WHY WE FAST
WHAT IS FASTING?
“FASTING” is simply to voluntarily abstain from food, drinks, and other “secular” activities for religious purposes. The word “fast” is taken from the Greek word Nesteia. “Ne” which is a negative prefix and “esthio” the verb means to eat.
WHY SHOULD WE FAST?
Lest “fasting” becomes taboo amongst Christians, we (as the people of God) need to understand that we should FAST because
It brings our mind under the control of God
It disciplines the body (I Cor. 9:27)
It enables us to minister unto the Lord (Acts 13:1-3, Lk. 2:36-37)
It empowers us to do spiritual warfare (Matt. 17:21)
WHEN SHOULD YOU FAST?
When led by the Spirit of God to do so (Matt. 4: 1-2)
When we sense the need to do so (Matt. 6:16-18)
When the church calls for a fast (Joel 1:14-16)
KINDS OF FAST
Normal Fast – abstaining from food but drinking water (Lk. 4:2, Matt. 4:2)
Absolute Fast – abstaining from food and water (Esther 4:16; Acts 9:8-9)
Partial Fast – Restriction of certain foods (Dan. 1:8; 10:3)
Supernatural Fast – going beyond what the human body can stand Moses (Deut. 9:9), Elijah (Ex. 34:28), and Jesus Christ (Matt 4:1)
WHAT ARE THE RIGHT MOTIVES FOR FASTING?
Fasting unto God (Matt. 6:16-18)
In secret (Matt. 6:18)
With proper attitude and pure motive (Isa. 58)
Know your purpose for fasting. It is a corporate fast – one that the Pastor has called for the church body or is it a personal fast – one in which the Holy Spirit has prompted you to do.
PREPARATION FOR FASTING
Clear your calendar – You will know when you are to fast. Clear as many engagements (as possible) and/or excessive activities—in order to spend more time gaining an intimate relationship with God. This intimacy can come through prayer and reading His word.
Prepare Your Home – Inform members of your household that you will be fasting. This will help them to understand and cooperate with you in your attempts. If at all possible, clean out your refrigerator of foods you should NOT eat and remove any/all snacks to avoid temptation.
Prepare Your Mind – As the Spirit of God leads, determine what type of fast and the length of the fast you will be going on. Keep your mind full of spiritual things. Avoid excessive phone conversations. Read God’s word, and stay in prayer. Listen to spiritual tapes, music and sermons. You may watch T.V. if it is a Christian broadcast station that can minister to you during the fast. Your mind should be focused on spiritual things at all times. During a fast, the mind is very receptive (opened) to both spiritual and carnal things. So with this in mind, you don’t want the wrong spirits to creep in.
Prepare Your Body – Cleanse your digestive system with a mild laxative (if at all possible). Eat light the day before you start the fast. During the fast, you would want to bathe often. This is encouraged due to the MANY impurities that will come out your pores. Keep your teeth and breathe cleansed and fresh during the fast, since the breath becomes foul during this time.
DISCOMFORTS DURING THE FAST
Often during a fast, there may be some discomforts that may discourage you from continuing and to terminate the fast before its time. Here is how you might deal with some of the discomforts you might experience:
Backaches or headaches
Coffee drinkers may experience these symptoms. If so, stop drinking coffee and any other drinks that contain caffeine three days before you fast. Be mindful that
chocolate and some sodas also contain coffee.
Eat fresh fruit and plenty of vegetables and/or light meals one day BEFORE the fast.
Exercise or walk daily
Drink lots of hot water
Dizziness or nausea
Getting up (standing up) quickly causes this problem because the body is in the process of slowing down—because of the lack of food. During this time, work at moving
When this happens, sit down with your Bible and read. Feed from the word of God and allow it to nourish your spirit. Jesus said “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”
During the fast, your body is readjusting. The organs slow down and are getting used to not having food. Your body also begins a process of “cleaning house.” After the body has cleansed itself, your spiritual senses begin to come alive. This is when you will begin to hear the voice of God clearer and His word becomes clearer during the fast. The first three days of a fast are the most difficult, especially if you work. After the first week (or so), you won’t feel the same effects. It takes the Holy Spirit to give you victory, so lean on Him.
Breaking a fast
After a lengthy fast, solid foods should not be eaten right away. By so doing, you are liable to receive cramps, headaches and other pains. This comes as a result of the “lack” of foods you gave up during the fasting period.
WHAT IF YOU MISTAKENLY EAT THE WRONG THING DURING THE FAST?
Ask God to forgive you, to strengthen you and continue on. Don’t use this as a way to eat something you might crave for during the fast. Remember God sees the intent of the heart! Once you have asked God to carry you through your fast, you have made a contractual agreement with Him. Ask Him to strengthen you in order to fulfill the agreement you have made with Him.
IF YOU ARE SICK OR OVERWEIGHT SHOULD YOU FAST?
God is interested in the whole man, which includes your body, soul and spirit. Everything that He asks of us is for our good if it is done properly. Fasting has been known to have cured some diseases (since its purpose is to purify the body). As for being overweight, it rids the body of excess weight, which makes for a slender body. Regular periods of fasting can control the metabolism and cause the body to burn off excess fat.
REASONS FOR FASTING
God told Moses to tell the children of Israel to declare a solemn fast. Solemn means to be “serious” as well as sincere. Your fast should be serious, one that will cause you to go looking for something in order that you might receive something from God. REMEMBER: From the beginning, a “FAST” was designed to meet the spiritual demands of God.