FASTING, A WHOLE BURNT OFFERING UNTO GOD
Fasting is one of those expedient spiritual exercises Christians need to perform from time to time, yet many never want to fast. And when they need to, they approach it with trepidation as though it is some kind of punishment! Yet the Lord our Saviour, the Head of the Church, did not make fasting optional for us His followers; for He said, “..when you fast…” and not “If you fast”. He had also earlier said, “…when you pray…” in verse 6 of this same great chapter on prayer and other needful injunctions on effective Christian living; and this should tell us that He holds both as being equally important.
The negative attitude of many Christians to fasting is surely as a result of ignorance of the numerous diversities of benefits they stand to gain from it. If they knew, they would actually fast on a regular basis without waiting for a fasting program to be called by their local Assembly. This is why this study is being culled from our book on fasting and posted before the Second Edition of the book is available.
What is Fasting?
Fasting is offering yourself as a whole burnt offering to the Most High God. You are saying to God on a regular basis and not necessarily in times of crisis, ‘’Father, need to come spend some quality time with You in Your secret place and I pray for the grace needed for me to do that. I need to gather strength from You and also some needful information needed to successfully navigate the season ahead. I know You are never too busy to hold one of us Your Children on Your lap”.
Or, if one is facing a crisis or has a desperate need which has not bowed to prayers –
Or Lord, I have this challenge facing me. I have prayed, I pay my tithe, I give offering, I have paid my special offering vows, I serve You in all the ways You have asked me to, I have amended my ways as the Holy Spirit has led and helped me; but this challenge will not give way. I humbly accept that I have come to the end of myself and I do not know what else to do. I have nothing more to give now than my whole self, as I lay the problem at Your Throne and lay myself down on Your Altar as a living sacrifice during these days of fasting’’
There is no time someone gives a sacrificial offering unto God and He will not pay attention and say something, usually great promises and blessings. For instance –
Noah in Ge.8:20
Then Noah built an altar to the Lord , and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the Lord smelled a soothing aroma. Then the Lord said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done. “While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, Cold and heat, Winter and summer, And day and night Shall not cease….
God then went on to bless Noah and his descendants – Gen.9:1-17
..and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord , because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son — blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” ‘
Examples abound in Scripture and we know that The Lord Jesus Himself got a Name that is above all names after He offered Himself as a whole burnt offering at Calvary. All heaven will stand at attention when we lay ourselves down on God’s Altar when on a fast; because we are identifying with the Lord Jesus Who was the first person to offer Himself as a whole burnt offering before the Most High when He left His glorious heavenly abode to come down and live with us on planet earth to reveal God to us and reconcile us back to Him; before He laid down His life to die a cruel death on the Cross at Calvary.
Remember that in the Old Testament, the kind of offering they were required to bring to God were bulls, sheep, goats, pigeons, doves, baked fine flour, oil, wine; all as prescribed by God Himself to Moses on Mount Horeb. These are recorded in the Book of Leviticus, chapters 1 to 17. But God said something later through David, who had a prophetic gifting as well as being king –
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
Let’s link that with fasting in another Psalm of David –
…I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom.
And the fast Ezra proclaimed before embarking on the dangerous journey from Babylon to Israel with the precious vessels stolen from the Temple by Nebuchadnezzar which Cyrus was returning –
Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions.
So, fasting brings us to God in helplessness, brokenness and humility; and God cannot resist coming to the rescue of anyone who does that. Let’s look at one Biblical example of the power heaven releases into a time a fasting – There was a time when the Israelites were in serious trouble and they had to fast and bring offerings before the Lord as recorded in Judges chapters 20 and 21 –
Now, some men of the tribe of Benjamin had raped to death the concubine of a Levite and they were not sorry; so, the other ten Tribes (minus the tribe of Levi because they do not bear arms) came to war against them. There were only 26,700 Benjamites against 400,000 other Israelites, yet the Benjamites defeated them twice in that war! So, in verse 26, we are told –
Then all the children of Israel, and all the people, went up, and came unto the house of God, and wept, and sat there before the LORD, and fasted that day until even, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.
