Category Archives: Fasting is Feasting

Fasting FAQs Part 2

Here’s a question, I hear often.  I pray I do justice to the answer.

6.  What if I’m not feeling God but instead I’m so miserable, I could die?

 

Most likely, if you are not drawing closer to the Lord, clearly hearing His voice, or experiencing His supernatural power; then your focus is on you and not Him.

Americans are not good at denying themselves.  Actually we’re pretty lousy at it.  We don’t understand sacrifice; nor do we want to.  We think sitting on unpadded pews is torture, parking a block from the church is cruel, and a service extending past an hour unacceptable.

God’s Word promises if we seek Him with all our hearts (holding nothing back) then He will reveal Himself in amazing ways.  So I’m going to put this answer rather bluntly.  Stop grumbling and whining.  Stop thinking about yourself and how much you want to eat.  Repent.  Plead with God to remove all your self-centeredness.

Trust Him.  He is faithful.

7.  What’s the best way to start and end a fast?

 

I do not recommend any high sugar or caffeine drinks during a fast.

Therefore you should begin to eliminate caffeine and sugary foods prior to any fast.  The sudden withdrawal of these toxins will cause side effects.  You don’t need your first few days of a fast to be ruined because you are in withdrawal.  I have chosen to live a lifestyle of eating healthy so that when He calls me to fast, I can immediately obey.

You should have predetermined limitations before starting:  total fast, juices only, raw veggies and fruit, or maybe a limited fast.  (Example: no breads)  Have a clear understanding and remove all temptations.  I recommend little TV viewing.  The food commercials are torture.

Some teachers recommend a gradual withdrawal from food.  You can certainly try this.  For the first few days eliminate sweets including fruit, then breads, followed by meats.  The last to be eliminated should be your vegetables.

For a few days you will have only liquids.  Water only is most difficult.  If you choose, you can have fresh vegetable juice or soup broth.  Be warned, stay away from high sugar drinks if you don’t want to have the shakes.

These people recommend you then add the food back to your diet in the reverse order they were removed.  I’d wage money that you’ll feel so much better that when it came time to reintroduce the sugars, you’d refuse them.

I normally end a fast by eating a banana, just because it’s my favorite fruit.  After a few hours when my stomach has adjusted to the shock of food again, I will eat a small meal of whatever I want.

Whatever you do, don’t go out a gorge yourself.  You will regret it.

8.  What do you consider the hardest part of fasting?

 

The battle of the mind.  The stomach tends to ‘shut down’ after a day or two.  Hunger pains and growlings cease.

But the mind is where the battle wages.  Those irritable voices nag at you all day long reminding you of how good pizza tastes or the delectable sweetness of chocolate.

They are relentless in their attacks.  This assures me that I am in God’s will and must have the enemy in a panic.  So when a voice tells me I’m wasting my time, I shout all the louder, “Father, show me your glory!”

 

Battle over!

9.  Will I get the same benefits if I fast from media or something other than food?

 

Yes, you will experience growth and maturity.  God honors the heart that seeks Him.

You should be willing to give up anything and everything that interferes with your intimacy:  TV, movies, computer, sports, hobbies, sleep, etc.  It should cost you something.  It should cause you to make a choice.  Always choose God.

A family fast from media is a powerfully effective way to overcome strongholds, gain wisdom, or improve relationships.  I can’t imagine a better way to train your children to trust God than to teach them to give up what they want for what He wants.

Churches have seen major breakthroughs when they have called for corporate fasts.  Not everyone can fast from food but everyone is called to fast from something.

The key is not to fixate on the rules or the limitations but to become obsessed with the Lord.

10.  What is the greatest benefit of fasting?

 

Experiencing life above the drudgery and into the supernatural: working, cleaning, cooking, praying, studying, and worshiping; all being done in the heightened sense of His presence.

When my body is weak, His strength is strong.  When my body is under control, the mind is at peace.  The lessons learned while fasting are never lost.  Fasting fuels rapid spiritual maturity.   Fasting empties us of ourselves.

