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Fasting Day 10: Fresh Inspiration from the Archives

Fasting Day 10: Fresh Inspiration from the Archives

Fasting Day Ten Posts from the Archives:


 

Fasting Day 10: The Power of Prayer

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Do you truly believe in the power of prayer? Is your belief demonstrated by the amount of time you engage in prayer? If your spiritual depth is determined by the amount of time you spend in prayer, how spiritual would you say that you are?

As I prayed before putting this post together, the Holy Spirit led me to share the following sermon excerpts with you.

I was originally going to write about fasting, but what good is fasting without prayer? What good have we done if we emerge from our fast thoroughly convinced and excited about God’s design for fasting — but we’ve not become passionate about and committed to His design for prayer. What good have we done if we haven’t reached the point where we can’t live without pressing into God’s presence through secret prayer.

I don’t know about you, but I want to reach the point where I’m not just momentarily passionate about secret prayer because I’m doing without food, I want God to give me such holy fire for prayer that it transforms my prayer life from this day forward.

Father, as we listen to these excerpts by John Hagee, Paul Washer and others, give us your spirit of grace and supplication (Zech. 12:10). May we press in, may we persevere, may we persist in prayer. Help us pursue You faithfully and tirelessly in prayer in the coming days and months. We want You to become our indispensable necessity — to the point that we’re willing dispense with everything else in our lives except our time with You. Speak to us now, I pray. So be it! …


 

Fasting Day 10: Answering a Fasting FAQ

Recently someone asked a question about the Full Fast. I’ve heard from others who are unsure about the same issue. Although I replied to the questioner privately, I am posting my answer here publicly in case it will be of help to others as well.

Question:

Dear Natalie,

Thank you so much for the excellent articles on fasting. Although you do cite other sources of info, the manner in which you put it together with scripture, insight and exhortation is truly wonderful.

I’m writing to seek clarification regarding full fasting as I’m thinking about Pursuit 21 and my plans to go 21 days. I was thinking that a full fast was only water. However, you note that juice and broth are OK. I’m currently doing a 5-day fast. I wanted to go water only but seemed to struggle. I therefore drink only water during the day but take 1/2 cup of diluted grape juice or chicken broth at 5 p.m. I particularly enjoy the broth but also feel guilty that I’m compromising. I will be glad if you can shed some light on this.

Answer:

Dear Faster,

Thank you for your encouraging feedback regarding the fasting posts! It’s uplifting to hear specific ways God is working through the fasting content online.

I will do my best to answer your question about the full fast, but it really comes down to a matter of prayer and God’s personal leading.

Full fasting is mainly eliminating all solid foods. When it comes to the liquids, it is really a matter of prayer and the specific direction God gives each faster.

In the Bible, fasting most often refers to people not eating solid food. The issue of drinking liquids is usually omitted. This is the way Luke described the 40-day fast of Jesus: “In those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry” (Lk. 4:2). Nothing is said about Jesus drinking liquids. It doesn’t say He was thirsty; only hungry. So He apparently drank. (It wasn’t an absolute fast of neither water nor food.)

As far as what liquid to drink, it is a personal choice. One pastor drinks only water in the day and broth at night, feeling that fruit juice is merely a different composition of solid food. His rule is not to drink anything nutritious.

In Fasting Can Change Your Life, Jerry Falwell describes the fasting that took place in the early days of building Liberty University. “We always fasted from solid food, except for non-nutrient liquids,” he said.

Some people use a juicer or drink fresh fruit juice (without sugar and additives). They believe juice is not prohibited in the Bible, and grape juice or milk may likely have been taken during a fast. Others drink only vegetable juice, like V8, from a can. Some drink something like Ensure.

When I fast, I abstain from anything that is an indulgence (whether for health reasons I am having to eat solid food or whether I am able to embark on a full fast). Fasting for me is a way to put my flesh in submission and deny its appetites. I believe my food choices should reflect the fasters in the Old Testament who “afflicted themselves and fasted” (Is. 58:3).

