SPIRITUAL KEYS TO FASTING

We're going to be talking about fasting today.

 

When you say the word FASTING - It is very overwhelming to people.  It's almost as if it sends a slight shiver up your spine - FASTING.

 

In this lifestyle of pleasure and fund nowadays - it's almost too difficult to expect people to sacrifice and to fast for a few days.

 

This word has been lost in the body of Christ.  It's not easy to fast.  It's not fun to fast.

 

But it's powerful.  Your faith will begin to explode as you fast.

 

Fasting is not for the strong.  

Fasting is for the weak.  

Fasting is for the common.  

Fasting is for the frail.  

Fasting is for the ordinary people who realize that they desperately need God in their lives.

 

That's who fasting is for.  

 

Fasting never manipulates God.  You never earn the blessings and favor of God. 

 

It is the grace of God and the of blood of Jesus Christ that releases those blessings.  

 

Fasting does not manipulate God - it does not make God do something that is against His will.

 

Fasting gets you ready for God's answer.  Fasting prepares your heart to say "not my will but thine oh God."

 

A lot of people are disallusioned when they fast and God doesn't do what you demand when you fast.

 

There's nothing wrong with asking! But you can't command that God do something because you are fasting.

 

You can't command - "Because I am fasting - you had better hurry up and work for me."

 

Fasting breaks you down.  Fasting gets you into a place that you are int total obedience and humility and brokeness before God.

 

You finally come to understand that God wants the very best for you and that you have finally relinquished your heart and soul to Him.

 

You are saying, "No matter what - I'm going to serve you and I'm going to trust you."

 

When we begin to Biblically fast we increase our receptivity to the Lord's voice and to His word.

 

1. Fasting Is An Invitation

 

It's not something that God is going to punish you if you don't do.  It's an invitation.  It's something you do voluntarily.

 

It is when you are saying, "Lord, I am breaking out of the regular routine of life and I'm coming after you.  I know you love me whether I fast or not.  I don't know if your are going to bless me or not if I fast but I am voluntarily giving this up and showing you as a sacrifice that i'm giving this up food."

 

There's something about that that gets God's attention quickly.

 

2. Fasting Is A Grace.  

 

Fasting isn't just gritting your teeth and enduring it.

 

There is a mystery connection between the Holy Spirit and fasting - that anyone who dares to do it and step up and says - "I'm going to fast" then instantly the Holy Spirit begins to partner with you.

 

Instantly the power of God and a special grace comes upon you.  

 

The moment that you make up your mind - God will give the grace to fast and to listen to Him and be led by your spirit.

 

3. Fasting Is Humbling Yourself Before God

 

It is saying, "Lord I need you."

 

God's Word says, "Humble yourselves and God will lift you up."  1 Peter 5:6.

 

4. Fasting is an act of worship

 

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. (Romans 12:1 ESV)

 

One translation says "which is your spiritual worship.

 

There's something about presenting your bodies that God sees as worship.

 

So, when you fast...

 

- You are taking an invitation from God.  He doesn't require you but He invites you to do it.

 

Fasting is taking something perfectly good and acceptable (there's nothing wrong with food) so you can have more of God.

 

Fasting is a spiritual discipline that is a physical act.  It's abstaining from food.

 

Abstaining from the TV or the computer or your mobile devices is not fasting.  That is a good thing.  That is abstinance but not fasting.

 

Technically, the only way to fast is from food.

 

The word fast means to cover your mouth and refuse to eat.  It's a time to do a spirit led self examination.

 

When you fast - you will begin to see God do a deep and internal work in your life.

 

In 2 Samuel 12:21-25 David fasted.  His child was dying and he fasted that God would heal his child.

 

His child died anyway.

 

I want to help some of you who have been so disappointed because you fasted and God didn't give you what you wanted and the way you wanted it.

 

He was fasting so his son would live but his child died.

 

Here's what I love about David.  He says, "While the child was alive - I fasted and I wept."

 

One translation says, "Who knows? That the Lord would be gracious to me.  But now that the child is dead - I"m going to get up and eat.

 

He's fasting but he's not trying to force God.  He's fasting so he can get ready for God's answer.  He's begging God to save his child.  He was asking.

 

What's wrong with asking?  I want to encourage you on this fast to ask God for anything you want - BUT DON'T DEMAND IT!

 

Ask Him and trust Him for the answer. Leave the results in His hands.

 

Asking isn't wrong - demanding is.