Father, we confess we are addicted to the luxuries and the needs of this world.  Change our passions.  Cause us to crave You more than food or earthly stuff.   We want to be consumed with You.  Take us to that place where we ache for You more than we ache for anything else.

 

Satisfy our deepest needs with more of You.  Amen

 

Fasting FAQs Part 1

It’s time to wrap up this series on fasting.  Because few people within the church practice this discipline, I often find myself flooded with questions about ‘how to fast’.  So I’m going to use the next two weeks and answer your frequently asked questions.

1.What about my physical limitations?   My medications require food, not an empty stomach.

 

Talk to your doctor.  Talk to God.  Our Great Physician knows your limitations.  He loves and cares for you.  He will guide you in how to fast.  I was hypoglycemic and fasting was the means God used to heal me.  He wanted to see if I would trust Him.

I was NOT on medications so I have no testimony as to what God can or will do.  That’s why I urge you to talk to your doctor and pray for divine wisdom.  I stop taking vitamins while fasting because they upset my stomach.  So I imagine that prescription meds would do the same.

God may lead you to do limited fasting.  Instead of a total fast, you could eliminate certain items you crave:  caffeine, sweets, or bread.   I would also prayerfully consider doing a Daniel’s Fast, which consists of raw vegetables and fruits with only water.  (Some people add whole grain products and natural teas.)

Remember God will provide a way if you are willing.

2.  Won’t fasting leave me drained and unable to work?  I can’t stay in bed for a week.

 

I won’t lie to you.  Sometimes fasting has caused me to be weak and incredibly nauseated.  During those spells, I rest as much as possible.  I’ve taught preschoolers while fasting and feeling drained.  But always at the end of the day, I experienced such awe of His power to see me through.

Most of the time, fasting gives me more energy than I knew was possible.  My mental abilities are enhanced.  I require less sleep.  There is never that overwhelming need for a nap after a heavy meal.

I would suggest that if you exercise daily to limit strenuous cardio workouts.  I’ve lifted weights, cleaned house, hiked mountains, and pushed wheeled barrows filled with bricks while fasting.  I just rest often.

3.  Will fasting harm my immune system causing me to get sick more often?

 

I have several testimonies of how while fasting I have been the only one in my family to NOT full prey to the traveling flu bug.

If your normal diet is rich in junk food full of toxins, you may experience what I call, toxic flushes.  These can feel like the flu.  Your body is forcing the pollutants out of your muscles and blood through aches, cramping, and sweating.  Often times this causes dizziness and nausea.  Flushing toxins can actually build a stronger immune system.

I never said fasting was easy.  But I will proclaim the benefits far outweigh any temporary discomfort.

4.  What do I do about family meals?  Lunch or dinner engagements?  Do I just stay home alone all the time?

My husband has always said that I cook better when I’m fasting.  I enjoy cooking for others.  It gives me pleasure to watch them enjoy their meal.  I have someone else taste test.  I reap the satisfaction of the aroma and the ‘ummms.’

I have friends who recommend that you take a prayer walk while your family is eating.  If you like, that’s great.  I prefer to enjoy the fellowship.

I let people know in advance that I am fasting and would love to join them for lunch or dinner if they would not be bothered by my not eating.  Sometimes, I feel God’s blessing to allow me to order a cup of soup.

Fasting should never make you feel punished.  It’s an act of love and obedience to the Lord.  If your heart is right, He will bless you in every situation that arises.

5.  How do I explain to people why I’m not eating?

 

Tell your immediate family that God has called you to obey Him in this discipline.  Explain the call and ask for their prayer support.

Your other friends and acquaintances only need to know if you are invited to a meal with them.  Christian friends should understand a simple, “Please excuse me from eating for I am fasting.”  Unbelieving friends may not understand and want an explanation.  This could be a great witnessing time as to the power of God and the intimacy of your relationship with Him.

Just don’t focus on yourself.  Always make the testimony to His glory.

We’ll continue next week.

Countdown or Trust?

“But I can’t not eat for 40 days!”

