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Principles of Fasting
Do you desire a deeper more intimate relationship with God? Do you want to break free from bondages and self-defeating habits that keep you from fulfilling God’s will? Are you ready to find healing and even be in a position for God to use you to heal others? Are you ready to break free from sinful addictions? Do you desire a greater awareness of the calling God has placed on your life? Are you ready to place yourself in a position to be FILLED with God’s Spirit so that you can hear clearly from him? If this is the case, then perhaps it is time for a Fast!
Before you start your Fast, set your objectives. Determine what you are in need of. During your fast, you will be able to pray and seek God concerning these things. Do you need spiritual revival, marriage restoration, freedom from a particular sinful habit? Write these things down and pray about them while you are fasting. Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. Remember, during fasting you want to pray specifically and strategically.
The foundation of fasting is prayer and repentance. It is not about trying to manipulate God to do for you, it is about positioning yourself to be able to do for God. It is about humbling yourself and getting closer to him. Through this process, when God acts we are better able to receive!
"The heart of fasting is about our longing for more of God" -John Piper
It is imperative for the Body of Christ to fast. Here are some basic fasting principles:
-Fasting should be a regular component of a follower of Christ. Fasting allows us to regain self control over the body and it's appetites. It allows our Spirit to become more powerful than the flesh. We need our flesh (body) constantly. Fasting is when we set aside time to ONLY feed the Spirit. Due to this, we will find walking in the spirit (obeying the Holy Spirit) much easier. Fasting is not something that we do only once. We do it periodically throughout our lives as God leads, and as we determine a need to increase self control.
-Just as we know we ought to pray, the believer is also expected to fast from time to time. Just as prayers are between you and God, let your fasts be between you and God (Matt. 6:16-18).
-Fasting helps to break the addiction to food that we develop over time from eating for taste. “If you can’t give up certain foods for the sake of God, then there is an issue”. Therefore, FAST to regain control over the body. “Man does not live for bread alone”. “Do not be mastered by anything”.
-Through fasting you will receive an empowerment (Isaiah 58:6, Matt. 17:21).
-Fasting prepares you for spiritual warfare. An example of this is when Christ explained to his followers that certain demons can only be driven out when one prays and fasts (Matthew 17:21; Mark 9:29). God honors when one who seeks him through prayer and fasting. Fasting demonstrates our utter dependence on God. You will see his power move in situations, and the plans of the enemy will falter.
-God talks to us in the spirit. Therefore, to hear from him efficiently, we must at times strengthen our spirit (John 4:24) (Acts. 13:2) (Daniel 9:3).
-Fasting increases the spiritual capacity. Those who are spiritually deaf cannot hear from God.
-Fasting leads to more answered prayer and more activity of God within our life …as it positions us to receive more of God (Matthew 17:21).
-Fasting is not just about abstaining from physical food, but the main part of it is prayer.
-When we abstain from physical food for a certain period of time, we began to get hungry. However, as soon as we pray, we will get filled up with spiritual “food”. The beauty of this is that we are not filling up our stomach, but actually our spirit is being filled through our prayers. And as our spirit increases, so does our communication with God and his power within us. Moreover, during the times you would normally eat, set aside that time for prayer, devotion, bible study, and watching/reading material that feeds your Spirit!
-When one is fasting, she typically does not eat food or drink (except water) until the fast is over. However, some fasts are from sun up till sun down. Therefore, eating is permitted in the evening for those fasts.
-If a person fasts and prays, she will receive an empowerment from God. He shall be “filled” with the Spirit and shall hear from the Lord. All disciples of Christ must fast, for we are delegates and ambassadors of the King. Therefore, it is essential for us to receive clear orders from him.
- Most importantly, we fast not solely for our purposes. Rather, we fast because we are required and expected to. We fast for the sake of others as well, so that we can be used by God to minister to and help them. In speaking with his disciples, Jesus never said “If you fast…”, he said “When you fast…” Thus, they were expected to fast. Moreover, Jesus mentioned that certain things can only be accomplished with prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:21).
“Even now,” declares the Lord,“return to me with ALL your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning” (Joel 2:12).
- Fasting is the willful abstaining from natural pleasures for a spiritual purpose. Therefore, go into this accepting the reality that your joy will not come from what you eat or drink...it will come from spiritual things.
One must be careful to truly seek God through prayer and devotion (So no time for much entertainment, or its not truly a fast). Spend the times you would have spent eating doing things to draw you closer to God (Bible Study, Watching Bible Videos, Praying, Worshipping, etc..)
- Be sure to consult your physician for advice as well if you have any serious health related issues.
--Endeavor to drink plenty of water each day of the fast (Drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day at room temperature is recommended for a fast).
Drinks allowed: Water, organic juices (especially cranberry), and coconut water.
Foods allowed: Fruits and veggies in the evening (only when doing Sunset fast or Daniel Fast). If doing a complete fast, then no foods are allowed.
Types of Fasts:
The type of fast you go on is between you and God. Seek him for the type of fast he is calling you to embark on.
1) Sunset Fast: With this fast, you will eat only one meal per day after sunset. This meal should usually consist of what Daniel was allowed to eat during his fast (Pulse: Only Vegetables, Lentils, Nuts, Fruits, Water and Juices | No Meats or Sweets --Daniel 1:12 KJV).
- Sample Evening fast meal for a Sunset fast (Banana, vegetable soup, corn, green beans, cranberry juice).
2) Full-Day Fast: Usually, when the people of God fasted in scripture, they went on a full fast! Only consume water and natural fruit juices (The best juices are from fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid any liquids containing caffeine as they can stimulate appetite and make fasting more difficult).
3) Specialized Fast: The Specialized fast is a type where the Holy Spirit leads you to fast from certain foods, drinks and even actions for a period of time. The Spirit will urge you to set aside certain things that you consume or do for a time that he has allotted for you. Just as with the other fasts, this is a sign of honor, devotion, and willful suffering for God's purposes.
-Fasting is often mentioned along with mourning for a reason. As rewarding as it is, there will be times of extreme difficulty and weakness. But God is with you.
- Some are called to fast for 3, 7, 10, 14, 21 or even 40 days… Seek God and inquire about how long you should fast. He will give you peace and guidance on how long you should fast.
After the fast:
* When one fasts the right way, it will create lifelong habits for spiritual growth and physical well-being. So the good news is, after your fast.....the fast still continues! Remember....how you live and eat after the fast is just as important as how you eat and live during it. God wants to see those habits carry over, and THEN he will bless your fast (Isaiah 58:4). He wants to see those habits (getting up early to read his word, drinking more water, eating fruits and veggies to care for his body, etc...) continue as a part of your lifestyle.
--Additionally, fasting can place your body in such a purified state that eating meat, bread, and unhealthy foods can shock the digestive system. If you have been doing a full fast, it is important to get your body used to food again. Therefore, for the first 3-4 days after the fast, only eat soups, fruits, and veggies. The next day you can resume normal (healthy) eating. However, now with a pure and clean temple, endeavor to eat righteously for the body of God. So eat around 3-5 small healthy meals a day and drink more water.
May God give you grace and peace during your Fast. Pray and seek him regarding how you should fast and for how long. Set the date, prepare your mind, mark it on the calendar, and go into this with confidence and faith! You will make it in the name of Jesus! God bless You!
Your brother in Christ, Jerren
AoC Network Narrator
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