 

It's exciting when you feel a stirring and realize that God is calling you to fast.

 

You ought to feel a little nervous about it.  I always feel a little nervous about it.

 

A. Prepare yourself spiritually

 

This is listening to the tugging in your heart by the Holy Spirit that says, "Come on. I'm giving you an inviation.  Come on and know me better than you've ever known me.  Come to me where I am.  Get out of your routine.  Come after me."

 

That's an invitation.

 

When you sense God telling you to do that - that is spiritual prepartion.

 

We need to hear God and then respond to His nudging.

 

B. Determine what type of fast and how long

 

In a private fast - you would need to determine what type of fast you should be on and how long.

 

We've already determined what type of fast we are going on as a church.  

 

We are calling a 21 day fast.  3 days of cleansing - fluids only. 18 days on The Daniel Fast - No sweets, no meats, no sugars, no caffeine.

 

www.jentezenfranklin.org/fasting

 

You should write down your fasting plan.  It's amazing what happens when you write it down.  Writing it down is one of the most important things in preparing for a fast.

 

Why is it important to write it down?  Because when you start getting hungry and you start to doubt that you are called to fast - "God wasn't really speaking to me" - you will give up.

 

Devote extra time to the Word of God.  Limit your TV.  Limit the internet.  Limit Facebook.  Limit Twitter.

Limit watching the news for hours and hours.

 

Your tongue might get coated after a day of fasting.  You might feel light headed when you stand up.  This all perfectly normal.

 

You might need to go to bed early for more rest.  You might have bad breath - that is perfectly normal.  (Turn to your neighbor and say "That's normal for you all the time.").

 

You might feel as if your brain is in a fog for the first day or two.  You can't think as clearly.  Your mind is not as sharp.  It's not easy to do what you normally do.

 

I wish that I could say that during a fast that you always feel super spiritual and you feel really close to God and that you are constantly cheerful.  That just isn't true.

 

Sometimes you're cranky, sometimes you're tired, sometimes you're hungry.  Sometimes your fighting a headache.  (This list sounds like some of you all the time.)

 

Sometimes you have to apologize to your family for being short tempered.

 

This all happens while you are fasting.  The devil will try to defeat you with stuff like this.

 

You will be stunned at how powerful God's Word will be while you are fasting.

 

You will be stunned at how powerful and how quick God will begin to speak to you as you are fasting.

 

You will need prayer support during this time.  Whether you are a veteran or a new person fasting - I want you to know that I will be praying for you everyday.

 

You can do this.

 

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6 ESV)

 

If you start it - God will help you finish it.

 

There's a waiting in the presence of the Lord.  You need to say, "Food, you can wait.  Relationships, you can wait.  Entertainment, you can wait.  God, I need answers."

 

Answers are waiting for you as you enter into His presence with fasting and prayer.

 

What are your greatest needs?

 

5. Fasting Increases Our Sense Of Humility And Dependence Upon The Lord

 

It's saying "God, I need you.  God, I long for you."

 

Fasting allows us to set aside time for prayer.  If you're not praying - you'r not fasting.

 

Fasting and prayer will heighten your spiritual alertness.

 

You will begin to feel and sense the presnce of God in your life.  Your alertness to the Holy Spirit will be heightened as you fast and pray.

 

Fasting expresses our earnestness and our urgency in prayer to God.

 

When we fast this year I want you to pray specifically SIX SPECIFIC PRAYERS THAT I FEEL WE NEED TO PRAY ABOUT.

 

SIX SPECIFIC PRAYERS TO PRAY ON THE FAST

 

1. Overflow (That is our Theme).

 

Pray for abundance and blessings to come your way.

 

“The threshing floors shall be full of grain; the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you. (Joel 2:24-25 ESV)

 

Then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. (Proverbs 3:10 ESV)

 

2. That God Would Bless Our Nation And That God Would Help America

 

This is a crutial time for our nation right now.  It is critical that we all participate.

 

Jehoshaphat was facing a national calmity.  2 Chronicles 20 tells us that proclaimed a fast throughout Judea.

 

...“Hear me, Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed.” (2 Chronicles 20:20 ESV)

 

The Bible says that they fasted for 3 days and after the 3 days - God gave them such victory that it took them 3 days to gather the spoil.

 

Joel 1 & 2.  The nation was facing the greatest economic disaster that it had ever faced.  3x's they called a fast.