Yes, I know the sentence contains a double negative.   Double negatives cancel faith.

The Bible does not command we fast 40 days.  The Word records fasts lasting anywhere from one day to 40 days.  The length depends upon the need.

Bible teachers often guide believers to predetermine the length of the fast by signing a contract.  The contract reads something like this,

I will not eat _________________________________  from this date ___________________ to this date ___________________________ for the purpose of _____________________________________.

I use this method for my scheduled teachings.  God has called me to a discipline of fasting as I prepare and teach conferences.  These fasts range anywhere from three to ten days prior and then during the teachings.

I know I will eat when my last teaching is complete.  Knowing when the fast will end can often sabotage the fast.

Our human nature begins a countdown to that first meal.  The anticipation, the countdown, and the planning of the meal can consume our focus.  Remember, true fasting is feasting on the Lord.   Therefore our focus needs to be on Him alone and not what we dream of eating when we can eat again.

For this reason, I encourage sincere seekers not to write contracts.  Instead, have the faith to depend solely upon the Lord for the time frame and the food limitations of your fast.  When you are clueless, then you have no other option than to be consumed with the Lord and the fullness He gives.

Which do you think is more God honoring?

“In 20 hours, 16 minutes and 12 seconds, I will devour a pizza!”

“You alone know when I will eat again so therefore, I am in Your hands, fill me to overflowing!”

You can trust the God who fed His children for 40 years on manna.  He can and will sustain you.  He longs to fill you with His nourishment.  You need only to ask.

If you are ready for the next level, then pray something like this…

Father, I am ready to trust You.  I come to You to meet my needs.  For this reason, I choose to fast from the things of this earth so that I can feast upon You.

 

I seek ….

I need …

And/or I desire …

 

Prepare my heart, soul, and mind to depend solely upon You.  Please make it clear as to when I should start denying myself from …

 

I will be faithful to this fast until You tell me the work is complete either by my witnessing the answer to my prayer or as You speak through Your Word.

 

Don’t let me fall prey to the temptations of this world. 

 

May You be glorified in all that is said and done. 

 

Amen.

Why fast?

Moses and Jesus fasted 40 days without food or water.

Moses was on the mountaintop as Yahweh revealed Himself, the glories of Heaven, and His commandments.  Let’s face it, if we could somehow see what Moses saw the last thing on our mind would be pizza.  He was feasting upon the grandeur and majesty of the Almighty.  He lacked nothing for 40 days and nights.

Jesus fasted in the wilderness.  Unlike Moses a mere man taken up to see glory, Jesus was Glory adjusting to wilderness life.  He endured a fasting that showed Him the evils of this fallen earth and the vileness of the enemy.  His fast was a battlefield and He won in His weakness.

These two totally different fasting experiences prove we cannot define fasting in legalistic guidelines.  No two fast will be the same.  Several times I have fasted 40 days.  One was a mountaintop encounter.

For those weeks, I had the strength of Samson, the Wisdom of Solomon, and the passion of Paul.  I slept little and worked hard.  I recorded volumes as His Spirit filled me with deep insights from His Word.  I witnessed to everyone in my path about the power and grace of my Lord.  If all fasts were like this, I’d never eat again.

But they are not.  I have endured fasts when I felt I would surely die.  The weakness and nausea consumed me.  But oh, during those times, I learned the power of His name.  “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus” I would start out weakly whispering but with each uttering of His name my strength grew until I was shouting for all to hear.  Jesus!

Most fast have moments of mountaintop grandeur as well as times of wilderness suffering.  But one thing I can guarantee, all true fast will bring you closer to our Lord.  I know He leans close to the ones who deny themselves for a taste of Him.

Fasting is akin to adding turbo boosters to your prayers.  Now remember, prayer is an encounter with God.  So when we add fasting to our prayers, we have more intimate encounters.  We hear His voice, we discern His will, we pray with confidence, and then His answers come quickly and powerfully.  Oh, that alone is worth all the foods of this world.

In case that last paragraph didn’t entice you to give up your next few meals, maybe the following benefits will.

