Fasting Day Nineteen Posts from the Archives:.
- Call for the Watching, Fasting Women …
- The Calvary Road (Part 2) …
- God Answers Desperate, Persistent Prayer …
- Breaking Bondage (The Disciple’s Fast)
- Faith, Bravery, and the God Who is Able (by Scott Brodie) …
- Returning in Power, Part 2
- Returning in Power, Part 3
In the Bible, women were called upon to fast and pray in times of crisis. They were also called upon to proclaim God’s word — to make Him known. Women today have the same callings.
When we fast, God promises to loose the bonds of wickedness. Part of our scriptural role as women is to be a watchman for our home.
“She looketh well to her household” (Proverbs 31:27).
The words “looketh well” means “watchman.” It is used twenty times in the Old Testament as “watchman.” As a watchman, we are on guard, alert and ready for action when there is any oppression or bond of wickedness in our home.
In scripture, God gave women a unique privilege and responsibility. In the Old Testament, whenever death crept into a city or a nation, they called for the wailing women.
“Consider and call for the mourning women,
That they may come;
And send for skillful wailing women,
That they may come.
18 Let them make haste
And take up a wailing for us,
That our eyes may run with tears,
And our eyelids gush with water.
19 For a voice of wailing is heard from Zion”
The practice of fasting originated from mourning. People were too deeply grieved to eat. Because of their grief, God’s presence and intervention became a requirement. They sought Him intensely. They came to realize that the cause and effect could be reversed. They could choose the effect (not eating) in order to get the cause (grief and repentance for sin and a hunger for God). When they wanted the same intensity, desire and sincerity before God that they had when mourning, they would fast.
So in other words, when Jeremiah 9:17 says to “call for the wailing women,” it is saying, “call for the fasting women.” Women could not mourn and still eat. An inability to eat accompanies mourning.
When you truly mourn, you fast. Think of Hannah in 1 Samuel 1. She was barren and mocked and could not eat. She mourned and fasted.
God is calling for you, dear mourning, fasting woman. When death creeps into your home, into your church, into your community, cutting off life to the children, God calls for you to fast and pray.
Women were called upon to fast and pray in times of crisis. They were also called upon to proclaim God’s word – to make Him known.
There is a direct relationship between Jesus’ forty-day fast and Israel’s testing in the wilderness.
Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness – note it was the wilderness, just as the Israelites had been in the wilderness.
To counter the temptations of Satan, Jesus quotes from Deuteronomy, all of which were spoken by Moses to the Israelites about their time of testing in the wilderness….
The Spirit of God led Jesus into the wilderness. In this we see shadows of the Old Testament replaced with New Testament reality. Something greater is at stake – something greater than Moses and the wilderness and the Law and Joshua and the Promised Land.
The time of fulfillment is at hand. God’s promise to Moses is coming true and being fulfilled. “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him” (Deut. 18:15).
It means that God is now, with the incarnation of his Son, preparing to deliver His people—the new Israel—from the Egyptian bondage of sin into the Promised Land of forgiveness and righteousness and eternal life. To do this he has sent a new Moses, or in this case, a new Joshua (Jesus reenacts both roles, and the name “Jesus” is identical to “Joshua” in New Testament Greek). This new Joshua stands as the head and representative of the whole new people that Jesus will gather from Jews and Gentiles. On their behalf Jesus will now be led by the Spirit into the wilderness. He will stay forty days to represent forty years. He will be tested as Israel was tested. And he will hunger as Israel hungered. And if he triumphs, he wand all his people go safely into the Promised Land of forgiveness and eternal life.
I’m convicted. Convicted about my lack of persistence and travail in prayer.
It all came about through revisiting past blog posts here and compiling the post about David Brainerd.
If you teach Sunday school or serve Christ through serving others, I’m sure you’ve noticed that you receive more than you give. You’re the one who receives the blessing.
That’s what happened yesterday as I put together a fasting archive post and the post about David Brainerd and shared links to the posts on social media. In doing so, I re-visited the material. As I did, the Holy Spirit embedded truths in my spirit that confronted me upon waking today and as I entered my morning time of prayer.
I’m reading Don’t Just Stand There, Pray Something by Ron Dunn. … I read a chapter last night called “How Long?”. The Holy Spirit combined everything I read yesterday—from the posts here at Shades of Grace to Ron Dunn’s book—to speak a timely word and expose my prayerlessness. Oh I’m praying, but casually, when compared to the picture of agonizing, wrestling, travailing in persistent, desperate prayer.
Here I am struggling over not getting to have hot chocolate or coffee (because of the fast) on the only day in several years that it actually snows … and I peer into a man’s life and see him praying until he’s all over “wet with sweat” — not just one day in his life; this agonizing marks his prayer life. It’s a way of life for him—disconnecting from the world through fasting and connecting to God through desperate, travailing prayer.
If I were praying like that on my fast, hot chocolate or coffee on a snow day would be the last thing on my mind!
A Moment of Candor
As I shared in another post, the past few years have been some of the most draining and wearying of my life—seemingly crushing me spiritually, physically, and mentally.
