Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisee fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast. (Matthew 9:14-15)
There is something about fasting that our flesh just does not like. We often try to obtain things from God without fasting. The question all of us must answer is... do we have to fast? The answer is YES, if you want to be successful in God!
Prayer and fasting should not be an option. It is a must if you want to get anything from God that is worth-while. There are some things that will only happen after you have fasted and prayed. If fasting is not done, then strongholds cannot come down. Here are a few keys in this powerful tool of fasting.
THE PURPOSE OF FASTING
The reason we must fast is to help us subdue our fleshly appetites and be more sensitive to the Holy Ghost. Fasting helps break the yokes that bind us.
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? (Isaiah 58:6)
You will find in scripture that fasting is also used to receive things from God. Moses fasted to get the commandments from God. When he went into the mount, his own will could not be in the way whatsoever.
IT IS A POWERFUL WEAPON
When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. . . .And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting. (Mark 9:25-29)
Jesus referred to fasting as a condition to cast out devils. This kind of casting out devils can not be done by our own power (flesh). The flesh cannot do this, therefore fasting is done so we may bring the flesh into submission. And by this submission we are able to cast out devils or remove any other obstacles.
DANGERS WITH FASTING
Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. (Matthew 6:16)
Like prayer, fasting must not be done for show. You should not tell others for the sake of showing people how spiritual you are. You should also not appear to men as "fasting." What that means is that you should wash your face and put a smile on. Fasting is always linked with prayer. Fasting without prayer is nothing short of dieting.
FASTING IS LINKED WITH MOURNING
Esther 4:3 . . . there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.
Fasting is often linked with mourning because a person can take their mourning and intensify it with fasting. These kinds of fasting and mourning is also used in repentance.
FASTING GETS GOD'S ATTENTION
Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance. . . So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was entreated of us. (Ezra 8:21-23)
Fasting will show God that we are serious about what we are asking Him. When we fast we are displaying faith to God and faith moves God and therefore He will answer.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I FAST?
There is no set amount of time in the Bible for fasting. Some people in the Bible fasted on a weekly basis. So, fasting should be done regularly. Some men have fasted 40 days (Moses, Elijah and Jesus). Daniel fasted 21 days.
In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. (II Corinthians 11:27 )
DIFFERENT TYPES OF FASTS
There are many fasts, so here are just a few examples...
WHAT DO I DO ON A FAST?
Abstain from all carnal pleasures. Now that doesn't mean you have to hide in a room all day, but it means stay away from anything that gives you pleasure during your fast.
Fasting and prayer is a time for soberness and serious seeking of God. It is a time of separation. Only engage in things you have to take care of. Of course you should pray, repent and read your bible.
If food is a weakness for you when you fast, and you cannot resist, then try to stay away from it. But, if you really want to bring your flesh into subjection and discipline yourself, then don't be afraid to be around others who are eating. It will strengthen you when you resist it!
If you fast for 3 days or more, sometimes you may give in and eat before the fast is over. You are fasting to draw close to God. If you fail during a fast, and slip, don't let guilt destroy you. Get back in it!
Fasting from food is the most biblical way to fast, but anything that is a sacrifice, God will acknowledge, if done with a heart of joy.
You have access to the most powerful resource in your Christian arsenal. To face and battle life without fasting is like paddling a boat with a broken oar; slow and sometimes in circles. So obtain great heights in God and go for it!