  • For renewal.  When my soul begins to feel a distance from the Lord and I desire more intimacy.
  • For wisdom.  At those times when I truly don’t know what God is saying to me and I want to hear clearly before moving forward.
  • For strength.  Strangely, when I need His supernatural strength to complete His mission, I deny human strength.
  • For direction.  When the path seems unclear and I need to know where He wants to plant my next step.
  • For protection.  Like Ezra, when I’m facing the evils of this world, I need to know I have the supernatural protection of the Lord.
  • For power in prayer.  When my human words need the power of divine intercession.
  • For the love of Him.  When my heart is overflowing with His grace and mercy and I want Him to know the extent of my love.  These fasts are precious beyond words.

I can’t imagine any believer not finding themselves in one of these scenarios on a regular basis.  These are the challenges of the Christian walk.  Could it be the reason we find so many defeated Christians is because we either refuse to fast or just don’t know the benefits of fasting?

If you knew that denying your desires would help you to receive revival, wisdom, strength, direction, protection, and power wouldn’t you eagerly fast?

Holy God, teach me to fast.  The next time I am faced with questions, despair, weaknesses, and fears please guide me closer to You.  Allow my soul to feast upon your provisions and fulfill all my needs.  May I be so full of You, I lose all temptation for things of this world.  Amen

 

Shatter the American Dream

The American dream assures all people the right to have our sandwich and drink anyway we like it and as fast as we want. Then we can supersize our order because a little is never enough.  Mess with that mentality and you mess with the American way of life.

Well, fasting shatters the American dream.

Fasting causes the same outrage in the church that praying in the name of Jesus elicits in public places.  We are a people who defy anyone to tell us we can’t indulge ourselves.  Go without, never!

“Feed my belly!  When it growls, feed it now.”  Has become the American motto feeding a generation of believers.

I totally understand.  I can be real nasty when I’m hungry.  I especially hate to wait in line at restaurants.  Is there any food really worth waiting for an hour or more?  It amazes me that people will pay $50 to $100 for a meal they will flush in a few hours.  But what is even more mind-blowing is that we will continue to stuff ourselves with food we know harms our bodies.  Why?

Overeating is a socially acceptable addictive fix.  Food has become for many a drug of choice.  We choose to eat when we’re sad, lonely, frustrated, or stressed.  We choose to stuff our hurts, fears, and worries with food.

Food has become a habit or a hobby.  Social events are planned around the food breaks.   Food is not a bad thing.  It’s actually a gift from God to fuel our bodies for His purposes.  So how do we know when eating has become an obsession?  When we are told we can’t eat.  Try planning an all day workshop at your church and announce that you will provide no food.  That strong outburst indicates a dangerous underlying stronghold.

God can and will shatter every stronghold.  We just need to choose to let Him.

For those who are ready to win the battle of the belly, let’s cover a few pointers.

  • There is no right way to fast.
  • The Bible doesn’t have a set of rules.
  • Fasts in the Bible range from one day to 40 days.
  • They can be total fast of no food.
  • Or you can do a Nazarite vow or a Daniel’s fast.
  • The how-to is not as important as the why.
  •  Remember, you are a soul with a body.  Not a body with a soul.
  • Your heart, soul, and mind have control over your belly.
  • Victory is yours in the Lord.

I’m glad God didn’t give us strict guidelines on fasting.  As with His command, “Deny self and take up your cross daily.”  He wants us to seek hard after Him not His rules and regulations.   A true seeker seeks God.  God then blesses with the wisdom, knowledge, and blessings needed for obedience.

God is far more interested in your devotion to Him.  So let’s begin by praying,

Holy Father, I confess that I have a stronghold in my life.  I love to indulge myself and cringe at the idea of denying my wants.  Will you fix my wanter?  Give me a heart that wants You above all things.  Show me how to deny myself.  Teach me to fast from those things that control my heart, soul, and mind.  I place myself into Your will fully knowing that at the end of this experience, I will know You more intimately and be fully satisfied.  Amen

 

Pray daily and begin to record His answers as He directs you in His Word.  Next week, I will begin to share how He taught me to fast when I asked.

