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Viv answers questions about fasting

June 12, 2010Articles

1. Fasting is an Old Testament practice no longer relevant to the New Covenant.

Jesus endorsed fasting as a lifestyle (Matt. 6:16), suggesting that once the Bridegroom (He) is gone away, then His followers would fast. (Mark 2:18). He even said that certain kinds of demonic entities responded only to prayer and fasting – suggesting that there is a certain authority that is gained in spiritual warfare when we fast. In this story a whole group of disciples (in agreement) could not bring about deliverance. (Matt. 17:21)

2. Fasting “supercharges” my prayers.

Fasting is not a way to “twist God’s arm” to do things our way in a particular situation. Fasting is a way to humble ourselves and to more accurately discern His will in a situation so that you may submit and co-operate to see His will established. Fasting is never about YOU or YOUR WILL. Fasting is always about God and His Kingdom being established in the earth – beginning within me!

3. Fasting is an indication of one’s piety and holiness.

Like every discipline associated with Christianity, fasting can be done in the flesh for fleshly recognition and affirmation or with genuine reverential longing for more of God in your life. (Matt. 6:16) Take the study of scripture: Cerebral word study will give you knowledge – knowledge puffs up (1 Cor. 8:1). If you study God’s Word to know Him more intimately, with a dependence on His Spirit to teach, counsel and change you, you will gain knowledge & wisdom. One feeds the carnal man, the other will nurture your spirit.

So fasting should be an indication of your hunger for more of God, more of His Kingdom.

4. Fasting is a very radical approach to excess weight.

Addressing any addiction, I think the Biblical, tried and tested approach is total abstinence. When we address an alcoholic we rehabilitate this way. We do not try and get him to be responsible for just 2 drinks a day! Reality: Being overweight is the result of habitual overeating or under-exercising, unless we are dealing with a medical problem. Usually there is a particular food (sugar, dairy, wheat) that habitually causes the person to SIN. If your hand causes you to sin, chop it off. (Mark 9:43).  If you “enslaved” to sugar, fast it for a set period asking God to work a work of deliverance within you.

We so fear anything “radical” we have become lukewarm in our approach to God and His Kingdom. Instead of a formidable army we pose no real threat to the enemy and his ongoing plans of destruction and devastation on the earth.

5. Fasting is too difficult and sets me up for failure.

In a world obsessed with “my rights” and awash with a sense of self-entitlement, Biblical fasting, (the denial of your comfort, fleshly preferences or appetite) is a powerful spiritual statement and one the church should be making.

Do not be conformed to this world. (Romans 12:2)

In my experience, fasting with a desire to be finished and free from the stronghold certain foods and certain destructive patterns had in my life, was life-changing! I am learning now to “co-labour” with the Lord on His agenda through fasting and prayer. Small steps of obedience. Great joy!

6. Fasting will slow down my metabolism and I will get fatter.

Any good health book will speak about fasting as a health practise. One day a week. Drinking lots of water. It rests the digestive system in order to release the body to manage the other processes in the body. Even diabetics can fast in a controlled and monitored way. A Daniel fast (fruit and vegetables only) is a great way to start. Starving yourself can slow down your metabolic rate – fasting is something entirely different.

7. Is there anyone who should not fast?

Nope. If a community wish to see an Adult shop move out of their neighbourhood they should gather a group of men who will commit to fasting of any media except the Bible for a period of 3 months. A deliberate, intentional period of avoiding anything even with the “appearance” of sexual compromise would give them great authority to pray for the removal of the Adult shop.

A married couple can, by mutual agreement, fast of their rightful sexual pleasures for a set period for the purpose of prayer. (1 Cor. 7:5)

There may be medical reasons that a person should avoid fasting of food in total, but no reason a person couldn’t fast of certain foods. God is wanting to establish within us a fasted lifestyle – a surrender to Him that gives Him access to much more of us. Fasting is one of the Biblical responses to the command of God to “humble ourselves” under His mighty hand. (1 Pet. 5:6)

8. Should I avoid telling anyone when I am fasting?

Secret fasting is Biblical. (Matt. 6:16-17) This helps cultivate your “God connection” and nurtures intimacy in your love relationship with God. If you have a history in bulimia or anorexia I would recommend that you remain accountable to someone mature in the Lord when you feel called to fast. This is for your own safety. Especially if the boundaries around food are still a bit blurry for you. This will certainly not “dilute” the effect of the fast. “To be seen by men” is what we are trying to avoid.

9. What can I expect when I fast?

You can expect discomfort, inconvenience, “time” seems to slow down. You can even expect that your carnal nature might demand to be satisfied in another way. eg. Denial of food can cause you to now want to “shop till you drop”, but as you humble and control (self control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit) your flesh, your spirit becomes more sensitive. You might find you “hear” God, discern or experience the spirit realm more accurately. Keep yourself covered under the protection of the blood of the Lamb and face and deal with the things that surface within you. Biblical fasting looses bonds of wickedness, undoes the bands of the yoke, sets the oppressed free … but it does not release us from walking in righteous relationships with those around us. It still includes the sharing of your bread with the hungry, caring for the homeless and covering the naked. –  THEN …

Your light will break out like the dawn, your recovery will speedily spring forth. Your righteousness will go before you and the glory of the Lord will  be your rear guard … fantastic chapter Isaiah 58.

10. What should I do during  my fast? 

Keep your daily appointments with God – wait expectantly. Feast on His word. Keep your heart abounding in brotherly love …

11. How long is a Biblical fast?

The Bible records weekly Jewish fasting. Anna was a widow who served in the Temple with fastings and prayer, awaiting the Messiah. (Luke 2:36-37)

Judges 20:26 tells of a fast that lasted until sunset – where guidance was sought.

2 Sam. 12:22 tells the story of David’s heartbreak over his illegitimate son from Bathsheba which appears to have lasted for 7 days. His explanation for the fasting was to beg the Lord for mercy for this sick child. The child died. David washed his face, asked for some food and went to the Temple to worship the Lord saying that he had received his answer from the Lord. It was a “No”.

Daniel fasted for 21 days. (Daniel 10). His answer was delayed 21 days, by a battle in the heavenlies.

Esther, the Jews (and her servants) fasted food and water for three days to stave off the massive demonic onslaught on the Jewish people and the Messianic bloodline! (Esther 4:15-17) Here God’s answer was “Yes!”

Moses and Jesus fasted for 40 days. Moses, twice, to receive the Law that would “guard” the Israelites until Christ. Jesus, before He entered His ministry and chose His 12.

By “mutual agreement” – 1 Cor. 7:5. This is a matter between you, your spouse and the Lord.

Sometimes we fast in community – very powerful. A congregation can fast for an agreed period, for a greater measure of God’s Kingdom to come IN them, THROUGH them. Fasting in “agreement” is the same as praying in agreement, it just cements the “agreement” for the chosen period. (Matt. 18:19)

Recommended Reading:

Fasting by Jentezen Franklin

Fasting by Derek Prince

How to Fast Successfully by Derek Prince

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