And the Lord answered them with reassuring words of comfort and then gave them resounding victory against the unrepentant Benjamites the very next day. They were soundly defeated and so many of their young men were killed such that their women no longer had enough Benjamite men to marry and the other tribes had to help them out!
Do you have a battle to fight? A long-standing battle which seemed to have defeated you thus far despite all the praying and fasting you have done? Beloved, that is what this study is all about – to learn how we do a fast that will get the attention of heaven and bring us victory, every time, in Jesus Name.
Now, we shall quickly look at this study under these headings –
- What is a fast?
- How do I fast and get the attention of heaven? God calls that ‘’a fast that I have chosen’’ in Isa.58:6
- How did the Lord Jesus fast such that He pleased God? That is our Model Fast. Matt.4:1-11; Lu.4:1-14.
- The goal of fasting according to Scripture; that is, our expectations from a fasting exercise
- What are the benefits/rewards of fasting? 11Chro.7, Isa. 58, Joel 2
I trust that by the time we have finished with this study, all of us will be looking forward to the next period of fasting with joy and expectations rather than the usual ‘’Oh no! Fasting again?’’ In fact, you yourself will now happily set aside a few days every month for fasting without any prompting from your Church Assembly. You see, Beloved, a period marked by joy and gladness and cheerfulness are really meant to be the heavenly pattern for fasting for a Christian –
Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts;…
- What is a fast?
A fast is a spiritual exercise, a time of doing without food and/or drink, for part or all of a day; for one or several days; for the sole purpose of praying and seeking the Face of God over an issue. It may also simply be a time of gathering strength and grace from Him. It is a time when we allow the flesh to be suppressed so that our spirit can be well-tuned to the Spirit of God to receive instructions from Him. You see, Beloved, God is constantly talking to us in different ways but we do not hear Him because of worldly activities and care. Job33:14 says ‘’For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.’’ Fasting lays down all cares and allows us to tune our spirit man to the wavelength of God; for God is a Spirit and we can only communicate with Him through our spirit man.
A good analogy here – There are radio waves passing through the space all around us right now, but we cannot catch any of them until we put on a radio and tune it to the wavelength needed to receive a particular radio station. That is how our spirit man is. It has to be fine-tuned to the wavelength of God for us to receive needful deep instructions from Him which we have not received thus far. Fasting is necessary to shut out all other interfering stations like the flesh and the cares of the world.
A fast can last for a period of one day or more, when we refrain from food from the night before and break the fast every evening, usually at six pm. Sometimes the fast may be broken earlier than six pm, depending on the leading of the Lord for that fasting exercise. In such a case, only one meal is missed and the fast is then called a Partial fast.
There is also what is known as a Stretch Fast or Esther Fast, during which there will be no breaking of the fast until the end of the stipulated period, say three or seven or twenty-one or forty days. Examples of three-day stretch fasts in Scripture are seen, firstly, in Est.4:16, which was also a corporate fast as well as a total fast – no food, no water. Some call this a Dry Fast. The second 3-day-stretch fast is recorded in Acts9:8,9, and it involved only the newly converted Saul of Tarsus.
The Lord Jesus fasted for forty days before He would embark on His earthly ministry. It was a stretch-fast, as He took no food the entire time; though it was believed that He drank water because we were told that He was hungry but not told He was thirsty. Matt.4:1-11; Lu.4:1-14. It was during that time in the wilderness that He defeated the devil before the physical defeat on the Cross at Calvary. That tells us that fasting is also a weapon of warfare.
The Prophet Elijah was another Bible personality who undertook a forty-day stretch-fast. This was after his famous contest with four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. After the defeat and slaughter of Jezebel’s prophets, she issued a revenge assault against Elijah. The Man of God fled into the wilderness where God sent an Angel to minister to him and prepare him for a meeting with God on Mount Horeb, the same place where Moses had met with God in the past. Elijah took the journey into Mount Horeb for forty days and forty nights without food or water, only “in the strength of that (Angel’s) food” which was fed him before his journey. See 1Kings chapter 19. This tells us that a fast may be needed even after a time of victory because the enemy we just defeated may come back on a revenge attack!
