What Is Fasting?
There are times for all of us when the day-to-day business of life and the constant demands on our bodies seem to get in the way. Somehow our pipeline gets clogged with carnal things, and the rushing stream of God’s power is reduced to a trickle in our lives.
Fasting is a valuable spiritual tool. There are basically two categories of fasting. The first category is a proclaimed fast (Joel 1:14). A proclaimed fast is for the purpose of bringing believers to a place where they can hear from God. Often proclaimed fasts are called when believers are looking to unite and go in one direction—toward God, together.
The second type of fasting is a personal fast (Matthew 6). It also yields very gratifying rewards. Read Matthew 6:16-18. You can either receive your reward from the admiration of men or you can receive your reward from God. The key is fasting in secret so that God can reward you openly.
Here is a five-step checklist for fasting that will help you put yourself in a position to receive from God.
1. Decide the purpose of the fast. No matter what you are seeking from the Lord, decide before you begin what you wish to obtain through your effort. Find God’s promises that cover your situation, and believe you receive before the fast begins. Faith brings the results you desire, and faith is born out of the Word of God, not out of fasting.
2. Proclaim the fast before the Lord.
3. Believe you receive the reward (Matthew 6:18)—before the fast. The reward will probably be related to the first step. The purpose of the fast will have a great deal to do with the rewards involved. If you are fasting for revelation knowledge, the reward would be receiving the knowledge you desire.
4. Minister to the Lord. One of the best things you can do to learn how to minister to the Lord is to read the Psalms. You minister to Him by speaking of His mighty works. When you begin to praise and minister to Him, He will get involved with you! You need to fellowship with Him, and He needs to hear your praise and thanksgiving.
5. Always minister to others after the fast. You need to use the spiritual power within you to meet the needs of people. If you fast according to the Word of God, you will be spiritually built up.
Fasting simply brings the spirit man which is in union with the Holy Spirit into ascendance over the flesh. It also limits the influence of the physical appetites so that you can more effectively hear from and respond to the Spirit. It is important for you to understand that it’s not the fasting itself that brings the deliverance. Jesus has already obtained deliverance through the complete work of redemption. Fasting is not a method of twisting God’s arm to get Him to respond when you pray. Fasting does not change God, it changes you!