Mission Of Hope
Fasting: A Spiritual Power Tool
Fasting: A Spiritual Power Tool
In order to help us in our calling, God has given us a handful of powerful tools-prayer, Bible study, meditation and fasting, and in the hands of God working in a Christian's life they are extremely effective. The primary purpose in fasting is to draw near to God in order to gain His mind and perspective and to develop a personal relationship with Him. Fasting is a great spiritual tool and even Jesus Christ used in His earthly ministry. Fasting has become an increasingly important tool that each of us will need to remain strong in these end times, and draw close to God for the spiritual strength we need.
Fasting and prayer is essential in helping us maintain a close relationship with God and Jesus Christ. And there are other major spiritual benefits of fasting. The biblical record of who fasted in the Bible includes Moses, David, Elijah, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Daniel, Anna and Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul engaged “in fasting often” (2 Corinthians 11:27). Fasting is an important part of building a strong relationship with God (Luke 2:36-37; Acts 13:2), and helps us focus on the awesome sacrifice Jesus Christ made for us all. (John 6:48-51, 63).
God delights in humble hearts. He said in Isaiah 66:2, “This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word” (NIV). In Matthew 5:3 Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
God wants us to “hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Matthew 5:6). God is the One who sustains us and supplies all our needs. The Bible has only one command regarding fasting. God’s people are commanded to fast on the Day of Atonement from sundown to sundown (Leviticus 23:27-32). Interestingly, this fast day is listed among God’s spiritual Feast days.
Besides the primary purposes of worshiping God, drawing closer to Him, humbling ourselves and growing spiritually, it is appropriate to have secondary purposes in fasting as well—beseeching God in prayer for His help with one or more serious needs for ourselves or for others.
Proper fasting often results in significant spiritual breakthroughs. While we rely on the spiritual tools of prayer, Bible study and meditation on a daily basis, we occasionally need the power tool of fasting.
For a very enlightening study, use a Bible concordance and look up all the passages that contain the words fast, fasted and fasting. Read why they fasted, what they were praying about and what God did as a result of the fast.
God wants us to pray about our problems, and let our attitudes be like that of Jesus Christ when He prayed, “Not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42).
To beseech God for His protection, Ezra proclaimed a fast for all the exiles returning to Judah (Ezra 8:21-23). Esther requested that all the Jews in Shushan fast so that they would be spared from genocide (Esther 4:16).
Isaiah 58:1-12 is a profound passage that guides us in the way we need to fast to please God. It clearly shows that fasting should be from your heart. Fasting should teach us to be willing to sacrifice in many ways in the service of others. How much are we willing to sacrifice to “undo . . . heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free . . . to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; when you see the naked, that you cover him?” (verses 6-7).
Jesus as Our Example
Jesus as Our Example
In Matthew 9:15 Jesus said that His followers would fast. What did Jesus mean? Fasting is an important tool to help you discover God’s purpose and presence in your life. What is the kind of fasting Jesus taught and how can it help you discover a deeper relationship with God and change your life? Jesus taught that fasting is an element of your personal relationship with God your Father. Fasting is a way of humbling yourself so that you will become prepared for God’s will in your life.
Seeking the Kingdom of God must be of utmost priority, only then can you know GOD'S will for your life. Prayer, fasting, Bible study, attending a church, these are all important elements in your personal relationship with God also. Still, there are times in your life when your faith is tested. God wants you to have a living, vital faith that guides every aspect of your life.
Fasting is an important tool in releasing GOD'S power in your life. To know what GOD's considers to be true fasting, lets look at Isaiah 58 and pick up verse 6 where God says, “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; [and] when you see the naked, that you cover him, and [hide not] yourself from your own flesh?”
God reaches out to everyone to offer healing, both mentally, physically and spiritually. He wants to break the chains of addictions, anxiety, broken relationships, depression and sin. It is through fasting, heartfelt prayer and intense Bible study that God will bring about this healing. To receive healing all you have to do is humbly go before our awesome Creator, approach His throne of grace and make your requests known to Him and ask him for direction and guidance.
Now Isaiah tells us that what God will produce through a fast that seeks His will and purpose, and His presence,–so here’s what he continues to tell us - ’ “Then your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’”
A few chapters before Isaiah 58, here in Isaiah 55, God inspired the prophet to write, “Ho!” Listen up everyone! “Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me [God says], and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance” (Isaiah 55:1-2).