Fasting Brings Spiritual Strength and a Hearing Ear – Ray E Horton
Jesus, by fasting, set an example for us to follow. He fasted on the mountain and was strengthened when He was tempted by the devil at the beginning of His ministry. We too should fast. When the disciples were not able to cast out an evil spirit, Jesus said, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting” (Mark 9:29).
Fasting places the physical appetite second to spiritual matters. Fasting brings spiritual strength and a hearing spiritual ear. It is a good experience and helps us to draw closer to the Lord. It should be spirit-led, and as such, it will bear much fruit.
Fasting enhances our spiritual predisposition, putting the flesh under, so that we hear better from God and are more sensitive to the Holy Spirit
We Don’t Fast to Change God’s Mind
I have heard some say that fasting is some kind of legalistic works. It could be, depending on your attitude. Biblical prayer and fasting are not to try to change God’s mind about something. It does not matter to Him whether we fast or not. Rather, it enhances our spiritual predisposition, putting the flesh under, so that we hear better from God and are more sensitive to the Holy Spirit. This is something that we need even more in these last days.
And it was not just Jesus and the Old Testament people who fasted. It was important in the early church, as we see in the Book of Acts. They fasted at crucial times when it was important to be in tune with God. Acts 13:2-3 says: “As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.” So, fasting was not just involved with the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, but also the beginning of Paul’s. Notice their time of fasting included ministering to the Lord, which typically refers to praise and worship.
Then in the next chapter fasting was involved in the appointing of church leadership. Acts 14:23 says, “So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.”
Paul didn’t speak much about fasting, but probably took it for granted as a normal practice, as we see in 1 Cor. 7:5, where he is speaking of marital relations: “Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again.”
Seek the Holy Spirit for Guidance on Fasting
Fasting need not be at all legalistic. We seek the Holy Spirit for guidance. He will lead different people differently. He may lead some people to a near complete fast, some the Daniel fast (a 21-day partial fast – see Daniel 10:12-13), some to fast from meat and sweets, some maybe just something special that they like, and it need not just be food. It is good to fast from distractions like TV or wasteful times on the Internet. And it is also a good time for prayer and reflection, pulling away from the busyness of daily life to hear His voice.
Fasting can be a good experience, both personally and as a corporate body. Often believers have experienced breakthroughs in difficult situations while fasting. When churches unite in prayer and fasting, we can expect many to draw closer to the Lord and much prayer go up as incense to our heavenly Father. It is often a time when the Lord can birth new things in our midst since the people are listening.
You can fast any time, but it seems easier when you are doing it together with others. Now is a very appropriate time for increased prayer and fasting, considering all the nation and the world are experiencing, and since the Lord has been speaking of drawing people out of complacency to consecration and of a Great Awakening in which we all want to participate.