Give, Pray, and Fast

The three Acts of Righteousness in Matthew 6 contain three triplicates.  Not a coincidence if you ask me.  When Jesus says anything once, listen.  If He says it twice, take heed.  But if it’s recorded three times, then mark it on the top of your “To Know” list.

Let’s look quickly at the triplicates.

It is important to note that Jesus used ‘when ’ and not ‘if’.  Notice He used when three times (verses 2, 5, 16).  Even more important, He said ‘you’ each time.  We have no excuse not to give, pray, and fast.

The warning “I tell you the truth they have received their reward in full” is given three times: verses 2, 5, 16.

The promise for a reward, “Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” is spoken three times:  verses 4, 6, 18.

The repetition clearly ties the three acts together.  There should be no separation from when you give, pray, and fast.  My paraphrase goes like this…

When you pray (feast on me) then fast from the things of this world by giving your excess to the poor for I am watching and will bless your every act of righteousness. 

Repeat three times and you have it!

When Jesus spoke these words, He spoke for people of all generations.  We face the same heart issues as Isaiah addressed with his people.  As I compare Isaiah 58 with Matthew 6, consider how it applies to your own heart.

Here is what each generation was doing wrong:

Isaiah:

  • Verse 2-3: People seem eager to know His ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of God; seem eager for God to come near them.
  • Verse 3: they do as please, exploit all workers, their fasting ends in quarreling and strife and striking each other with wicked fists,

 

Matthew

  • Verse 2: announcing their giving before men with trumpets on the streets to be honored by men
  • Verse 5: hypocrites love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men
  • Verse 7:  kept on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words
  • Verse 16:  looked somber as the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting

Here is how to do it right:

 

Isaiah:

  • Verse 6:  loose the chains of injustice, untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free, break every yoke, to share your food with the hungry, to provide the poor wanderer with shelter, to clothe the naked, to take care of your own family
  • Verse 9:  IF you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, IF you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed

 

Matthew:

  • Verse 3: do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.  Give in secret
  • Verse 6: go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen
  • Verse 9-13: Pray like this…
  • Verse 17:  put oil on your head and wash your face so that I t will not be obvious to men that you are fasting and only to your Father who is unseen

He even record the rewards of a right heart:

 

Isaiah:

  • Verse 8:  then your light will break forth like the dawn and your healing will quickly appear, then your righteousness will go before you and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help and he will say:  Here am I.
  • Verse 10:  then your light will shine in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.  The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strength your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden like a spring whose waters never fail.  Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and raise up the age old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

 

Matthew:

  • Verse 14:  if you forgive men when they sin against you, your Father will also forgive you
  • Verses 4, 6, 18

As I merge these chapters, I see God saying, “If your hearts are not truly seeking me in prayer, then your eyes are not open to the needs of others, therefore your ‘fasting’ is in vain. In your arrogance you claim I am not seeing your righteous acts, but there are no righteous acts apart from feasting on me (prayer) giving to others and abstaining from things of this world.  You cannot fast as you do today and expect me to hear when you pray.  The mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

Come dance with Me

What would cause Jesus to leap for joy?

My joy!

Isn’t that astounding?  When I am walking in obedience, filled with the Spirit, victorious over darkness, rejoicing in His redemption, then I will know real joy.  At that time my Jesus will be full of joy (dancing) through the Holy Spirit and worshiping His Father because of me.    

Read that paragraph a few times and let it sink deep into your weary soul.  I hope you will then cry out, “How Lord? How can I know such joy and dance with You?”

I discovered this truth reading Luke 10:1-24.  But the discovery didn’t end there.  Linked with Isaiah 58 we can clearly see the connection between obedience and blessing.  Read through Isaiah 58 taking the time to record the commands followed by the blessings.  Read and study both passages before going on.  Thanks!

God gave Isaiah a warning for the people of God.  These are faithful worshipers and pray-ers who are eager to know God.  They even fast!  How many church members today can we describe with these attributes?

