Audio message is found at the following link, scroll down to June 12, 2011.
Church: New Life Community Chapel
Date: June 12, 2011
"And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: And I prayed unto the Lord God, and made my confession ... " Daniel 9:34
Why has the discipline or practice of fasting been forgotten in so many circles of the church today?
How many or should I say how few people practice the discipline of fasting.
How has Satan managed to silence so many Christian leaders today on this subject?
Though fasting is clearly taught and practiced in both the Old and New Testaments we rarely hear anything about it.
I. What evidence is there of Old Testament individuals fasting?
Moses fasted twice for forty days till his face shone with the glory of God
Joshua fasted after the defeat by Ai.
In the time of the judges and in the time of Samuel all of Israel fasted.
David fasted before he was crowned, when his child was ill, when his enemies were ill and because of the sin of the people.
Jehoshaphat and his people fasted till God said, “You will not have to fight this battle.” They won by fasting and praise without one hour of fighting or bloodshed.
Elijah, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Daniel were all known for their fasting.
II. Is there a place for fasting in New Testament times?
A. Fasting was not required of the disciples of Jesus.
MT 9:14 (MK 2:18; LK 5:33)
B. But Jesus spoke of a day when there would be a place for fasting.
Mat. 6:16-18; Mat. 9:15 (Lk. 5:34-35)
C. What examples do we have of New Testament saints fasting?
Acts 14:23; Isa. 22:12-13 and saints down through the ages
III. What guidelines are set forth in scripture concerning fasting?
A. It is to be done in a manner of humility and secrecy.
Mat. 6:16-18; Lk. 18:9-14
B. Fasting is closely related to prayer and reading of the Word.
NE 1:4; 9:1-3; DA 9:3,20; Joel 2:12; JNH 3:7-9; LK 2:36-37; AC 9:9; 10:30; 13:2; 14:23; 1CO 7:5
C. A fast may be either absolute or partial.
1. Examples of absolute (complete) fasts:
DT 9:9, EZ 10:6; EST 4:16; AC 9:9; 27:33
2. Examples of partial fasts (abstinence from certain foods only):
1KI 17; DA 10:3
D. There is a place for both the corporate (group) and the individual (personal) fast.
1. Examples of corporate fasts:
1SA 7:5-6; EZ 8:21-23; NE 9:1-3; Joel 2:15-16; JNH 3:5-10; AC 27:33-37
2. Examples of the individual fast:
2SA 12:15-16, 22-23; 1KI 21:27-29; PS 35:13; DA 9:3
IV. Fasting in itself is of no spiritual value if the heart is not right. (Isaiah 58; Jeremiah 14:12; I Corinthians 8:8) –
JN 3:6; Joel 2:12-13
A. Only fasting that is done with the right motive, that of glorifying God, can be pleasing in His sight.
ISA 58; ZEC 7:5-6; MT 6:16-18; LK 18:9-14
V. How long should I fast?
A. Bible personalities fasted and sought God diligently until they obtained from God what they desired.
1SA 1:6-8, 17-18; AC 9:9, 17-19
1. Or until the Lord made it evident that what they requested simply would not be obtained
B. The length of a fast may vary.
1. One night.
2. One day.
1 SA 7:6; 2 SA 1:12; 3:35, JDG 20:26
3. Three days and three nights.
EST 4:16; AC 9:9, 17-19
4. Seven days.
1SA 31:13; 2SA 12:16-23
5. Fourteen days.
6. Twenty-one days.
7. Forty days.
a. Moses (at two different times).
EX 24:18; 34:28; DT 9:9, 18, 25-29; 10:10
MT 4:2 (MK 1:13; LK 4:2)
VI. When should I fast?
A. The ordination of elders and commissioning of apostles to ministry.
AC 13:3; 14:23
B. Intercession for the people of God.
EX 24:18; DT 9:8-9; 12:20, 23-27; EZ 10:6; DA 9:3-4; Joel 2:12-14, 17-18; JNH 3:5-10
C. Humbling and chastening of oneself.
1KI 21:27-29; PS 35:13; 69:10
D. Seeking the Lord and His way.
JDG 20:26-28; 2CH 20:3; EZ 8:21-23
E. Repentance and confession of sin.
1SA 7:6; 1KI 21:27-29; EZ 10:6; HE 1:4-7; 9:1-3; JER 36:6-10; DA 9:3-5, 20; JNH 3:5-10
F. Receiving healing.
1SA 1:5-11, 18-20; 2SA 12:15-16, 22-23; ISA 58:8; AC 9:9, 17-19
G. Petitioning God to withhold His hand in judgment.
DT 9:18, 25; ISA 58:9
H. Preparation to receive word from God.
DT 9:18, 25; ISA 58:9
I. Spiritual deliverance.
ISA 58:6; MK 9:29 (MT 17:21)
J. Seeking assistance in time of fear.
K. Mourning another's death
2SA 1:12; 3:35; DA 6:18; EST 4:3; 9:1-3
L. Seeking protection.
M. Lacking material provision; in need.
VII. Fasting is an extremely valuable and important aspect of the Christian life; but it is not an infallible means of "getting what we want" from God.
JER 14:12; 2SA 12:15-23; 1 SA 15:22
Conclusion: Fasting is used to humble us and to draw us closer to God at specific times. During which times, if our hearts are right, God will speak to us. He will either grant what we are seeking or will redirect us in order to align us with Him.
I encourage that you begin to use the discipline of fasting in your lives as you seek after God and His purposes for your life