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pit-stop

Here’s a note to myself, and to those of you who’s entire life is scheduled on their phone: a cellphone (or iPad or tablet or car) without a battery is of zero use.

Why this statement? Over the weekend I forgot my charger at work. I don’t know about you guys, but my iPhone’s battery (at best) lasts about half a day. An entire weekend without a cellphone is kind of hard when all your appointments, contact details and other gizmos are dependent on that ONE simple mobile device.

In the same way a car that has no gas can’t go anywhere. (Unless you push it real hard and it happens to be standing in a downhill position.) There are many things in life that simply do not function unless they are not recharged or refilled. The same principle can be applied to our spiritual life.

People fast for different reasons, and they fast different things. I believe there’s great power in a fast. Sometimes God calls us to fast and at times we can choose to fast in order to see breakthrough in a specific situation.

I’ve asked my colleagues at work why they fast and here’s what they said:

  • To attain a deeper level of Spiritual Growth.
  • To better be able to hear God’s voice.
  • With a specific purpose, for example: trusting God for financial breakthrough in buying a car.
  • For Spiritual Breakthrough (Based on Isaiah 58) to see chains broken.

Let’s face it: I love food and I love eating it, but sometimes I CHOOSE not to eat so that my Spirit Man may be filled and strengthened. Oftentimes I’ll just be like, “I’m so hungry” twenty minutes after eating. That’s not physical hunger — I just ate. It’s my spiritual body crying out for nourishment. My Spirit Man has become so starved that it’s hunger is manifesting in the physical. It’s then that I know I have to go and spend time with God so that I might be re-filled in the Spirit.

Fasting is like a spiritual pit-stop. Your alignment is set straight, your screws are tightened and most importantly, your Spiritual tank is filled up. If you’re all filled up, you’re ready to go whenever God send you. Spending time in His word, time in prayer and fasting is like a three-stranded spiritual survival chord.

It’s a lifeline — providing oxygen that blows life into your spirit. But it’s also a life line that you can throw out to save others and provide life to them in return.

Here’s what Every Nation president, Steve Murrell has to say on fasting.

I Hate Fasting But I Do It Anyway, Here’s Why…

by Steve Murrell | Posted on Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their REWARD in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will REWARD you. Jesus in Matthew 6

Jesus said that our heavenly Father rewards fasting. Following are seven rewards of fasting:

1. Fasting turns back God’s wrath and judgment. 
Moses recorded that God was angry enough to destroy Aaron and the children of Israel because of their gold cow idol (Deuteronomy 9:18-20). But, as we know, God’s wrath was turned back after Moses fasted and prayed. Much has been said and written the past few years about God’s wrath and judgment on different nations. I’m convinced that Christians can turn back God’s judgment through fasting and prayer. Of course that will never happen unless God’s people get more concerned about the next generation than their next meal.

2. Fasting releases prophetic strategies for victory. 
The Moabites, Amonites, and several other hostile nations were arrayed against Israel. (See 2 Chronicles 20:1-30). King Jehoshaphat called for a fast. You know you are in a desperate situation when a guy nicknamed J-PHAT calls for a fast. During the fast, a prophetic word was given that laid out God’s strategy for their battle. “No swords. No shields. No spears. Get your tambourines ready, we’re going to war!” I’m sure there were some battle-hardened warriors who thought that word was way off. After all, “We’ve never fought a battle like that before.” As always, God knew best. If we are willing to skip a few meals, we may receive prophetic strategies to influence our cities for God’s glory. They may be new and untried strategies, but if they are from God, we can be confident they will work.

3. Fasting activates people and provision for God’s work. 
Nehemiah’s building project was preceded by corporate fasting. Would it have been as successful without the fasting? I don’t think so. In 1984, God opened the door for our fledgling Manila church to have its own (rented) building in Manila’s crowded University Belt as we fasted and prayed. Each time our church has expanded to a new building to own or rent, a vital part of our fund-raising strategy has been prayer and fasting.

4. Fasting releases wisdom and favor.
Daniel and his friends went on a partial fast (vegetables and water only). At the end of the fast, they were compared with the rest of the young men of Babylon. The results are recorded in Daniel 1:20. In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom. Would you like to be ten times better than your competitors? Just lay off the pizza for a few days and seek God wholeheartedly.

5. Fasting clarifies and redirects callings and ministries. 
Paul, Barnabas, and a few other Antioch church leaders were meeting together, and while they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said: set apart for me Barnabas . . . (Acts 13:1-3). While they were fasting, the Holy Spirit spoke. Would He have spoken this new direction even if they had not fasted? Probably. The real question is: Would they have been sensitive enough to hear the Holy Spirit speak if they had not fasted? Maybe. Maybe not. Are you seeking God for a new direction in your life or ministry? Good time to fast.

6. Fasting breaks demonic strongholds. 
On one occasion, the disciples unsuccessfully attempted to cast out a demon. When they asked Jesus why they had failed, He responded:  this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting(Matthew 17:21). This seems to indicate that there are certain demonic situations that, for one reason or another, can only be defeated through fasting. Isaiah said that true fasting will loose chains . . . untie the cords of yoke . . . set the oppressed free and break every yoke (Isaiah 58:6). Have you ever encountered a stubborn demonic situation? Maybe it’s the kind that only goes out by prayer and fasting.

7. Fasting increases spiritual power. 
Luke records that Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit and that He was led by the Spirit.  After His forty day fast, He returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit (Luke 4:1,14). How many Christians do you know who are full of the Spirit and led by the Spirit, but do not walk in the power of the Spirit? Need more power? Spiritual power is one of the rewards of fasting.

————————————
This blog was originally an article called “Freedom from the Stomach God” written for Evangelicals Today magazine. A few years ago I wrote several fasting blogs on my “accidental missionary” site. The first was called “I Hate Fasting.”

(Note: We encourage only healthy adults to fast. If you are pregnant or nursing, you should not fast. If you have any medical condition, you should check with your doctor before fasting.)

 

*****

 

I challenge you to take some time to fast and pray. I guarantee you’ll see spiritual growth in your life. Impossible situations will become possible and you’ll hear God’s voice more clearly.

May you, like Esther, be able to win favour with the King. May you, like Jesus, be able to resist the devil. May you, like Daniel, be able to honour the king and stand for what you believe. May you, like Barnabas and Saul be released and commissioned into the call God has placed on your life. May holiness be awakened in your life. May you be re-filled and re-freshed so that you may walk in power and righteousness.

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