The longest stretch-fast in the Bible is that of Moses when he went on two forty-day’s fast one immediately after the other. See Ex.24:18; 34:28. Moses had gone up the Mount Sinai to receive the design of the Tabernacle and the Law – the Civil Law, the Ten Commandments and the Ceremonial Law – to guide the Israelites in their interpersonal relationships and in Tabernacle Worship in the Promised Land. When he came down, he found as God had hinted him on the Mount, that the people he left behind had produced an idol, the notorious Golden Calf. Moses cast down the tablets of the Law in anger and broke them. God threatened to destroy the whole congregation and Moses had to go back up immediately to intercede for the people after he destroyed the golden calf. At the end of the second forty-day stretch fast, he brought down another set of tablets on which God again wrote the Ten Commandments with His Finger.
Most Believers who want to embark on a stretch-fast lasting for more than seven days usually go to retreat centres or Prayer Mountains which have the expertise to handle people on long stretch-fasts.
Another type of fast is called the Daniel Fast or No Pleasant Bread fast. Some call it White fast, but the principle is the same as that which Daniel used in chapter 11 of his Book, verse 3 – “I ate no pleasant bread…”. When breaking this fast, one would eat simple meals, sometimes with no salt or oil or sugar. I would break such a fast with crackers or a cereal, a handful of nuts and some tea. I have known of some who would break with vegetable soup with no oil or salt with some white rice or other forms of carbohydrate.
- How do we undertake a fast that God has chosen and please God such that we get the attention of Heaven? Isa.58:6 –
The first thing is to realise that fasting is a heavenly call. It is a time when God calls us into a time of intimacy with Him for a divine purpose. That means any fast that will get the attention of heaven must originate from heaven; just as any prayer that will get the attention of heaven must originate from heaven as God told us in Isa.55:8-11 –
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord . For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.’For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
We know that our prayers originate from heaven when our requests find links in Scripture. Our thoughts about an issue are likely to be different from God’s thoughts and His way out of a challenge must of necessity be quite different as well. For us to tap into His thoughts and His way out, we need His wisdom which will be released to us as a Rheama, a Word from heaven sent for that purpose at that time; and when we use this Word to pray, solution comes. The Word usually comes from the Bible or can be traced to the Bible if it comes in the form of spoken prophecy.
A fast must be seen as what it really is – a time of intimate worship of, and intense communication with, our God and therefore the invitation must originate from heaven. God Himself will call us, to a time of intimacy with Him when the time is right and for the right reasons. It is not us saying ‘’I am just going to fast until this problem goes away!’’ when the answer is plain in Scripture or when all we need to do is to stop a bad habit. A fast called by God is rather a scenario where God has seen our struggles and says into our hearts, “This type does not go out but by fasting and praying”
Willfully embarking of a fast without a deep inner conviction and God’s agreement is simply a hunger-strike! It will be manipulated by the devil and the person can actually become very sick, and some have actually died during or after such a fast. I know two young men at different times who had to be evacuated from their fasting retreat because they became insane! One had insisted he wanted seven-fold the power of Elisha and that he would remain on a fast and in seclusion till he got it! This was an unbiblical request and the Holy Spirit did not accompany him into the fast as He did for the Lord Jesus, so a demon rather obliged the young man and entered into him.
The solution to many of the issues some Believers take to God in fasting may really lie in them changing some aspects of their lives and character rather than fasting. Fasting cannot be used as a substitute for obedience to the revealed will of God. For example, if you are lazy, you will be poor; if you don’t give, you will lack; if a woman desires to marry but has a sharp tongue, men will run away from her; if you eat too much, you will become fat and so on. No amount of fasting will solve what a simple change of life-style in obedience to God’s Word, will do.
In the Old Testament, God would call His people to a time of fasting, either directly or through the voice of the Prophets; but now God talks to us in various ways by His Holy Spirit in us and through His Servants.
Let’s look at some of the ways that God could use to call us to a time of fasting –
- If you know how to hear from God, He can minister to you directly, ‘’Son, come up to the mountain and let’s talk and work this out!’’
