Ministry Leader: Mother Hamilton
I give thanks to God for guiding us through another year. God has challenged us to seek his will more and more, the way he does this is by giving us titles to focus on and connected scriptures for times and seasons. My prayer is that the fasting will be a blessing in every believer’s life and the anointing followed in unity and fellowship. The fasting has strong support from time to time. The vision is “one people one vision to build the kingdom on, to grow stronger...Together Everyone Can Achieve More”
Join us for fasting every other Wednesday from 12:30pm to 2:30pm. Click here for the weekly scriptures.
Fasting: A Definition
Fasting is defined as voluntarily going without food in order to focus on prayer and fellowship with God. Prayer and Fasting often go hand in hand, but this is not always the case. You can pray without fasting, and fast without prayer. It is when these two activities are combined and dedicated to God's glory that they reach their full effectiveness. Having a dedicated time of prayer and fasting is not a way of manipulating God into doing what you desire. Rather, it is simply forcing oneself to focus. This act of fasting and prayer in a Christian context is done to mortify the flesh and rely on God for the strength, provision, and wisdom you need.
The Old Testament law specifically required prayer and fasting for only one occasion, which was the Day of Atonement. This custom became known as "the day of fasting" (Jeremiah 36:6) or "The Fast" (Acts 27:9). Moses fasted during the 40 days and 40 nights he was on Mount Sinai receiving the law from God (Exodus 34:28). King Jehoshaphat called for a fast in all Israel when they were about to be attacked by the Moabites and Ammonites (2 Chronicles 20:3). In response to Jonah's preaching, the men of Nineveh fasted and put on sackcloth (Jonah 3:5). Prayer and fasting was often done in times of distress or trouble. David fasted when he learned that Saul and Jonathan had been killed (2 Samuel 1:12). Nehemiah had a time of prayer and fasting upon learning that Jerusalem was still in ruins (Nehemiah 1:4). Darius, the king of Persia, fasted all night after he was forced to put Daniel in the den of lions (Daniel 6:8). And even an entire nation, Nineveh when they were given the message by a reluctant Jonah that they would be saved from God's impending wrath/anger if they fasted.
Prayer and fasting also occurs in the New Testament. Anna "worshipped night and day, fasting and praying" at the Temple (Luke 2:37). John the Baptist taught his disciples to fast (Mark 2:18). Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights before His temptation by Satan (Matthew 4:2). The Church of Antioch fasted (Acts 13:2) and sent Paul and Barnabas off on their first missionary journey (Acts 13:3). Paul and Barnabas spent time in prayer and fasting for the appointment of elders in the churches (Acts 14:23).
Types of Fast
The Bible describes major types of Fast:
1. Regular Fast - Traditionally, a regular fast means refraining from eating all food. Most people still drink water or juice during a regular fast. When Jesus fasted in the desert, the Bible says, "After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. There is an assumption that Jesus was not thirsty after his fast.
2. Partial Fast - This type of fast generally refers to omitting a specific meal from your diet or refraining from certain types of foods. (Daniel 10:2-3) says, "At that time, I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over".
3. Full Fast - These fasts are complete - no food and no drink. (Acts 9:9) describes when Paul went on a full fast for three days following his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus: "For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything." Esther also called for this type of fast in (Esther 4:15-16) "Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: '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.' " It is recommended that this type of fast be done with extreme caution and not for extended periods of time.
The benefits of fasting and prayer can be countless and is personal to each believer. Examples can include: Self-descipline, will-power, wholeness (mind, body, spirit), spiritual growth etc...
Why should we fast?
Jesus reminds us that certain situations can only be resolved/changed through a committed time of prayer and fasting.
Although not mentioned in the Bible, Christians today commit to fasting from other activities as well. Some give up entertainment such as TV or movies to concentrate on prayer. Others fast from sleep or another activity for a specified period or time. For instance, individuals may choose to abstain from things that they love or are passionate about. This could be a means of challenging ourselves to get rid of addictions or things that have become idols (in place of God) in our lives.
Matthew 6 - Teaches us how to fast. We are encouraged to approach fasting and prayer with the right motive. That is, not to be seen by others, but rather carried out in secret with our hearts and minds focussed on God. Isaiah 58 - Further tells us of its real purpose and its consequent effectiveness when it is done in the appropriate manner.
This act of denial (whether from food or other material things), is symbolic, in that when we are faced with arduous situations, through fasting and prayer we gain the resolve to withstand and essentially gain a new insight/strategy of how to move forward and essentially have victory over our circumstance.