“…When you fast…” Matthew 6:16
“…This kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting”
Lifted Church is coming to the end of our 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting and we are very excited and filled with anticipation of what God is going to do this year in the ministry of Lifted Church!
We chose to share some various types of fasting with the Launch Team and left it up to each individual to choose what it is they were fasting from. We feel its up to the individual to make that choice.
Now I don’t necessarily feel led to share the different types of fasts that we see people participate in. But I do feel like sharing a couple points on what fasting IS and what fasting IS NOT.
Fasting is not-
*Suffering yourself so God will hear you. As a child of God you have His attention. You need not think that giving up something for a season is showing God that you’re suffering without whatever it is you are fasting from. And the belief that somehow God honors your suffering without it? No, that’s not fasting.
*Something to brag about your accomplishments. Jesus talked about a group of people in the Bible that wanted to do that very thing. Whatever it is we are praying about, we will lose the reward if we constantly tell others what we are doing. Note: When a church or group of people fast together, this is a Corporate Fast and this is not something that we are bragging about. This act is Biblical.
*A contest with God. If you fasted for 2 days this month it doesn’t mean you have to fast for 3 days next time. It’s not a process where you feel you have to constantly outdo yourself every time you fast. God is pleased with the sacrifice in fasting. A time of fasting or what it is you’re fasting from should be prayerfully considered every time you decide to fast.
Now we do read in the Bible that fasting is something he wants us to do. He places it in a category in Matthew chapter 6 along with giving and praying. So praying, giving and fasting are all three commanded by God. But we misunderstand what it is and isn’t at times. So now, for a couple points on what fasting is.
*Bringing clarity in your relationship with God. It removes “clutter in your life” when you push away different things for a season.
*Showing and Teaching Discipline. By putting various foods, or even activities away for a certain time, you are showing God the discipline you are exercising during the process of drawing closer to Him.
*Demonstrating and Increasing Desire for God. When you first make the choice to fast for a season, you demonstrate a desire for God. And throughout the fast your desire increases.
Fasting in its most basic purpose is to draw closer to God. Everything else (including your needs) is secondary.
I hope these quick points help you understand a little bit more clearly the subject of fasting. I’ll end by quoting John Piper, “Fasting expresses, rather than creates, a hunger for God.”
Prayer- God, I understand that fasting is related some to witnessing you move in ways that are powerful. And I thank you for that. But I also understand that fasting first and foremost is an act to put other things away for a season in order to draw closer to you. Show me some things in my life that I should put away. Show me a time when I should put these away and show me a length of time I should do it in order to draw closer to you. In Jesus name ~Amen