- He can take you to a part of the Bible where a similar problem like yours is solved because the person involved undertook a fast.
- The Lord can use a Prophetic voice, like your Pastor or your counsellor or a Godly elder. That means when the Church is called to a corporate fast, do not miss it because that is a Prophetic voice calling you to a fast. Now, a corporate fast is so powerful that it can be described thus – while a personal fast is like adding petrol to your prayer-fire; a corporate fast is like adding dynamite into your prayer-fire – you get an explosion of God’s power.
The role of the Holy Spirit in fasting
This is very crucial; because He is the One Who will reveal to us that we need to fast, He will guide us into the fast as He did the Lord Jesus, He will give us the enablement to do the fast to God’s pleasing and He will lead us to pray according to the Will of God. Fasting is not by our power or might or by earthly wisdom but by the enablement of the Holy Spirit. He helps us to ignore the hunger-pangs and rather concentrate on allowing Him to tune our spiritual ears and eyes to the wavelength of God, eagerly expecting God to mercifully send us crucial information in the helplessness and weakness of our fasting period –
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain:…
- How did the Lord Jesus fast and please God? Our Model Fast – Matt.4:1-11; Lu.4:1-14 –
Facts about this fast which we need to emulate –
- The Lord has just been baptized in water by John the Baptise and anointed and as well empowered by the Holy Spirit for His earthly mission. Also, God has declared Him as His beloved Son Who has already pleased Him; because God trusted the Lord that He will surely fulfil His divine destiny of the redemption of mankind. And, true to type, Satan immediately rose up to challenge Him and all that God said about Him. So, when you have just received a promise of God, in a dream, vision or prophecy, you must be jubilant, yes, but it is also a time to fast and war over the promise. In 1Tim.1:18, Paul told Timothy –
This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;
We have already made the point that fasting is a weapon of warfare.
Because the Lord is the ultimate Prophet, He knew of the impending challenge to the great prophecy God has just declared openly about Him, and He immediately went into the wilderness led by the Holy Spirit, to face Satan’s challenge with fasting and prayer. The fast lasted for forty days and then Satan the Tempter came…
Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. 3 And when the tempter came to him, he said…
This teaches us that the Lord did not wait for the crisis to come before embarking on a fast, but began fasting as soon as He knew by the prophetic in Him that it was coming. Remember Joseph? If he had known the troubles that would follow the sharing of the dreams he had, he would have immediately gone fasting after he got those dreams of his great destiny!
- The Lord went into the wilderness fast/challenge under the leadership and supervision of the Holy Spirit and not by Himself; therefore, He knew where to go for the fast, and for how long He should fast. If you have to undertake such a long fast, the Holy Spirit will tell you which retreat centre to go to.
- He knew other divine specified instructions about the fast, in that it is believed that He only did without food but drank water, because we were told He was hungry afterwards but not told He was thirsty. When He was thirsty on the cross, He said so. Moses fasted without food and water and the Bible is explicit on that as well. See Ex.34:28a –
And he (Moses) was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water…
- He went into the wilderness combat, armed with a quiver full of ‘arrows’ from the Old Testament. Such an arrow is a specific Holy Ghost chosen Word for a particular challenge, and it is called a ‘sword of the Spirit’ in Eph.6:17 or a ‘Rheama’ by Theologians. After all, He is the embodiment of the fullness of The Word of God, Jn.1:1; and He knew what sword of the Spirit He should use to neutralize and defeat every satanic suggestion. The Lord quoted from the Old Testament -8:8; 6:16; 10:12. This tells us that Bible study and memorization come in useful during a time of fasting; as the necessary swords of the spirit would be pulled out of Scripture and we should then quickly turn them into prayer to become deadly unassailable weapons. The Holy Spirit can only tell us which arrow to use if we are familiar with the Word of God and have memorized some.
The result of this our Lord,s model fast was victory all round – over the satanic challenge about His Heavenly origin, His parentage as the Son of God, and over His earthly ministry of redemption. Therefore, at the end of the satanic wilderness challenge we are told in Matt.4:11 –
Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
This tells us that a time of fasting is a time of Angelic ministration.
