Kind of fasting that brings miracles anytime.
Because we are seeking God’s favor, fasting would almost always be accompanied with prayer.
Fasting involves abstaining from all food; or enjoyment; or sleep; or sex; or water; etcetera.
Sometimes the fast could be partial – a restriction of diet but not total abstention. – Daniel 10:2-3
Fasting can easily turn into an external show and ceremonial ritualism; when it did, the prophets spoke out against it
The most vigorous attack against such fasting is made in Isaiah 58.
The people complained that they had fasted and God had not seen.- Isa 58:3a.
But they had not been fasting for the right reason (to be heard by God)– Isa. 58:3b-4
In contrast to simply an external display of bowing one’s head like a bulrush and spreading sackcloth and ashes, the Lord would rather wish they Loose the bonds of wickedness; Let the oppressed go free; Share bread with the hungry;
Bring the poor into one’s house; Cover the naked.
Then they should be heard in their prayers –Isa. 58:6-9.
That is to say, fasting without true repentance defeats the purpose of fasting.
The same point was made about the ceremonial fasts that had been added by the Israelites to commemorate certain occasions – Zech. 7:1-14.
The people wanted to know if they should fast on the special occasions as they had done. – Zech. -7:1-3.
The Lord responded that the fasts had not been done for Him. –Zech. 7:4-6.
They should have instead done the will of the Lord. –Zech. 7:7-10.
But because they did not, the fasting in the past was of no value.–Zech. 7:11-14
People often fasted when they wanted God to hear their prayers.
The purpose of the fast was to humble themselves by “afflicting their souls”.
Believing such humiliation would be pleasing in God’s sight and it often was.
However, Fasting was fruitless when it was done for the wrong reason; when it was done without true repentance.
There were no set principles concerning the length or nature of fasting.
Jesus said “when”, not “if”; assuming his disciples would fast.
When done properly a person would be rewarded by the Father.
It suggests that fasting was like prayer and giving alms.
That is, an act of righteousness done to please the Father.
Fasting appears to have a place in the righteousness expected of those who would be citizens of the kingdom of heaven.
There are times when faith alone is not enough.
At these times prayer joined with fasting is necessary.
Fasting joined with prayer may accomplish things which normal faith may not.
Jesus assumed his disciples would fast (“when,” not “if”)– Matthew 6:16-17.
He said they would fast when He was gone – Matthew 9:14-15
He taught His disciples.
How to fast so as to incur God’s favor – Matthew 6:16-18.
When done properly, fasting would incur God’s good favor -Matthew 6:18b
There would be occasions when prayer joined with fasting might be needed – Matthew 17:20-21
We have examples of the church fasting.
For example, the brethren at Antioch fasted and prayed. – Acts 13:1-3.
The early Church fasted in their service to the Lord.
The Church fasted and prayed when they send out Paul and Barnabas on their missionary journey
The churches in Galatia fasted.- Acts 14:21-23
There was fasting in every church.
When appointing elders to watch over the flock the church fasted.
Paul fasted as a minister of Christ and listed fasting among those things which proved him as a minister of Jesus Christ. – 2Corinthians 11:23-28
We are commanded to imitate him, even as he imitated Christ – 1Corinthians 11:1 (and they both fasted in their service to God!)
People fast for various reasons.
Some purposefully, for health reasons
Some fast in times of grief and sorrow.
Others fast in an effort to gain some kind of self-control.
But these are not the reasons Christian should fast in their service to God. – Colossian 2:20-23
Christians should fast when in need of divine help.
This is consistent with the majority of fasting in the Old Testaments.
In times of war or at the threat of it; Israel fasted.
Fast when loved ones are sick; David fasted.
When seeking God’s forgiveness; Ahab and Daniel fasted.
When seeking God’s protection; Ezra fasted.
This is consistent with the examples of fasting in the New Testament.
When dealing with temptations; Jesus fasted.
When serving, the Lord Church in Antioch fasted.
When beginning a work for the Lord Church in Antioch fasted.
When selecting and appointing elders; Church in Galatia fasted.
Fasting should be done in conjunction with prayers.
Fasting when done properly humbles the soul – Ps 35:13 and chastens the soul – Ps 69:10
And the prayers of a humble person are more likely to be heard.-Ezra 8:21-23
Christians should fast when faced with difficult temptations.
Christians should also fast when faced with the serious illness of a loved one
Also, when appointing elders and when sending out missionaries
We are taught that God is more likely to answer our prayers if we are persistent- Luke 18:1-8; and also if we fast in the proper manner. – Mt 6:17-18
Christians should fast not to be seen of men.- Mt 6:16-18
Whether fasting as individuals or with others, it is important that we not do it for “show”.
It should be done not as regular ritual Mt. 9:14-17
It should be done with true repentance- Isa. 58:3-9
All the praying, all the fasting, is of no avail if not accompanied with penitent obedience.
Don’t go out and fast just because it sounds like a neat thing to do.
Take the subject of fasting seriously.
Fast when you desperately desire God’s help.
Start your fasting slowly, fasting only for brief periods of time. End slowly, gradually breaking your fast with fresh fruits and vegetables in small amounts.
Fast when you have time to spend in prayerful meditation.
Have and remember the purpose for fasting. The purposes are to humble oneself in God’s sight; to seek favorable answer to prayer for some important plea.