Have you ever missed a meal for spiritual reasons?
“Fasting is the deliberate abstinence from some form of physical gratification, for a period of time, in order to achieve a greater spiritual goal.” – Dr. Tony Evans
If you are like me, I don’t like missing meals for any reason! However, some of us are living with spiritual handcuffs on; trying to serve and follow God when we can’t even raise our hands because we are handcuffed. Each time we walk out of church, we walk right back into the bondage and the sin that has us in handcuffs.
Satan knows that when we wake up in the morning, all he has to do is bring that one immoral thought into our minds, and he has us. But when we fast, God says He will break the chains of addictions and problems. Chains that we can’t break ourselves and that no one else can break for us begin to fall away because of God’s supernatural power. God says if we haven’t fasted yet, we haven’t been to the right program.
God is the program.
Whatever you are dealing with today, God is the solution, not the problem.
How do you feel when you think about not eating? According to Isaiah 58:4, the purpose of fasting is “to make your voice heard on high.” When we fast with the proper motivation, our voice is heard in heaven. We enter God’s presence, uniquely and powerfully.
Fasting is always “when” not “if” in the Bible. Jesus did not say, “If you fast.” He stated to His disciples, “When you fast.” He left no doubt that His disciples would miss a meal from time to time for spiritual reasons. Fasting is a tangible way of demonstrating to God that we are setting aside our own desires and physical needs to focus on spiritual matters.
THREE TYPES OF FASTING
1. ABSOLUTE FAST | Abstaining from all food as well as water
An absolute fast usually is no longer than three days. For example, Luke records that Saul “neither ate nor drank” (Acts 9:9) for three days. The body cannot naturally survive much longer than three days without water. However, there are also supernatural absolute fasts with very long durations. For two separate periods of forty days and forty nights, Moses neither ate nor drank. Moses experienced a supernatural absolute fast without food or water that lasted eighty days.
2. NORMAL FAST | Abstaining from all food but not from water
Jesus fasted for forty days before facing the devil (Matthew 4:1-11). This was a normal fast where Jesus abstained from all food but not from water. It says that Jesus “after fasting … was hungry” (Matt. 4:2) but not thirsty. The Bible records that “He ate nothing” but not that He drank nothing (Luke 4:2).
3. PARTIAL FAST | Abstaining from a specific food or item
During his early days in Georgia, John Wesley adopted a “bread diet,” that is, he lived exclusively on dry bread. Others have partially fasted by omitting a particular meal each day, which strictly limits the quantity of food consumed.
In two separate seasons of my life, I completed a 40-day partial fast. During those times, I removed all solid food from my diet, focused on prayer, and was able to hear more clearly from God. A partial fast has real value, especially when circumstances make it impossible or inconvenient to undertake a normal fast. A partial fast may serve as a step toward a normal fast.
“In those days, I, Daniel, was mourning for three weeks. I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks” (Daniel 10:2-3).
WHY SHOULD WE FAST?
Since about 1937, airplanes have been pressurized so they can fly above the clouds. Before then, planes had to fly low so they could stay in the atmosphere. As soon as you start fasting and praying, Satan and his demons are going to line up at the cloud level. And they are going to try to keep you below the clouds, so you don’t fly high and reach the heights God has for you. Fasting and praying give you the power to break through the clouds. So don’t let Satan keep you on the ground. It is time to fly.
Some issues can only be resolved by prayer and fasting. For example, Jesus’ disciples attempted to heal a boy, and they failed. After his disciples tried and failed, Jesus himself healed the boy. The disciples later asked Jesus privately why they had failed. His answer was that it could not happen “except by prayer and fasting” (Matt. 17:21).
Fasting channels power.
Where in your life are you trying and failing because you don’t have the power of God? If every Christian fasted, the results would change our lives for the better and shake our culture. If you are missing the power of God in your life, try missing a meal.