Consequent to Satan’s defeat in the wilderness challenge, we are told in Lu.4:14,15 –
And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.
The Lord received power for His Ministry because He did not succumb to the tempter’s diversionary tactics, and a terror of Him went forth into the kingdom of darkness that their boss, Satan, had just been defeated in the wilderness by the Lord of Glory! They knew then that the Messiah had finally come to put an end to their wicked activities on earth. This is what happened in His first port of call –
And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice, Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God.
What a glory!
This tells us that a fast can only be said to be successful if we come out of it with divine instructions and power to go forth and terrorize all that terrorized us into the fast! Yes!
- The goal of fasting. What should we expect from a period of fasting?
During my study of fasting some years ago, I was surprised to find that the singular result of Biblical fasting is for those fasting to receive divine guidance which will lead to the solution of the problem at hand. God will not come down and solve the problem for us; because, as His Children, He wants us to understand His ways so that we too can help others; but will shine light into what is hidden so that we can then see the way out of the problem.
Isa.58:10c & 11a –
… then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: 11 And the LORD shall guide thee continually…
If we study all the fasts in the Bible – which we sought to do in the main book, Prophetic Fasting, from where we extracted this short study – we will find that the first thing that happens after a fast is that God sends a prophetic voice to tell the people what to do and when they follow His instructions – no matter how strange – His power is released to bring in the expected victory. For example, in 11Chro.20:20-22 Jehoshaphat got a strange war strategy that brought resounding victory; Esther got instructions to call the king to a banquet before presenting her case to him.
People also get instructions for ministry after a fast, even when the fast was not specifically for that. A good example was Daniel because he realised it was 70 years already since the Israelites have been in Babylonian captivity, and this was the length of time the Lord said through Jeremiah that it will last for. So, he went fasting and repenting before the Lord and God sent a lengthy Angelic message to Daniel, giving him the historical destiny of his people for centuries to come; which was a way of telling him that his prayer for release from Babylonian bondage was heard. See Book of Daniel chapters 9, 10, 11. Other examples are – in Lu.4:18 after His fast, the Lord proclaimed His earthly mission statement from the Book of Isaiah ch.61; in Acts9:10-17 the divine destiny of Saul/Paul given through Ananias; and so on.
A time of fasting is a time of revelation and you tend to have more dreams and visions during this period. God opens the scrolls of heaven and begins to show you the secrets relating to the problem at hand and even beyond the problem. He also leads you to Scriptures relating to the issue and in those Scriptures are your specific, targeted prayer-points that will bring in the victory. The Lord can even bring someone to physically tell you some secrets even though he or she may not know you are fasting over the matter. As well, messages can come from the Pulpit through Preachers and Ministers by the unction of the Holy Spirit; so, if miss any Church service during a fasting period, you may miss divine messages. God can also send you an Angelic message during a fast, and since Angels can take human form, this is a time to be careful how you treat strangers so that you do not grieve the Angel sent to you by God. Therefore, a fasting period is a time to open your ears as well as your eyes to what you hear and see, both physically and spiritually; and keep a record of them.
- What are the benefits and rewards of fasting –
Our God is such a wonderful and ‘’too much’’ God, as we learn from His great Name, El Shaddai, that everything He asks us to do comes with a lot more reward than we can ever envisage if we are obedient. Many receive healing during fasting periods, those waiting on the Lord for the fruit of the womb have been known to become pregnant after a fast, many receive ministerial calling and so on. When you study 11Chro.7:14,15; Isa.58:8-14 and Joel2:18-32, you will find a total of 26 benefits of fasting and these far outweigh the inconvenience of fasting. We will look at them in a minute but let me assure you that God clearly promises in His Word that He will reward fasting, whether individual or corporate. See –
Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts; therefore love the truth and peace.
But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
Let’s do a quick run-down of these rewards enumerated –
- The LORD will hear our cry from heaven, His Throne.
- He will forgive our sins.
- The Lord will heal not only us, but our land as well.
- His eyes will be open and His ears will pay attention more than before to our prayers made at the place of the Altar of fasting.