Notice what they will receive when obedient.  Light crashes the darkness of their days, healing is quick, righteousness guides, His Glory protects, needs are satisfied as He guides their life, and there they will find their joy!

Verses 9 and 14 are enough to make my heart sing.  He promises my prayers will be heard and He will answer, “Behold Me!  I’m here for you!”  Yes, that would cause an inexpressible joy to explode from within and cause me to soar across the mountaintops of my life feasting on all His inheritance to me.  The mouth of the LORD has spoken.  Amen, so be it.

If this is so, how come I have met few joy-filled believers?   Why am I not joy-filled?

In order to make this real in our daily lives, we have to be obedient.  We need to get off the road that leads us to doing as we please in quarreling and strife.  Through repentance, we change directions and walk the road that Jesus walked.

  • Loose the chains of injustice
  • Untie the cords of the yoke
  • Set the oppressed free
  • Break every yoke
  • Share your food with the hungry
  • Provide the poor wanderer with shelter
  • Clothe the naked
  • Take care of your family
  • Keep the Sabbath day holy by delighting in the Lord

Isaiah 58 is about fasting from the things of this world so that we can feast upon the Lord and delight in His promises.  In Luke 10, the disciples were sent out to do the very work of the Lord and they returned full of joy.

Both of these passages tell me if I will just take action and do it, then the joy comes.  I have somehow convinced myself that I am worthless to ministry unless I have joy.  Therefore I sit on my couch and cry out for something that can only come through an obedient act.  My thinking is upside down.

So here are the practical steps that I intend to follow.  Will you take this challenge with me?

Give up time.

Fast from everything that occupies personal time and satisfies personal desires. (TV, movies, hobbies, sports, books, naps, etc.)

Then:  Pray: “Lord open my eyes to see where I can pour out your love to others.”

Go for walks, people watch at the mall, visit outreach ministries, hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and ask to be sent to the ones that need Jesus the most.

 

Give up wealth.

When shopping, always buy equal for the needy.

For every dollar saved, match that dollar by giving to the poor.

“Why have we fasted and you have not seen it?  Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed.”  …the church (Isaiah 58:3)

“Because you did it all for yourself.”…God

“Father, help me to not feast upon the world.  It’s not about me anymore.  Lead me to go and to give. I want to dance with You.”  …the new me.

Fasting is Feasting, Part 2

Your answer from last week determines your heart for fasting.

I pray you ran out of your house with untied shoes, unbuttoned jackets, and uncombed hair.  For in this ‘unworldly’ disheveled state you would surely receive an affirming wink from the Lord Jesus.

The heart of fasting is the heart of the crowd in Matthew 15:32.  Three days without food, fresh clothes, or comfy beds, just because they wouldn’t leave His presence.  I wonder, were there people in the crowd who left before the miraculous feeding?

Maybe some allowed their growling bellies to overpower their hungry hearts.  Quite possibly, aching feet and sore backs forced a few to retire to the comfort of their homes.  The Bible doesn’t record any deserters.  But because people don’t change, I predict there were some who missed the miracle.  They missed the divine dinner.

In the early years of my Christian walk, I missed far too many divine moments.  I am now determined to catch up on lost miracles.  How about you?

In the coming weeks, I will share about the power of fasting and prayer.  I don’t profess to be an expert.  Great scholars can give you deeper insights than I possess.  But they can’t give you my testimony.  I will share what God has done in my life to teach me His power.  I encourage each of you to share your own personal testimonies along the way.  We’ll learn from each other.

Fasting began in the Garden of Eden.  God told Adam and Eve to abstain from eating the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  Oh how I wish they had obeyed this call to fast.

Before they failed, God daily came to walk among them in the Garden.  During this time, Adam and Eve feasted on the delicacies of the Garden.  They were filled with all the good things given by the Father for their pleasure.

