to see how long the fast should take. a week, 2 weeks, 3 weeks. And what kind of fast is required. Most people get a lot of success with the 21 day partial fast. It gives them time to grow. But if something is utterly desperate and one needs a quick QUICK answer a three day absolute fast is the way to go usually. The partial fast is the best I think. Best for healthy people and for sick folks. Highly recommended.
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Carole this was a great article on fasting...thanks for putting it down for us to "feast" on. - Jay Cookingham