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Fasting

By: Steve Shirley

     Fasting is the voluntary decision to set aside food (and sometimes drink) for a period of time to draw closer to God. We should devote this time to fervent prayer and seeking to hear from God. It is also a time for sincere and heartfelt repentance and contrition for sin. Fasting shows our weakness and total dependence on God, and it teaches us self-discipline. The Bible is filled with places where God responded mightily to people humbling themselves and fasting. I have seen this work in my own life as well. It is truly quite awesome! If you are seeking God for answers, or power, or forgiveness, you should truly consider fasting.

     There are basically 3 kinds of fasts in the Bible:

A total denial of food: Jesus (Mt 4:2, Lk 4:2), Moses (Ex 24:18, 34:28), and Elijah (1 Kin 19:8) all did this, fasting 40 days and nights! (It does not need to be this long.) Smile

A total denial of food and water: (Acts 9:9)(Ezra 10:6)(Est 4:16)

A partial fast, denying only some things: (Dan 10:3) (During this time Daniel received direct revelation from God)

     Examples of fasting:

The Jewish people were commanded to fast each year on the Day of Atonement. (Lev 23:32)(Acts 27:9)

Anna, a mighty prophetess of God, "departed not (never left) from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day." (Lk 2:37)

Jehoshaphat called for a fast in Israel when the Ammonites and Moabites came against them and God delivered them. (2 Chr 20)

Samuel called for a fast of Israel when the Philistines came upon them at Mizpeh and God gave them victory. (1 Sam 7)

The Israelites were up against the Benjaminites in battle. Twice they were defeated, but before attacking a third time they fasted, and God gave them the victory. (Judg 20)

The church at Antioch prayed and fasted before sending out Saul (Paul) and Barnabas for their successful first missionary trip. (Acts 13:1-3)

The men of Nineveh fasted and repented after Jonah preached that Nineveh would be destroyed in 40 days. God forgave them. (Jonah 3)

Esther and the Jews fasted when Haman sought to destroy them. Later, Haman and those who wanted to kill the Jews were destroyed. (Esther 4-9)

Cornelius was fasting and praying when an angel appeared to him with an answer. (Acts 10:1-8,30)

Hannah fasted and prayed for a child and God gave her a son named Samuel. (1 Sam 1)

The Israelites separated themselves, fasted, prayed, confessed their sins, read from the book of the law of the Lord, and worshipped God. (Neh 9)

(Joel 2:12-13) Therefore also now, saith the Lord, Turn ye even to me with all your heart, And with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: (13) And rent your heart, and not your garments, And turn unto the Lord your God: For he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.

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