 

Consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly. Gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land to the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord. (Joel 1:14 ESV)

 

“Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; (Joel 2:12 ESV)

 

Blow the trumpet in Zion; consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly; (Joel 2:15 ESV)

 

Notice the blessings that followed:

 

Consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly. Gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land to the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord. (Joel 1:14 ESV)

 

I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you. “You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame. (Joel 2:25-26 ESV)

 

God has a unique plan for America.  He has a unique plan for this nation.

 

I want you to fast for this nation.  I want you to fast for the racial divide in our nation.

 

I want you to fast for our economy.  I want you to fast for the High Desert.

 

If God could turn it around for Israel... He certainly can turn it around for the High Desert and for our nation.

 

God can bless America again.  He can prosper our nation again.

 

3. That God Would Bless Our Families

 

God has a unique plan for your family.  We need to pray that the curse over our families for generations and generations to come will be broken.

 

As you fast - you are not just fasting for here and now --- you are fasting for your kids and grandkids and your great grand kids - for generations to come.

 

The enemy knows that if he can keep our children and grandchildren on drugs and alcohol - running in sin and immorality - he will stop the plan of God for that family.

 

Ask God BOLDLY to bless your family on this fast - to save your family - to fill your family with the power of the Holy Spirit - that God's will would be done in your children and your children's children.

 

4. That God Would Give You Divine Health And Long Life

 

As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. (Genesis 15:15 ESV)

 

Turn to your neighbor and say, "You're going to live to a good old age."

 

This is a fast to health and long life.  We're going to break the habit of fried food and sugar. Refined foods.  Junk foods.  Toxins and pollutants that are destroying our bodies.

 

We're going to take authority over it in the name of Jesus - NOT JUST FOR 21 DAYS but may we set a pattern that we won't veere from for the rest of the year.

 

My body cannot become my enemy.

 

Everyone say, "On this fast... there is going to be a release...into my body... divine health...and long life."

 

Give God a shout of praise!

 

5. That Warring Angels Would Be Released

 

Ephesians 6 talks about this.

 

When the enemy shoots fiery darts at us - it leaves a scar.

 

The enemy wants people to be scarred and burned but God is going to release warring angels during this fast to bless and to win the battles that you are fighting.

 

6. That God Would Bring An Abundance Of Work

 

Abundance of Work.  Abundance of Prosperity.  Pray for MIRACLE MONEY.

 

That... God will send so much work that you will have to hire others.  That God will bring overtime to you.

 

That God would bring miracle money in so you can finance everything God has called you to.

 

Shout - MIRACLE MONEY.  

 

Shout - ABUNANCE OF WORK.

 

Closing

 

After the civil war in America - Abraham Lincoln called for FOUR SEPARATE FASTS to try and heal the nation.

 

He didn't just call on others to fast but he led the fast.

 

Isn't that cool - he led the nation in 4 different fasts.

 

In 1867 he finished the 4th fast.  America was in shambles because of the civil war and poverty was everywhere.

 

But after we fasted as a nation - the next year - Russia sold American the territory of Alaska for $7.2 million which is 2 cents per acre.

 

There is no logic that can explain why America rebounded and prospered the way it did.

 

The American government had a surplus of money for the next 28 consecutive years.

 

New inventions started to come out of America that allowed America to become a super power in the world.

 

Inventions like the phonograph and electricity.  Modern factories, airplanes, telephones.

 

Even though cars were invented first in Europe - somehow America captured that market and it became the #1 industry of America.

 

We became a major player on the world's stage.

 

The most devastated area in America after the civil war was the south.  In the 1800's a miracle began to happen and the new south began to prosper.

 

Birmingham, Richmond and even Atlanta that had been burned to the ground by fire.

 

During this time a soda pop called Coca Cola was created in Atlanta and their headquarters are still there today.

 

My point that I'm trying to get you to understand is this - God knows how to bless His people when we come after Him and seek Him and put Him first.

 

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33 ESV)

 

ALL THESE THINGS - Abundance of work, health, family, loving God.  All these things will be added to you.

 

This fast is about God.  Don't get preoccupied about what you are not eating.  Take it back to God - constantly.

 

Take it back to God.  Eat your soul food (The Bible).  Get into this book.  Devour it.

 

God is going to bless you as you fast.

 

We are blest as a nation but there are some blessings you won't get until you fast and pray.

 

“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in. (Isaiah 58:6-12 ESV)