The call to fasting
Key Verse: Mark 9:29, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting.”
What is Biblical Fasting?
Fasting is abstaining from food (or other things) in order to give ourselves to prayer and fellowship with the Lord.
The Bible mentions three kinds of fasts:
• Absolute Fast: No food or water.
• Normal Fast: Abstaining from food.
• Partial Fast: Daniel’s fast – abstaining from meat; sweets, bread or you can only eat bread.
Fasting is an essential of the Christian life, and the absence of fasting will make you spiritually feeble.Have you ever felt strongly that something was supposed to happen? You were so sure you had heard from God? You waited, you prayed, you waited some more, and nothing. Then the questions started: Did I miss God? Was that just me? Why isn’t anything happening?
In Mark Chapter 9, a father brought his son to nine of Jesus’ disciples. The boy was demonised and epileptic, and even though the disciples had healed people before, they couldn’t heal him. When the disciples brought the boy to Jesus and he was healed, they asked Jesus this question, “Why couldn’t we do it?” Jesus answers in verse 29, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting.”
Fasting is gradually becoming the lost act of the 21st Century Church, but in the beginning it was not so. Fasting is clearly taught and practised in both the Old and New Testament. Biblical fasting is a form of self-denial for the purpose of becoming spiritually stronger and advancing the work of the Kingdom of God. Usually, it is a deliberate abstinence from some or all foods for a spiritual purpose. Fasting is what we do, when we choose not to partake of food because our spiritual hunger is so deep, our determination for intercession so intense and our spiritual warfare so demanding, that we have to temporarily set aside even fleshly demands in order to give ourselves to prayer and meditation.
Furthermore, it involves a deliberate withdrawal from friends and family members and switching off one’s phones for a time to devote oneself more fully and exclusively to fellowship with God. Fasting indicates an intense desire to seek God. Fasting specifically called ‘worship’ in Luke 2:37 and Acts 13:2. Satan hates to see a child of God fasting and can do anything to stop him/her but God honours fasting.
Moses fasted twice for 40 days (Deuteronomy 9:9,18) till his face shone with the glory of God. David fasted before he was crowned, when his child was sick and because of the sins of his people (Psalm 69:9-10), Jehoshaphat and his people fasted till God said, “You will not have to fight this battle (2 Chronicles 20:17).
The Lord Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights before He began public ministry (Mathew 4:1,2) and He also made it clear that He expects His people to fast (Luke 5:33-35). God’s word today reveals that there are certain cases that can only be dealt with at the altar of prayer and fasting. Why not declare a fast?
Benefits of Fasting
There are things that God desires to happen in your life, career and ministry that won’t happen, unless you fast. Fasting breaks strongholds, liberates people, and moves you into a realm of realising God’s power in your life. The more time you’re spending with God, the more you’re going to see the hand of God in your life in an extraordinary way. Like the disciples, there are things that God wills for you to do that you will not have the power to bring about, unless you have spent time with Him.
As you fast, a spiritual battle is being waged. Things are happening in the spiritual realm that we neither perceive nor understand outside of God revealing those things to you.
You can develop the habit of fasting at least once a week. If you have any health challenge concerning fasting, you can also embark on partial fast, and not absolute fast. Are you not challenged that even the disciples of Satan fast to be more powerful? It is time to separate yourself and give your digestive system a vacation in order to seek God.
Today’s Nugget: Fasting is an essential of the Christian life
Prayer: Father, download upon me the burden to fast in Jesus Name, Amen.
Prayer lines: 09078154261.
Dr. Chidi Okoroafor
Assemblies of God Nigeria