God made promises to me several years ago and since then, all means of fulfillment have entered a death sentence. (It mirrors the season of my severe illness when God promised restoration, but year after year things only grew worse and contradicted His promise.) … You would think it wouldn’t affect me—that having been through this exact process before, though the circumstances were different, I would be unfazed and remain steadfast in hope. But things are different enough, have persisted long enough, and affected me in such vulnerable areas that the enemy has used it to discourage me to the core. And it has affected my prayer life.
Someone reading this post is in the same situation—you feel like you’ve prayed till you’re blue in the face and the opposite of what you’re asking is taking place. Heaven seems silent. You find it hard to even pray anymore. You feel like the Psalmist in Psalm 42:
Sometimes I ask God, my rock-solid God, “Why did you let me down? Why am I walking around in tears, harassed by enemies?” They’re out for the kill, these tormentors with their obscenities, Taunting day after day, “Where is this God of yours?” (vs 9-10)
Maybe you feel like God has let you down. So the enemy is using the tool of discouragement to whisper lies like, “Where is your God you said was so faithful?” Perhaps you’re allowing the devil to silence your prayers before they even form on your lips.
Beloved, I challenge you to not grow weary in well doing. I challenge you to rebuke the devil and persist in prayer.
We get discouraged because we’ve taken our eyes off of God. Do as the Psalmist did in the next verse and fix your eyes on God:
“Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God—soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God.” (Psalm 42:11, emphasis added)
Fix your eyes on your faithful, loving, mighty, covenant-keeping God! And persist in secret, desperate prayer!! Why? …
For one, because Jesus believed in praying with persistence. He gave us only two parables about prayer, and the emphasis in both is on persistence. …
Are there secret sins from which you cannot get free, no matter how hard you try or how many times you confess? God desires to set you free. He has established a path to freedom for you – a path of fasting.
“Is not this the fast I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness” (Isa. 58:6).
The Disciple’s Fast is a fast to break bondage and besetting sin. Many Christians fall prey to besetting sins. Besetting sins aren’t every day sins or momentary omission. Neither are they sins of rebellion – sins where God has clearly said, “You shall not,” and the Believer says, “Oh yes I will!” shaking their fist in his face. Besetting sins are habitual sins that enslave people.
A besetting sin controls you. Although you don’t want to go back to the sinful behavior and beg to be free, you once again find yourself committing the same sinful act. You are helpless and broken before God, yet you can’t be free. You cry out, “I can’t help it!” You hate playing the game and you always lose … but you can’t help accepting the invitation to the next game. …
Elmer Towns shares valuable insight into besetting sins and gives six practical steps you can take to gain freedom from them….
Guest Post by Scott Brodie
When I think of healing and bravery in the midst of certain death, no other person stands out to me like Hezekiah. Rather than surrender to the enemy, which appeared to be the only option for Hezekiah in this life or death scenario, he turned to God and His word for deliverance.
. . . . . . .
Hezekiah was doing all these great things for God and serving Him with all his heart—then Sennacherib came to attack Jerusalem. The first thing Sennacherib did before any physical assault was attempt to send lies over the city walls of Jerusalem — to try and promote fear and doubt in the people’s hearts and to question Gods power to deliver.
I can only imagine the lies the enemy directed at Hezekiah such as:
- “Where is your God now?”
- “Your God has failed you!”
- “You’re going to die.”
- “I’ve taken down greater men than you.”
- “You’re next, Hezekiah, because God sent me to tell you…”
Dear friend, the devil will come after a believer with his biggest attacks when you display you are a threat to his kingdom and are showing others the way out of darkness. He sends lies over the walls of your mind attempting to shake your faith in Gods power to deliver again. Satan just wants you to believe one of his lies so that you will back down and surrender your faith in God. …
Has your communion with Christ been broken? Are you experiencing oppression and negativity? When we fast and pray, God promises to let the oppressed go free and to break every yoke.
When we enter God’s chosen fast, He promises to:
1. Let the oppressed go free (Isaiah 58:6)
God sets free those who are oppressed physically or spiritually – who are discouraged and wounded. The word picture for this phrase is those who are “cracking up.” Are you cracking up? Perhaps because you are:
- stressed over money
- burdened because your relationship with your family is cracking up
- broken because your marriage is cracking up
God sets the oppressed – those who are cracking up – free!
This phrase also refers to personal and national revival – to those who are oppressed by the devil. It refers to those who are oppressed because they belong to the kingdom of darkness and not kingdom of light. Or it holds meaning for us when we are oppressed by dryness and spiritual drought in our life.
When we enter God’s chosen fast, He promises:
Your light will break forth like the dawn (v.8).
Are you facing decisions this month, this year – things for which you need wisdom and direction? Life presents major decisions that are crucial to our future. Are you caught in a quandary, wondering what you should do?
God promises that when we enter the chosen fast, He will cause His “light [to] break forth like the morning” (Isa. 58:8).
If we focus on God’s will and not our own when we are facing major decisions, He will give us the wisdom, perspective and insight we need to make the right choice. One way we focus on Him and His will is through fasting.
Questions: Which of these posts did God use to speak to you today? What is He asking you to do in response to His word?