This is what Jesus was teaching in Matthew 9:14-15.  Jesus, the Heavenly Bridegroom, Yahweh incarnate was walking once again on Earth.  The disciples had the privilege to feast upon the delicacies of His presence.  But a time was coming when Jesus would be taken away and then they would need to fast once again.

When God is in our midst, we feast upon Him and forsake the things of this world.  That my dear friends, is fasting: when we forsake the things of this world to feast upon the things of our Lord.  Fasting is the discipline God has given me for when I begin to lose the freshness of His presence.  When my heart is hungry for the Lord, I starve my stomach.  He rewards me with the delight of Him.  Can you imagine a more glorious reward?

One passionate testimony touched my heart from the documentary of the 24-7 prayer room movement described in Pete Grieg’s book Red Moon Rising.  Young people are creating these prayer rooms and are drawn into His presence for days at a time.  They describe an ache, physical, emotional and spiritual pain, when they leave the rooms after being days in prayer.  With passionate tears streaming done their faces they desire only one thing, to be near their Lord.

This is the heart of true prayer and fasting.  One thing and one thing only is desired, Jesus.

Are you ready to fast?

Fasting is Feasting

“I want you to fast beginning now and until the national convention vote.”

That was eight days away. Was this really God’s voice?

That morning I had studied in Matthew 6 where Jesus instructed His disciples on fasting.  Having never known anyone who fasted, this passage intrigued me.  I soon concluded it to be one of those disciplines Jesus, Moses and only the more holy saints practiced.

So you can image my surprise when before the day ended, I heard His command for me to fast.  There was no time to prepare. I simply knew if God said do it, I would have to do it.  Terror didn’t set in until a few hours later, being hypoglycemic; I realized fasting would require no food for eight days.  Did I mention eight days?

Prior to this time, I failed every diet plan. Self-discipline was not a characteristic I possessed.  Quite the contrary, I acted possessed if I didn’t get my needs met, instantly.

Determined to obey, I explained to a dumbfounded Mike why I wasn’t eating. (He later told me that he lived those eight days fearing that I would die.)  We were such novices to the power of the Spirit.  But eight days later, I could have competed with Daniel and his buddies in a biblical triathlon. Convinced of His power, I added fasting to my prayer life.

A believer immersed in the Spirit can know the power of fasting and prayer.  I often tell my classes, “Fasting is like adding turbo boosters to your prayers.”  The supernatural explodes when we trust enough to give up our comforts.

Fasting is not an option for a believer.  Jesus did not teach ‘if’ you fast.  He stated ‘when’ you fast. Matthew 6 puts fasting, giving, and prayer as the three acts of righteousness.  Most believers pray, many trust enough to give to the poor, but few trust enough to fast.

Fasting hasn’t always received enthusiastic followers.  When I started teaching on fasting in 1990, two accusations were logged against me: teaching falsehood and being anorexic.  Needless to say, very few people attended my classes.  A shift in the church has today’s believers more eager to know how to shatter the norm and walk in His power.

Read Matthew 15:29-39 and focus on verse 32.  The crowd had been with Jesus for three days.  No one forced them to stay and hear His teaching or follow His path. No one considered leaving Him even to go home for fresh supplies. They stayed because they’d rather have Jesus than food or a soft bed.

What would you be willing to live without just so you could be near Jesus?  Imagine without warning, Jesus coming to your town. Looking out the window you see the parade of thousands triumphantly marching behind His Majesty: each of their faces basking in His glory, eyes dancing with delight and voices singing His praises.  You want what they have.  With pounding heart you scurry about the house preparing to follow Jesus wherever He leads.

Make a list of the things you would want to pack for the journey.  You have no idea how long you’ll be away: three days, three weeks, or three years.  Record everything you can’t live without.

“Cash, cell phone, car with AC, clothing, and comfy shoes.  Don’t forget coffee, chocolate, and lots of water.  Should I take a camera and my computer?  I’d like a camper or a tent.  Will also need a sleeping bag and air mattress…”

A quick glance out the window, He’s nearly out of sight.  There’s no time to gather anything.  You must choose to either run after Him with nothing or miss out completely.  What will you do?