The Discipline of Fasting

‡ Prayer is not the preparation for the battle prayer IS the battle. ‡ Fasting is the one thing we can do to enhance the power and focus of prayer. ‡ You can go a certain distance in God, and experience many things, without fasting much, but the highest, richest and most powerful blessings always go to those who together with other disciplines, fast much unto God.

‡ God wants to do many amazing things, but HE looks for those willing to urgently make the corrections needed to come into line with Him. ‡ Fasting helps us to make these corrections. ‡ What is fasting?
± A fast is a conscious, intentional, deliberate decision to abstain for a time from the pleasure of eating in order to gain vital benefits. These benefits are spiritual, but also some physical.

Fasting gives you God s focus for your life. Fasting cuts out the world so we can tune into God. Fasting is not: Commanded - Matthew 6:16 16 Moreover, when you fast ‡ As with any discipline, there is the danger of turning it into law. ‡ 2 Corinthians 3:6 6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. ‡ It is part of the life of a disciple ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡

‡ Fasting is not for impressing others Matthew 6:16 16 Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. ‡ Don t make a big show of it ‡ Fasting is not magic it cannot be used to influence God.
± We cannot force God s hand by doing it ± Fasting is not to get God to change His mind fasting helps change ours!

The Pain of Fasting
‡ Fasting is not easy. The pain of fasting is two fold. The physical pain is due to the detoxification of our bodies. All the accumulate poison and garbage starts to come into our blood and we feel bad. ‡ The soulish pain is due to the conflict in the spiritual realm between our flesh and the Spirit of God.

‡ The spiritual pain happens because:
± Our bodies are demanding food 3 times a day and complains when food is denied. A little training can help this. ± You cannot use food as an emotional crutch to give pleasure, drowsiness, satisfaction and escape. You must depend on God for comfort. ± You are brought face to face with other painful issues in your life. God reveals the need for you to forgive others, to repent of your sin, to stop running from Him and start trusting Him. This is a spiritual and soulish detoxification.

± You will be attacked by the enemy in the area of giving up. Jesus experienced this in the wilderness with satan. (Matthew 4.1-10). Great spiritual victories are won or lost on our willingness to endure spiritual hardship and temptation out of love and faithfulness to the Lord. ± You will experience weakness at times, and we like to feel strong and in control. Fasting teaches us dependence upon God.

Examples of Fasting and Prayer
‡ Exodus 34:28 28 So he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.(Moses) ‡ 1 Samuel 7:6 6 So they gathered together at Mizpah, drew water, and poured it out before the LORD. And they fasted that day, and said there, We have sinned against the LORD. And Samuel judged the children of Israel at Mizpah. (Israel) ‡ 1 Kings 19:8 8 So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God.(Elijah) ‡ Daniel 10:3 3 I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.(Daniel)

‡ Luke 4:1-21 Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry. ‡ Acts 13:2-3 2 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. 3 Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away. ‡ Acts 14:2323 So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

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