- Our light shall break forth as a new day and the glory of God shall be our rear-guard.
- There will be healing
- The Lord will clothe us in His righteousness
- His glory shall be our rear-guard, shielding us from the back where our eyes cannot see
- When we call, He will answer, and show up when we cry to Him
- He will bring us out of obscurity
- He wiil turn every darkness into noon-day for us
- The Lord will guide us continually
- He will feed and water us with unfailing water even in drought
- Our generational faulty, broken, corrupt foundations will be rebuilt
- We shall be known by new noble names because we shall be a blessing to generations
- We shall delight ourselves in the Lord; that is, our greatest joy will be to do the will of God and bring Him pleasure
- The Lord will cause us to ride upon the high places of the earth
- The Lord will give us the promises of Jacob, most of which he inherited from his father, Abraham
Joel 2:18-32 –
- The Lord’s compassion will be aroused and He will take away our reproach
- He will fight our enemies Himself
- God will bring an end to famine and revive the land to yield its fruit to us
- He will give us the former and latter rains to bring in abundance of harvest
- There will be restoration of all those things we lost as a consequence of God’s displeasure towards us
- God will remove our shame by openly identifying us as His People who now have His favour.
- He will cause the Holy Spirit to be poured upon us and revive in us the manifestations of spiritual gifts
- There shall be salvation and deliverance.
We can see immediately that the rewards of fasting far out-weigh the inconvenience of a few days of hunger-pangs, can we not, Beloved? Then when the next fast is called, I can be sure that you should receive and embrace it with rejoicing and not groaning. Bless God!
However, there are always conditions attached to every promise of God. To achieve that status of a fast that God will accept as an offering unto Him such that He will send us rewards, the conditions are given in Isa.58:6,7,9,10
- Enter a fast with a heart of repentance for both personal and ancestral sins. This is a way of offering peace offerings to the Lord as the Israelites did in the historical account we read in Judges Chapters 19 and 20. Repentance is so crucial to our prayer-life that there are 3 chapters where you will find prayers of repentance in Scripture and they all fall into chapter 9 of the books – Ezra, Nehemiah and Daniel. Daniel first brought repentance before the Lord immediately he started his fast. See Da.9:1-19. So did Moses in Ex.32:30-32 when he went back up to God after destroying the offending Golden Calf.
- Let your heart and words be pure during this time of fasting and you will be pleasantly surprised to note later that restraining of your tongue has become a habit. No gossips, no hurtful words, no slander, no vain talking. Do not go where you will be defiled by what you see, hear, touch or eat. God accepts only sacrifices that have no blemish and you are now the sacrifice, don’t forget.
- Do good works in Church and in the community – Isa.58:6,7.
- Giving is mandatory; both in Church as well as to the poor and needy around you and in your family. Remember the Israelites brought offerings to the Lord in Judges Chapter 20:26; and giving to the poor and needy is stressed also in Isa.58:7.
- Recommendations –
Every believer who wants to grow and fulfil his destiny must set apart a time for personal fasting which can be once a week or once or twice a month; so that he can be guided continually by God out of the snare of the tempter. Church groups like the Pastors, the Choir, Women/Men/Youth groups and so on, should undertake corporate fasting so that they can receive in-fillings of the Power and Wisdom of God to excel in their calling.
Do you know that the nation of Israel throughout their history undertake fasting at least once a year? They fast on the day of Atonement for sure; and also at any time there was a national crisis. And Americans too have been fasting once a year for their nation for centuries, in times of crises, and it later became a regular national fast; and during his administration, President Reagan fixed it on the first Thursday in May. As well, some of their past Presidents have readily called them to a time of fasting during notable national crises in American history. An example was a fast called by President Abraham Lincoln during the war of abolition of slavery in April 1863 when the North-South civil war raged and the nation almost lost the war to the South slave-owners. This is one crucial reason why these two nations have proven to be so great, strong and invincible despite the massive disparity between their land-mass and their population.
Days of corporate fasting is what Nigeria needs now more than anything, because God has promised that, If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
Culled from the book, “Prophetic Fasting” by Dr Bunmi Binitie