Do you fast? Fasting is a spiritual discipline that draws us close to God and makes impossible situations possible. A lack of fasting may be one reason why many answered prayers are “left on the table.” Isaiah 58 explains what God will do when we fast.
“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?’ Isaiah 58:6
How can denying myself of food and dedicate time to pray change my circumstances or situation? God’s methods rarely make sense to us as they defy logic and limitations to demonstrate His supreme power and might.
In Matthew 6:16-18 Jesus addresses the discipline of fasting and highlights two important factors with fasting.
#1 Motive matters. There were some in Jesus’ day who fasted to demonstrate their “self-designated-superior-spirituality.” Instead of fasting just once a year as prescribed in scripture (Leviticus 16:29-31), they fasted twice a week to impress people.
They used a discipline God ordained for spiritual renewal and overcoming impossible obstacles and turned it into a phony demonstration of piety. Right actions with wrong motives equal impotent results. Fasting can accomplish impossible feats, but when our motives are wrong, it becomes void of its power.
Jesus didn’t say “if you fast” but “when you fast.” “Whenever” indicates that life will compel moments of fasting. We will face situations greater than our experience or ability and those moments require fasting.
“Whenever” is also an indication that God will see and respond “whenever” you fast. It’s a spiritual discipline that may not sound logical but produces results that supersede what we could do on our own.
The Bible paints a picture of a world that is influenced, directly and indirectly, by dark spiritual forces. Check out the two passages of scripture below.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12
“13The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia,” Daniel 10:13
Ephesians 6 reveals that our battle is not against flesh and blood but against “spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” The phrase, “the heavenly places” refer to the realm of the sky.
Daniel 10 gives us insight into what happens at times when we pray. God sent an answer, but there was opposition in the spiritual realm that delayed the answer from materializing.
The “prince of the kingdom of Persia” represents territorial spirits at work against God and His people. A territorial spirit is made visible by the common “yoke” or “bonds of wickedness” prevalent in a specific area.
Everything we experience in the natural is first birthed, directly or indirectly, in the spirit realm. Simply because we cannot see the spiritual realm we must not conclude that it does not exist. As Christians, we live by faith not by sight.
First, fasting works because we are in a spiritual battle. This is why the Apostle Paul said, “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal in nature.” Fighting a spiritual battle with carnal weapons is like bringing a water gun to a forest fire, ineffective.
Secondly, fasting empowers spiritual living in a physical world. We are constantly fighting against our flesh and its desires, actions/reactions, thought processes, and contrary influences. We tend to lean on our understanding instead of trusting in God. Fasting relinquishes our dependence on the flesh and trust wholly on God to effectively fight the battle.
Will-power is an ineffective weapon in a spiritual battle. Jesus said, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God,’” Matthew 4:4. If we live by “bread alone” and neglect our spiritual responsibility to fast we may not experience the victory that has already been prepared for us.
God has given us Divine authority to overcome Satan and his army by fasting. Don’t allow the enemy to claim a win where God has already provided a victory!