Fasting has been an integral of human history from ancient times. The Jewish people, Christians and Muslims alike have practiced the art of fasting for many generations. In the Jewish culture and Christianity fasting has been embraced in accordance with Old and New Testament teachings from the time of Moses (Exodus 34:28), unto the time of Christ (Luke 4:1-2), and the Apostles (Acts 14:23). Muslims have also practiced fasting from ancient times during Ramadan for generations. Contrary to fasting that is practiced by Christians and Jews, Muslims fast during the 9th month of the Islamic calendar, which lasts from 29-30 days, during which time they refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex. Fasting as practiced by Muslims is intended to teach about patience, spirituality, submissiveness, and humility to God. Whereas, the fast that the Jewish people and Christians observe is for the purpose of transforming lives, cleansing, purification, deliverance, spiritual empowerment, the supernatural release of God's power, divine healing and producing "fruit" that exemplifies Godly character. Other reasons why fasting is important according to the Holy Bible are to crucify the flesh, hear the voice of God, strengthen one's faith, to discipline the soul and produce a healthy lifestyle. I am convinced when God's people fast and pray to seek His face and not His hand deliverance and healing becomes a reality in every area of your life.
2Ch 7:14 , "and [if] My people, My God-defined people, respond by humbling themselves, praying, seeking My presence, and turning their backs on their wicked lives, I'll be there ready for you: I'll listen from heaven, forgive their sins, and restore their land to health." (Message Bible)
2 Chronicles 7:14, "If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
Fasting gets amazing results when it's practiced according to Scripture.
It provides healing and restoration in the lives of God's people.
Matthew 17:14-21, says, "And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting."
In the context of this particular passage of Scripture the disciples weren't able to cast the devil out of the boy due to a lack of spiritual preparation through prayer and fasting, which lets us know that if we want to obtain real results in spiritual conflict and battle with the wicked one we must be willing to fast and pray so that the impossible becomes possible, and we can obtain maximum and out-sized results.
God, speaking through the prophet Isaiah in the book of Isaiah 58:1-14, says, v.1 Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. 2 Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God. 3 Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your laborers. 4 Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. 5 Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD? 6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? 7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? 8 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy re-reward. 9 Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;10 And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: 11 And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not." (Refer to Isaiah 58:12-14 of the Bible)
First of all, the prophet Isaiah begins to correct Israel's concept of fasting in verses 1-5, which was really selfish and ignored the real needs. God wasn't pleased with their religious formalities that were steeped in tradition, because they fasted for "strife and debate" as is depicted in verse 4. In addition, all forms of political, social and economic injustice was taking place just as it is today, but in verses 6-14, Isaiah begins a discourse clarifying the meaning of true fasting for Israel, one that God had chosen stipulating the kind of fast that would be acceptable to Him.
It is very important for us to understand how to truly seek God's face
and embrace the kind of fast that is acceptable to Him. Here are a few conditions which are described as being a part of a successful fast God's way:
having mercy benevolence kindness self-denial set the captives free
honoring the Sabbath pure worship true love of God
If we ascribe to the kind of fast that God requires then we will experience the magnificent results that God promised to give us.
The results He promised in return are as follows:
Light promised health promised Divine protection answered prayer
guidance satisfaction living water restoration exaltation bestowed
The whole meaning and premise for the kind of fast that God has chosen according to the Bible is to "abstain from food" and those things that are prescribed by the Scriptures to bring God's will to pass in your life personally and in the lives of others for His glory.
I remember vividly the day in which my mother taught me to fast as a young girl. Since that day to this one, I have fasted many times throughout the years, and have experienced major miracles in my life as well as in the lives of countless others through my ministry. Fasting enjoined with prayer creates momentum in the realm of the spirit and causes you to accrue power that is dynamic in it's working. If you want to experience optimal results in the Kingdom of God, I encourage you to seek His face in earnest prayer and fasting as it is described in the Bible.
One of my favorite books on fasting and prayer is entitled "When Kings Pray & Fast" written by my mentor and father in faith, H.R.M. King Adamtey I (King of the Se State of Ghana West Africa). He is known in private life as Dr. Kingsley Fletcher. This book will absolutely ignite your passion and hunger for God through the power of prayer and fasting. I highly recommend it, and am confident that you'll be gloriously impacted by it's teachings.
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