What is an indulgence can only be determined by the Holy Spirit. …


 

Fasting Day 10: Search My Heart

Did you know that it is possible to fast and God not hear your plea? God said of Israel,

“You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high” (Isaiah 58:4).

What was Israel doing wrong that God did not hear their voice?

Cleansing is Crucial

Israel was unrepentant and hypocritical, displaying an outer form of godliness through fasting, but their lives were void any true power and their fast absent authenticity before God. They had forsaken God’s decrees and turned their fast days into times of pleasure and oppressive acts toward others. As they fasted, they appeared to be seeking God, but their sin was overpowering in God’s eyes. It was all He could see. Israel’s fasting had become a meaningless mechanical act, absent true humility and repentance before God.

Fasting does not cleanse us of sinThe blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin (I John 1:7). However, we should enter a fast soberly, having repented of any known sins. And as we continue in the fast, hidden sins are brought to light as we silence the voice of our appetites – our flesh – and tune in to the voice of the Holy Spirit. We become more sensitive to His conviction and more aware of areas of disobedience in our lives.

If the purpose of fasting is to humble ourselves before God—to have more of God and less of self—then it is imperative that we allow our fast to bring us to repentance. Hidden sins should be identified and targeted during the fast….

 


 

Dr. Elmer Towns on Fasting

Elmer Towns InterviewLast March, Janet Parshall interviewed Elmer Towns on the subject of fasting. The interview was so informative and inspiring, I knew immediately I wanted to share it with you this year during Pursuit 21.

Elmer Towns co-founded Liberty University with Jerry Falwell. He serves as the dean of the School of Religion at Liberty. He has three masters degrees, and a doctorate. He has written over eighty books and is the recipient of the ECPA Gold Medallion Award for his best selling book, The Names of the Holy Spirit.

Dr. Towns is the author of:

He conveys Biblical truth in compelling, understandable ways—evidenced by the fact 2,000 people attend the Sunday School class he teaches at Thomas Road Baptist Church.

My Favorite Quotes from the Interview

  • “A fast is a vow . . . to God. It’s a time vow. It’s a food vow. It’s a spiritual vow. It’s a prayer vow, an intercession vow. A vow is between you and God and you keep it to the very end.”
  • “Just stopping eating will not get answers to prayer. You have to spend time with God.”
  • It’s not what goes in your mouth. It’s what comes out of your heart. It’s the prayer of faith to God. . . . You focus on God only. You bring your request to God and . . . you demonstrate the sincerity of your prayer by the discipline of your body.”
  • You’re not fasting to get your prayers answered; you’re fasting to know God—to hunger and thirst after righteousness. And what is prayer? The one word to define prayer is relationship. Prayer is relationship with God. And therefore, fasting is almost like the exclamation point to that relationship. ‘Yes, Lord, I’m going to spend time with you. Nothing else—I’m not going to eat. You are more important than anything else.’”
  • “Fasting is a relationship. . . . It’s like prayer—sometimes I start praying and when I’m praying, I feel like my prayers are bouncing off the wall. And when I do that, I come back and say, ‘Now what’s wrong with my prayers. Why are they bouncing back to me?’ And I realize the greatest way to get answers to prayer is to start with worshipping God. When you worship God, His presence comes into your room. . . . The Bible says if you worship Him, He will come. … The Father seeks worship. So if you worship the Father, He will come to receive your worship. So when you are fasting, don’t focus on yourself; focus on God. Start with worship. . . . Praise him for what he has done in your life. And thank God. He will come to receive your worship. THEN you present your petition to Him.” …


 

A Simple Equation

Chalkboard EquationIs one of your causes for fasting to know God’s will for your life concerning a certain matter? Follow this equation and the will of God will find you:

“Presentation plus transformation equals revelation.” ~ Adrian Rogers

Presentation

“Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship” (Romans 12:1).

