The definition of fasting is to go without food for a designated period of time. Jesus fasted 40 days and nights and we assume that it was from food and not from water as the Bible specifically states that “He hungered”. It doesn’t say that He thirsted. Reminds me of the woman at the well ~ He told her He was the LIVING WATER…
When we fast, we abstain from something we take pleasure in…usually food, but it can be other things too. It’s a time to take our attention off of ourselves and give it to God. A time to draw nearer to God. The examples I’m talking about in this blog are Daniel, Esther and Jesus who all fasted. Daniel for the purpose of understanding a vision and Esther to save her people. I believe that Jesus fasted to strengthen and solidify His Power.
Daniel 10:3 KJV I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled. At the end of 21 days (3 weeks) Daniel was visited by a Messenger of God. When the Jewish people who were in Persia were condemned to Death the Queen Esther fasted and prayed. Esther 4:16 KJV Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.
WE are all born for a purpose…what a wonderful realization!
Jesus was baptized by John and He went into the Judean desert and fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. At His baptism Heavenly Father sent the Holy Spirit to Jesus in the form of a dove. And the Holy Spirit led him out into the wilderness. The first time I read this, I remember wondering why? Since He had the Holy Spirit…why go out into the Wilderness? Why did the Holy Spirit direct him to do this? After all, HE was the Son of God…what else did HE need? I read this many times, but it wasn’t until recently that I actually realized the WHY. During the 40 days and 40 nights, Satan tempted Jesus to use his power in ways that God didn’t intend for it to be used…instead, Jesus used prayer, fasting and the Word to defeat Satan. (Matthew 3:13-17, 4:1-11) After 40 days and nights we see His Power Perfected…totally enabling the Holy Spirit and teaching us that when we ask him to be our Savior and the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us, we can have this power too. WOW!!! PRAYER (Pray in the Spirit), FASTING (Shield of Faith) and JESUS the WORD (Sword of the Spirit)! Ahhh…the Armor of God!
When the Apostles were unable to cast out a demon, Jesus cast out the demon from the possessed young man (Matthew 17:14-21). When the Apostles asked why they couldn’t cast out the demon, Jesus told them that they needed to pray and fast to defeat this kind of demon. From this reply, I understood that Jesus not only fasted in the desert, he must have fasted during his ministry on this earth. I also grasped that when going up against a demon, we must be wearing the full Armor of God!
You may be asking by now, how can I fast? It sounds impossible! First of all, I believe that no matter the results, acceptance that it’s His will, not ours and that we need to have a genuine, heartfelt reason for our prayer and fasting. Desiring a bigger house or new car, boat, etc. are probably not good reasons for fasting. Perhaps a loved one or even your self needs be rescued from drugs or alcohol, pornography, etc. Perhaps, someone you know and care about is ill. I can’t tell you why or what to fast for as that’s between you and Heavenly Father.
If you’ve never fasted before, I suggest you decide on a strategy.
1. The faith that you can fast.
2. Why are you fasting?
3. How long do you intend to fast? (1 meal? 1 day? 3 days? I don’t suggest you consider 40 days!)
4. Unrealistic expectations, like world peace, may thwart future opportunities to fast.
5. Find a quiet place to pray and focus and thank Heavenly Father for answering your prayers. Matthew 6:6 Jesus tells us we should go into a closet and pray in secret.
6. Jesus tells us that if we pray and fast, keep it between ourselves and the Father. If you’re married, maybe you should let your spouse know what you’re plans are and ask please don’t bring things like ice cream, Twinkies, etc. into the house until I’ve finished my fast. In other words, this is really important to me, so PLEASE don’t make it difficult.
7. Be ready for Satan to try to thwart your fast: unexpected trip to the emergency with one of the kids or cake at a birthday party or the in-laws drop in unexpected. You name it! When you decide to pray and fast, Satan realizes your power.
8. Stay determined and don’t let circumstances lead you away from fasting! Times like this is when your loyalty as a Soldier of God is tested!
My heart tells me that fasting from food is what Heavenly Father has in mind, but since to some extent, it’s a learning process, maybe some may need to start more simply. Here are some things to pray and fast from: coffee, dessert, chocolate, social media, the news, fast food, TV and movies, video games, etc.