Do not bring before God stinted petitions and narrow desires... ask, therefore, after a Godlike fashion, for you are before a great throne... --Charles Spurgeon
The Bible has plenty to say about fasting, and none of it discourages a believer from adding fasting to his or her faith. Biblical fasting means doing without food for a specified or indefinite length of time. Some fasts include going without both food and water. Other fasts give up only solid food while drinking water or other liquids. The prophet Daniel went on an extended fast where he gave up only certain kinds of food and drink while partaking of others. The Lord obviously honors any sincere committed effort in the area of fasting.
When we fast Biblically, according to the fast The LORD has chosen, Isaiah 58 says we can expect the following results:
* Bands of wickedness are broken
* Heavy burdens are lifted
* The oppressed go free
* Health Springs forth speedily
* The glory of the Lord protects us
* The Lord guides us continually
With such incredible benefits associated with fasting, doesn't it stand to reason our enemy, Satan, would mightily oppose God's people in this very vital area of obedience?
Jesus was clear that in the area of deliverance from demonic bondage, some devils will not come out--ever--without both prayer and fasting on the part of those who are praying for those who are in bondage (Matthew 17:21).
Daniel needed to hear from God, desperately, so he made an indefinite commitment to fast until he heard from Him.
There are certain illnesses that are nothing more than demonic strongholds, and deliverance is needed before health can be restored.
Jesus said so himself when the woman touched the hem of his garment. He said, "For 18 years, this daughter of Abraham has been bound by Satan...."
The importance of fasting within the Body of Christ cannot be underestimated.
I have heard (and teach myself) that we should be led of the Lord in our fasting (and we should). All Christians, but especially those who fast, should steep themselves in the Word of God as well.
But there is absolutely no excuse for any believer not to have some sort of regular, committed time of fasting in their life. It is scriptural for our leaders to call the people to a fast.
If we have a born again President, Governor, Senator, State Rep or Mayor, and he or she should call a fast (for our Nation, State, County or City), it would be within the written will of God to cooperate with such efforts to seek the Lord's leadership and protection.
Queen Esther called her people to a 3 day fast--no food or water--before she went in to see the King. I'm sure they prayed for her personal protection as well as favor with the King for the lives of all the Jews. The amazing result of that fast is now history.
It is within the written will of God to cooperate with a godly Pastor or Church leadership that calls the congregation to a fast. We see in scripture where the leadership called the people to fasts.
We should cooperate with our spiritual leadership in this vital area (that is why it is so important that we be very certain we have submitted ourselves to leadership that is truly Spirit filled and Spirit led).
Regular fasting should be a part of every believer's life. Jesus said that after he was gone, his disciples would fast. Every believer is (or should be) his disciple.
We are not all Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors or Teachers, but we are all disciples, and Jesus said that after he was gone, his disciples would fast.
But what about the believer who has a medical condition that makes fasting dangerous. The Word of God says that when we fast, our health springs forth speedily. Because of this promise, these believers, even more so, should find ways to fast.
How about committing to giving up a favorite food or foods for a certain length of time or at specified times? That can usually be done safely even while following a prescribed diet. Partial fasts are scriptural.
As long as the fast stems from a sincere heart, committed to obedience to the Lord, why wouldn't God honor his Word in this respect? The bottom line is, none of us are exempt from fasting, and the incredible spiritual, emotional and physical benefits to both ourselves and others are outlined clearly in the Word of God. We just need to heed the warning in Isaiah 58, and be sure that we are fasting for the right reasons and not for our own self righteousness or glorification.
by Jocelyn Andersen