Fasting for Sensitivity and Power

The Purpose of Fasting

Someone opposed to the idea of fasting once made the following statement:

Fasting can be compared to a child holding his breath until his parents give him what he wants. When we fast we are telling God that we aren’t going to eat until He answers our prayers.

This could not be further from the truth! Looking up every Scripture on fasting, I discovered that the primary purpose of fasting is to humble ourselves before the Lord. David said, “I…humbled myself with fasting” (Psalm 35:13). Ezra said, “I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask Him for a safe journey” (Ezra 8:21). Joel said, “‘Even now,’ declares the LORD, ‘return to Me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning’” (Joel 2:12).

When I fast and pray, I am not trying to manipulate God or force Him to do my will. Rather, I get on my knees in humility and dependence on the Lord, seeking to make my heart and spirit yielded and sensitive to Him. I want Him to lead, guide, direct and empower me to fulfill His purpose.

My strong desire to know Jesus Christ compels me to seek Him with all my heart through fasting, as well as in prayer and Scripture study. During fasting, I evaluate my life and ministry and seek the Lord’s goals and direction. Has my will been replaced with His? Do I have the assurance of His Word and Spirit to be able to truthfully say to my board and staff: “The Lord has led me” to do this or that?

Sacrifice means to give up something that is important to you for something that is even more important. I need food to sustain my physical life, but the craving of my spirit to know God in a real and intimate way is more important to me than the natural craving for food. I desire instead that food of which Jesus spoke: “I have food to eat that you know nothing about. My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work” (John 4:32, 34). Therefore, I present my body to the Lord as a burnt offering (Genesis 22:2) and a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1).

Most people want an easy formula or quick technique to know God’s will and walk in His power and victory. However, I believe the scriptural requirements for those who really want to be used by God include commitment, obedience, discipline, perseverance, faithfulness, Bible study, prayer and fasting.

We cannot earn, through any effort of our own—including fasting—any right standing before God. Nevertheless, those who have right standing before God (totally by faith and the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ) are encouraged by Scripture to walk in obedience to the truth and principles of His Word and to seek God with all of their hearts.

If you want to…

  • develop discipline in every area of your life
  • overcome temptations and lustful thoughts
  • bring the flesh under control
  • achieve physical, mental, emotional and spiritual cleansing
  • find more time for Bible study and prayer
  • experience the Word of God coming alive in your life and ministry
  • gain discernment and sensitivity to God’s Spirit
  • know that the Lord is your God; that nothing (not even the food you need to sustain life) has mastery over you or is more important to you than Him
  • obtain spiritual power and victory

…then FAST!

Fasting is not merely a technique or method to receive the Lord’s blessings. The Lord’s blessings come from our obedience, not fasting. What fasting does is create humility and sensitivity. Through it we are motivated to know and obey God’s will. When we walk in obedience, He greatly blesses us with His joy and peace, independent of our circumstances.

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