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THE PROMISES OF FASTING
By Ivy Bennett
Many instances of both individual and corporate (or group) fasting have been recorded throughout the Bible in both the Old and New Testaments. The Gospel of Luke reveals that Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness where He fasted 40 days (Luke 4). After fasting and successfully defeating the devil by overcoming every temptation, the Bible states that "Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee . . .". Fasting, evidently, had a positive impact in the life of our Lord.
You can also read about the fasting experiences of Daniel (Daniel 1:12), Esther (Esther 4:16), Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 20:3), and the church in the Book of Acts (Acts 13:2). You will quickly discover that fasting was an important aspect of obtaining spiritual victories, breakthroughs, and guidance in critical situations.
Fasting and prayer are essential in the life of every Believer today. Fasting is not optional, since Jesus stated "when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: . . ." (Matthew 6:16). Notice the scripture states "when", not "if" you fast.
Once Believers understand the true power of fasting, they will be ready and eager to fast. They won't see fasting as a time of deprivation, but as a fulfilling and enriching experience.
The prophet Isaiah reveals the promises of fasting in Isaiah 58:6-14. The first and most obvious result of proper fasting is that bands of wickedness and heavy burdens are removed; those who are oppressed or held in bondage by yokes of sin are set free (verse 6). But that's only a partial list of the results of fasting. Healing and protection are also promised (verse 8) along with answers to issues you may have been pondering (verse 9). Spiritual guidance, spiritual growth, and spiritual refreshing are also promised in verse 11. Just reflect on the promise of this scripture: "And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not" (verse 11). In other words, fasting puts you in a position where you can experience deeper fellowship and intimacy with God where your life will be "overflowing" with the presence of God. You can also be used by God to bring restoration to others (verse 12). Finally, verse 14 promises that God will cause you to "ride on the high places of the earth"; He also promises to feed you with the heritage of Jacob. Simply stated, you will be able to operate in the fullness of your spiritual authority as a Believer and fully partake of all the blessings God promised to the descendants of Abraham.
The promises of fasting are so overwhelmingly positive that every Believer should be excited about fasting! Everyone should be asking how they can get started right away! Well, here are some simple steps:
- Read and meditate Isaiah 58:6-14. Be sure to read the King James version, but also study the Living Bible and Amplified Bible translations for additional insights.
- Download "Fasting and Prayer as Your Spiritual Worship" by Ronnie W. Floyd. This is an excellent primer and lays out the basics about fasting. Read it thoroughly prior to starting a fast.
- Purpose in your heart to incorporate fasting into your lifestyle. Select a day of the week or meal that you will fast on a regular basis. Consistent fasting is better than only fasting when a crisis situation arises.
Here's a brief testimony about the power of fasting. Several years ago I was faced with a significant financial debt that I was wrongfully being pursued for. The Lord led me to go on a 21-day Financial Miracle Fast at the beginning of that year. (I used the Daniel fast of fruits, vegetables, etc mentioned in the first chapter of Daniel). Each day I prayed a list of 32 scriptures the Lord gave me. Additionally, each night I played prosperity teaching tapes all night long as I slept. That year Almighty God showed Himself to be El Shaddai in the area of my finances. Not only was the debt cancelled, but God also poured into my life significant financial blessings of unprecedented dimension.
As a final reminder, fasting is essential in the life of every Believer. Don't hesitate. Get started now!