This prayer and fasting series will be in the following parts:-
1) What it is; and what it isn’t.
2) How to fast & Types of Fasting
3) Why Fast? What are the Biblical benefits?
4) Preparation for the fast – Prayer Points -A Missing Link
5) Physical Benefits of Fasting
A very wonderful promise of Fasting
A very wonderful promise of fasting is given here in the Book of Isaiah the Prophet
"Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; 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. "If you take away from the midst of you the yoke, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your desire with good things, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in." Isaiah 58:6-12
A fast is a conscious, intentional, deliberate decision to abstain for a time from the pleasure of eating in order to gain vital benefits. These benefits may be spiritual hence a spiritual fast or health wise hence a non-spiritual fast.
Our Focus here is the spiritual or biblical fast. More specifically, prayer and fasting. We will however mention slightly about the non-spiritual fast.
When one starts to study the fathers of faith, prophets and great saints, one will not fail to notice the fact that they were not only men and women of prayer; but that they also took time to fast. Daniel says I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks." Daniel 10:3 Talking of David, the Bible record "David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in and lay all night upon the ground." 2 Samuel 12:16 Ezra led the whole congregation of Israel in prayer and fasting. Ezra 8:23 "So we fasted and besought our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty."
Jesus, before starting His ministry fasted forty days and forty nights. It is recorded in Mathew 4:2 talking of Jesus "And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry." Once Jesus was asked why John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fasted regularly and not those of Jesus. Jesus answered by saying ""Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast." Mathew 9:15 Once also Jesus found His disciples having difficulty casting a demon out of a possessed child; He told them "this kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting" Mark 9:29.
In the Book of Acts, we read the following "And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing" Acts 10:30. We see angelic attention to prayer and fasting. This is the same as what happened to Daniel after the 21 days of prayer and fasting. We also read in Acts 13:2. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them" The early disciples believed in prayer and fasting.
End of Part I - Part 2 to 5 to continue.