Is there something you’ve been praying about – something dear to you – that God has not answered? Maybe it’s more than one thing, maybe it’s been so long since God answered a prayer – you wonder if He’s still there or if you’ve done something wrong or imagined the entire relationship… I can relate. For years I just went along with the whole Christian thing, sort of out of routine, sort of out of religious fear – and definitely with a lot of confusion.
And I know many of you are praying over big things.
- Hard things in your marriage
- Challenges in your parenting
- Changes in your job
- Relationships that are shifting
- Things in the life of your church that you can’t reconcile.
Big Things. Some of those Big Things are Hurtful things…
Forgiveness has lead to Freedom in my life.
The things I’ve had to forgive are too numerous to count at this point. Big things (abuse and neglect) and small things (slights from friends, harsh words that cut too deep). God brought me through a Pathway to Forgiveness.
I’d love to share that story with you.
This year we’ve been going deeper in our Faith through Biblical Discipleship.
But there are times when – even with Prayer and Bible Study – I am still struggling.
Could it be that Prayer and Bible study are not always enough to find the answers I need or get the help I need in my Walk with Jesus?
What do we do in those times – the hard times when it feels like we’ve tried everything else?
In the Bible, when a situation seemed to need more than Prayer, the people observed a Fast (or a time of fasting).
Seem Radical and outdated? Did you know that Jesus spoke about it? Let’s look together.
Matthew 9:14-15 Then the disciples of John *came to Him, asking, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “The attendants of the bridegroom cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.
Jesus said we will Fast. When we need Him – and a Fast will be necessary.
Today we’ll look at 5 Reasons God Calls His People to a Fast – with Hope!
Reason # 1 to Fast: Clarity about something – needing and answer or direction from God.
- The New Testament Church spent time Fasting and praying when making decisions about leadership in
- In the Old Testament the Prophet Daniel is seeking God’s wisdom and understanding about a prophecy in Daniel 9:3 and then in Daniel 10:3 we see that Daniel was distressed about the answer and Spent more time Fasting.
It makes my heart happy to know that the Hero’s of my faith were not always happy with God’s answer. Well, not that they weren’t happy, but that they poured their hearts out to God and He would come back and answer. He is not above giving clarity or helping us understand and change where necessary.
Am I the only one that needs to change my heart to accept God’s will at times? Can I get an Amen?!?!
- If we go back further we see Mosses spent 40 days Fasting while with the Lord – as he received the 10 commandments Exodus 34:28. (that is extreme Fasting but he had an extreme reason)
Reason # 2 to Fast: Grief or brokenness over a serious problem.
- Let’s start with Nehemiah, who is distressed over the problems in Jerusalem. The wall was in disrepair and the people were struggling there. -Nehemiah 1: 1-4.
This piece gives me more hope because the People of Israel were in a season of blessing. They had just been released from captivity! Hope should have oozed out of them. But it was hard… sometimes Hard times come in the midst of blessings.
Nehemiah humbled himself to Fast and found favor with God to go back and fulfill God’s purpose with His people.
- Again in 2 Samuel 1:12 we see David fasting in grief at the loss of Saul and Johnathan – this was just before he took the throne to Rule Israel. David humbled himself to fast.
Reason # 3 to Fast: To Cure Spiritual Dryness
- Jesus did not begin His public ministry until after a time of Fasting Matthew 4:1-11.
- In Acts 14:23 we see the Church fasting when asking for gifts or filling of the Holy Spirit.
Check out this beautiful promise of Refreshing when our Fast is acceptable to God.
Isaiah 58:11 “And the Lord will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.
Reason # 4 to Fast: Protection from evil
- In Matthew 17:21 The disciples were upset that they could not cast out a demon – Jesus answered that “This kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting”.
- Again we see a Fast with prayer for protection in Ezra 8:21-23.
- Not only can we fast for personal protection, we can intercede for others as in Ester 4:16.
Reason # 5 to Fast: Turning Back from Sin
- When Sin was revealed a Fast was called In 1 kings 21:25-27.
- In Joel 2:12 a fast is called as the people are returning to the Lord.
- The entire city of Nineveh calls for a Fast (Jonah 3:5-9) with Hope that God would reverse the coming calamity.
- We see that same theme again in 2 Samuel 12:15-17 when David is asking God to turn away judgement for his sin.
Can you relate to any of those Biblical Old and New Testament reasons to Fast? Are there things in your life that you need divine intervention about?
A Fast is a weapon in our Spiritual Arsenal that can be used to fight a very real enemy, Draw nearer to God, Seek God for guidance and intervention in our lives.
When we Add scripture to our Prayers they become strategic and powerful.
I’ve pulled over 100 verses that you can use to Pray for Support, Unity and Financial Blessings. Download them below!
In the Weeks to come we will dissect Fasting to see:
- How To Fast in A Way that Pleases God.
- Some of the What Not to do’s while Fasting.
- What we can expect before during and after the fast is over.
- The Scary Truth About my First Fast
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