FOUR BIBLICAL REASONS TO FAST
1. FASTING DURING TRANSITIONS
2 Samuel 1:12:
They mourned and wept and fasted till evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the army of the LORD and the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.
Saul, the king of Israel, and his son Jonathan had just died. David, the one called to be the next king of Israel, had long been anointed as king, but had not been installed as king, yet. It was time for him to take the throne.
David called a fast during his time of transition. He led the people in humbling themselves before God to help them through this time. There were enemies rising up against them, and they needed God’s protection.
The beginning of the year is a transitional time and that is why at Lighthouse we’re fasting for 7 days in January. The first part of the year will set the tone for the rest of the year.
Fasting is an opportunity to show God what is most important to us and establish the fact that He is first in our lives.
God loves when we give Him the first of everything.
2. FASTING IN DESPERATION
“Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”
Esther was a Hebrew girl brought into the Babylonian king’s palace to be his queen during the time that God’s people were exiled to Babylon from Israel. She found out that there was a plan by one of the king’s officials to annihilate her race, the Jews. She knew that the only way to stop it was for her to go directly to the king. However, anyone who tried to approach the king without first being asked to do so would mean certain death. No one was permitted to speak to the king unless they were invited to come into his presence.
So, she sent word out that she was going to go to the king, at the peril of her life. She knew she could die, and resolved in her heart: “If I perish, I perish.” She had a lot of courage. And because she knew her life was on the line, she fasted—but not alone. She also asked all of her people to fast with her because they all desperately needed God to move, and give Esther the favor of the king.
When you are in a desperate situation and you need favor, fast. When we fast, we declare that we can’t do what we have in our hearts to do unless God helps us. We’re not capable.
It’s not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit!
Healings, deliverances from demonic forces, restoration of marriages can only happen if the Holy Spirit shows up in a situation.
3. FASTING FOR THE FUTURE
They said to me, "Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire." When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.
The exiles were released after seventy years, just as had been prophesied. They were permitted to go back to Israel. Their land was in ruins. Ezra, the scribe, and Nehemiah led them back home. They began rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem.
Ezra’s job was to bring back spiritual life to God’s people. But the people had completely forgotten God’s law and the scriptures. Ezra found the scrolls that contained God’s word and read it aloud. The people were astounded at what was read to them. They tore heir robes in shame because they had not lived according to God’s expectations. Ezraproclaimed a fast and asked for God’s protection as they prepared for their future. When you’re preparing for the future, fast and pray for God’s plan.
4. FASTING IN SPIRITUAL WARFARE
“However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
The disciples couldn’t deliver the boy because they were not spiritually prepared.
God’s people fasted when they needed to defeat the enemy who wanted to keep them from receiving the promises that God had for them. When the devil has his way, there is disaster and calamity and every kind of evil.But God says when we call on Him, He will answer us. He said He would rescue us if we seek Him and call on His name.
As believers, we can pray and fast and alter the course of the plans of the devil.
We call that spiritual warfare. God has given us many promises that are conditional – He says, “If you…, then I…” The devil has dominion, and chaos will reign in the world unless God’s people pray and fast and humble themselves. We can turn the course of history. History belongs to those who fast and pray.Daniel was in a desperate situation. In Daniel 9 is recorded his impassioned prayer of desperation to God. He fasted for twenty‐one days. He ate no pleasant food – he denied himself any food that brought his flesh pleasure. On the last day of the fast, Daniel had a vision of an angel (some believe this vision was actually of Jesus) who gave Daniel a message. He told Daniel that on the first day of the fast he had actually been on his way to answer Daniel’s prayer when he was confronted with the “Prince of Persia.” The “Prince of Persia” was a demonic stronghold or principality over that area of the world. Throughout the scriptures demons and demonic strongholds are referred to as princes or principalities.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
…in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience…
The angel told Daniel that he had been fighting this principality for 21 days. There had been a struggle in the spirit realm. Paul said we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities. When we fast and pray in spiritual warfare, we wrestle with the enemy. Often it is a real struggle.
Prayer can become more than communion with God – it’s also confrontation with the devil.