When we fast and pray, we present our bodies (and the meals we forfeit) to God as a living sacrifice, a memorial that forever remains before His throne.

Transformation

This passage in Romans continues:

“Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).

Through fasting we disconnect from the world and through prayer we connect to God. The sensitivity to God’s voice that results helps us realize the ways we’ve been conformed to the world. We quickly become aware of areas of compromise and sin—of ways that we’ve ignored His convicting voice.

Transformation occurs by the renewing of our minds. A mind renewal should accompany our fasting and prayer. How does this take place? Through God’s Word. Our minds must be “washed by the cleansing of God’s word” (Ephesians 5:26). As we meditate on God’s Word, old thought patterns and perspectives are washed away and new ones are instilled.

Revelation

In his daily devotional, Adrian Rogers writes:

Some people say, “Oh, I’m searching to know the will of God.” Listen, it’s not your job to find the will of God. It’s God’s job to reveal His will to you. It is your job simply to present yourself to Him. …

 


 

President Lincoln’s Proclamations of Fasting and Prayer

Abraham Lincoln

President Lincoln (and the men of the senate, like so many of our founding fathers and early statesmen) knew that the blessings of the nation had been given to its citizens by God.

Knowing this, he recognized when the nation had “forgotten God” and “vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.”

Therefore, he proclaimed a fast so that the nation could return to God, confess its national sins, and ask God for forgiveness. So that they might do what 2 Chronicles 7:14 instructs:

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). (Tweet this)

Each proclamation called for the nation to repent, confess its sins, and pray for forgiveness.

The United States Today

Today in the United States, we have forgotten God. We’ve vainly imagined in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all the blessings we enjoy were somehow produced by our own abilities and gifts. Intoxicated with success and self-sufficiency, we feel we don’t need God’s redeeming and keeping grace. We’re too arrogant to pray to the God that made us, let alone confess and repent of our “manifold,” “national” sins. (Tweet this)

So we elevate our own gods and worship them with abandon. We toss our heads in pride, worship self-interest, and success, and convenience, and all that is temporal … and slaughter millions of babies in the womb, a genocide whose casualties far outweigh those of the Civil War. Pouring violently over their banks, rivers of innocent blood pollute the land.

We worship sin and self-gratification … and light up the White House in rainbow colors, marking in grievous imagery just how far the nation has fallen and just how high she hoists her idols. (Tweet this)

It is a forbidden danger to whisper the name of Jesus or bend a knee in the public square. … While scarcely is there one among us who doesn’t fall prostrate before murder, and immorality, and perversion, and pornography, and wickedness of every unimaginable sort. … Satan relishes his accomplishment, rubbing cupped hands in delicious delight. Good is evil and evil is good. (Tweet this)

The One True God has not changed. His good has not become evil. Neither has His light become darkness nor his sweet become bitter.

The God who by His favor established this nation and allowed its charter to agree with the purposes and principles of government ordained by Him in Scripture—His instruction remains the same:

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). (Tweet this)

. . . .

May the examples of the godly, courageous leadership of President Lincoln and the Congress spur us to pray that the same knowledge, and wisdom, and courage, and Spirit be upon our current president, vice-president, and all government leaders from the local to national level.

May united prayer from the nation once again “ascend to the Throne of Grace, and bring down plentiful blessings upon our country.”

May we recognize, as our founding fathers and early statesmen did, that it is God who gave us life and liberty. … 

May we understand that we are one nation under God, created and kept by Him and Him alone. And in a fresh awareness of this, may we turn to the One and Only who can forgive, heal, bless, and prosper the nation and her people. May we turn to Him, confess our manifold, national sins and ask Him to heal our land. …

To read more, including the full text of President Lincoln’s proclamations, click Read More below or go to President Lincoln’s Proclamations of Fasting and Prayer


 

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?

 

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