Every week, social media is a buzz of what and who to pray for: Pray for Las Vegas. Pray for Manchester. Pray for Orlando. Pray for Houston. Pray for Florida. It goes on and on.
Maybe the season of prayer should move to a season of fasting. Here is an excerpt from my book A Short Read to Jumpstart Your Season of Fasting.
The time for praying is expanding. Now is the time for fasting.
The art of fasting is a mystery but the results lead to answered prayers, lives changed, and an unimaginable experience with God. Fasting brings colors to your life. It brings a breakthrough in your life. It could produce a victory into your life. Beginning a fasted life, it’s scriptural. It’s a blessed lifestyle. Fasting is a discipline.
It’s not supposed to be a strait jacket, but it doesn’t mean to do whatever we feel like in the moment. Fasting is not getting up in the morning and saying, “Well, I don’t feel like having breakfast this morning, so I’m just going to mark this down as I’m fasting this morning.”It is an exploration into the deeper things of God in your life.
Personally the most important principle of fasting is this: there should be no legalism. Fasting has no harsh rules. There’s no regulations. Even though the Church over the last two thousand years has come up, and has tried to place rules when it comes to fasting. Even though the Church has come and said, “You ought to fast this time of the week. You ought to fast this time of the year.” Every year the Church has tried to come up and say, “This is what you should do.” And when the Church comes up and tries to tell you when you should fast, and make you feel bad because you’re not fasting, it’s when the time legalism and religiosity has seeped in.
Fasting should be something that is a desire, not an implementation as law from the local Church. Fasting is not starvation. Starvation is a process of dying. Fasting brings you life, not bring you to death.
In the 1960’s, there was a great drought in America, and on President Lyndon B. Johnson called for the nation to a time of fasting and prayer. And the nation at this time was asked by the President of the United States of America to lead the nation in a time of fasting and prayer. In three days, the Heavens opened up and rain dropped down from the sky.
Church, we are in a spiritual drought here in America. All one has to do is turn on the television for a few moments and get a whiff of what comes through. We are in a spiritual drought in our cities and regions, and countries all over the world. We as a Church have to rise up, but it’s going to be done, like Jesus said, through prayer and fasting.
We pray. We go to our prayer closet. But Jesus said, “This kind go forth by prayer and fasting.” Why don’t we couple those two together? Why don’t we partner those together? America needs a spiritual wakeup call, and it’s not going to come from our government. It’s not going to come from Congress. It’s not going to come from our governor, or our House Representatives. It’s going to come from God moving among His ambassadors which are us and we rising up and heeding the call God has called us. God desires to bring mighty move in you and through you and He’s not going to bring it until His people cry out to him, and ask for Him to bring forth His mighty hand
Fasting is the spiritual discipline of denying our appetite, both sexually and most importantly, nourishment, to focus on God. Why sexually? Paul talked about this. Paul said this in 1 Corinthians 7:5, “That do not deprive each other, except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer.”
Paul was encouraging husbands and wives during times of fasting to mutually agree to abstain from sexual intercourse in order to take that time to focus on God. Some husbands reading that may feel they and their wife have been fasting for months now. For most people, most importantly men, the two things needed most are food and sexual relations.
So why does fasting involve food? Because you need food to live. What fasting does is allow you to abstain for a period of time and to abstain from that that causes you to live physically and focus on the One that allows you to call you live spiritually. It being a morning meal or lunch meal or maybe from sunup to sundown or maybe a day or two of fasting will be a time where your attention can be focus on the One who gives you the abundant life beyond the food and sexual relations that we need for daily living.
Jesus is our example and leadership involves following the leader. The Bible says in Matthew 4:1-2, “Then Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert to be tempted by the Devil.” After fasting forty days and forty nights, the Bible says that, “He was hungry.” Now did Jesus experienced hunger when he was fasting? Yes. Why? Because the Word tells us he did. Will you experience hunger when you’re fasting? Yes. You’re going to experience hunger and Jesus did too. You will be just like Jesus! Jesus, also, had a deeper hunger for God to be obedient and to do God’s will. He hungered for God’s voice to lead him into the desert to fast, and his fast lead him to hunger for changed lives. In the desert, He was able to get clarity and direction. In the desert, He was able to get courage. When he came out of the desert after being tempted by the Devil, he stood up in probably one of the most dangerous places that Jesus could have stepped in, which was the Temple at that time, and he said this, “That God, He, has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, and release from darkness for the prisoners.”
Setting side a time of fasting will allow you to set an agenda for what God has called you to do. Getting away from the food or getting away from the breakfast or that one item that we think we can live with will allow us to focus on the One who gives us life.
This is an excerpt from my book “A Short Read to Jumpstart Your Season of Fasting.” You can enjoy this book as well as other books: