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April 5, 2014

Fasting means to abstain from all or certain foods. It is an act that many believers have difficulty doing. Paul discusses the continual struggle between right and wrong that goes on in our flesh in Romans 7. Our flesh wants to dominate our spirit. When we would do good (fast) evil is present tempting us eat. Denying this flesh of the things it craves helps us to become discipline in our Christian walk, and it prepares us for battle by allowing the flesh to make sacrifices for its good. If we can say no to our flesh, we will also acquire strength to say no to the temptations of Satan.

Fasting to be effective  must be coupled with much praying and the proper attitude. Isaiah 58 reveals God’s chosen fast. The chapter begins with the complaints of people because their fasting was not getting a positive response from God. God responds by revealing their sinful heart and wrong intentions. He then tells them about His chosen fast and shares the results of fasting His way. His way of proper fasting provides lifting of cares, freedom, deliverance, acknowledgment of own faults and sensitivity to the hungry, homeless, and naked. It results in illumination, health flourishing, righteousness, glory, guidance, satisfaction, and answered prayers.

Initially, Israel was instructed by God to fast one day, and that was the annual Day of Atonement, However, after the fall of Jerusalem Israel fasted in the fourth, fifth, seventh and tenth month (Zechariah 8:19). Besides the collective fasting of Israel, which they did at the appointed times and the fasting that they did when crises arose, the bible tells of individuals fasting as they sought answers and direction from God. Some of the people that fasted were: Jesus, Moses, Daniel, Esther, Ezra, Elijah, and David.

There is no criterion for the number of days a person must fast. Also, there are mainly three types of fast: normal, absolute, or partial. Whatever the number of days or type of fast a person chooses, it should all be done as Jesus instructed his followers in secrecy and with humility (Matthew 6:16-18).

For those of you that desire more information on fasting, you can find a wealth of it on the internet; however, I would like to recommend two books on fasting. They are:

1. GOD’S CHOSEN FAST by Arthur Wallis, which shares a spiritual and practical guide on God’s chosen fast.

2. FASTING FOR A SPIRITUAL BREAKTHROUGH by Elmer Towns, which discusses Isaiah 58 and nine biblical fast each designed for a specific physical and spiritual outcome.

Finally, remember fasting and praying prepares and informs you for your spiritual battle.

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