FASTING

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Key Verse

  • You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Isaiah 58:4 NIV 
Suggesting that fasting correctly can get GOD’s attention. 

Why Fast?

1. To get GOD's attention

  • You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on highIsaiah 58:4 NIV 

Example

  • Daniel: At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over… Then he (the angel) said to me, “Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words.  Daniel 10:2 NIV & 10:12 NKJV
  • Ezra: So we fasted and sought our God concerning this matter, and He listened to our pleading. Ezra 8:23 NASB

2. For stubborn evil spirits to leave/For healing of certain diseases

  • But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fastingMatthew 17:21 AMPC
  • So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” Mark 9:29 NKJV

3. Reward

  • when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:17-18 NIV

4. Receive power

  • Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry. Luke 4:1-2 NKJV
  • Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region. Luke 4:14 NKJV
Note that Jesus went filled but returned in the power of the Holy Spirit.

5. A means of returning to God

  • “Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “Return to Me with all your heart, And with fasting, weeping, and mourning Joel 2:12 NASB

6. For clarity in decision making & blessing upon decisions

  • When they had appointed elders for them in every church, having prayed with fasting, they entrusted them to the Lord in whom they had believed. Acts 14:23 NASB
Other versions

  • When they had appointed elders for them in every church, having prayed with fasting, they entrusted them to the Lord in whom they believed [and joyfully accepted as the Messiah]. Acts 14:23 AMP

7. Means of humbling yourself

  • Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. James 4:10 NKJV
  • I wept and humbled myself with fasting Psalm 69:10 AMP
  • There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask Him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions. Ezra 8:21 NIV

8. To "change" God's mind or any crisis situation

  • The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth…Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.” When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, He relented and did not bring on them the destruction He had threatened. Jonah 3:5 & 9-10 NIV
  • “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”… When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter. Esther 4:16 & 5:2

9. For protection & safety

  • There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask Him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions. So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and He answered our prayer. The hand of our God was on us, and he protected us from enemies and bandits along the way.  Ezra 8:21,23,31 NIV

10. Means of worshipping/serving God

  • She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Luke 2:37 ESV
Other versions
 
  • this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. Luke 2:37 NKJV

11. For Direction/Guidance

  • Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God to seek from Him a straight and right way for us, our little ones, and all our possessions. Ezra 8:21 AMPC
Other versions
 
  • Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions. Ezra 8:21 NKJV

Fasting is an entity on its own right

  • this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. Luke 2:37 NKJV
Though we often talk about Fasting Prayer, Fasting in its own also is an entity.

Fasting Accompaniments

1. Prayer

  • So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven. Nehemiah 1:4 NKJV
  • Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away. Acts 13:3 NKJV

2. Worship

  • While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Acts 13:2 ESV

Fasting optional?

  • But when1 you fast, put oil on your head [as you normally would to groom your hair] and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by people, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees [what is done] in secret will reward you. Matthew 6:17-18 AMP 
  • Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days. Mark 2:19-20 NKJV
The above verses would suggest that Fasting is not an option but an essential part of a Believer’s life. 

May not be hungry during God led fasts

  • Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he ate no bread and drank no water. Exodus 34:28 AMP
  • Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days He was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He was hungry. Luke 4:1-2 BSB

Lifestyle Of Fasting

  • Daniel: Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank Daniel 1:8 NASB
  • Anna the prophetess: She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Luke 2:37 BSB

Types of Fasting

1. Avoid food till evening

  • And when all the people came to persuade David to eat food while it was still day, David took an oath, saying, “God do so to me, and more also, if I taste bread or anything else till the sun goes down!” 2 Samuel 3:35 NKJV

2. Avoid food

  • Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry. Luke 4:1-2 NKJV

3. Avoid food and drink

  • “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” Esther 4:16 NKJV
  • So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. Exodus 34:28 NKJV
  • And he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water. Jonah 3:7 NKJV

4. Other kinds of fasts

  •  Daniel: I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled. Daniel 10:3 NKJV
  • Jesus: I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” Matthew 26:29 NIV
  • for I say to you, I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Luke 22:16 AMP

How Do You Start Fasting?

Likewise do what you can. Start small e.g. Start by fasting one meal once a week.

Footnotes

  1. Note, "when" you fast NOT "if" you fast