Fasting is an armament, as Our Lady calls it, the “arms” in which to destroy Satan’s power in your life. There are 26 main statements Our Lady has told us about fasting. The facts about fasting are as follows: *
As no truth is more clearly taught in the Volume of Inspiration, nor any more fully demonstrated by the experience of all ages, than that a deep sense and a due acknowledgment of the growing providence of a Supreme Being and of the accountableness of men to Him as the searcher of hearts and righteous distributer of rewards and punishments are conducive equally to the happiness of individuals and to the well-being of communities…
I have thought proper to recommend, and I hereby recommend accordingly, that Thursday, the twenty-fifth day of April next, be observed throughout the United States of America as a day of solemn humiliation, fasting, and prayer;
That the citizens on that day abstain, as far as may be, from their secular occupation, and devote the time to the sacred duties of religion, in public and in private;
That they call to mind our numerous offenses against the most high God, confess them before Him with the sincerest penitence, implore his pardoning mercy, through the Great Mediator and Redeemer, for our past transgressions, and that through the grace of His Holy Spirit, we may be disposed and enabled to yield a more suitable obedience to his righteous requisitions in time to come; that He would interpose to arrest the progress of that impiety and licentiousness in principle and practice so offensive to Himself and so ruinous to mankind;
That he would make us deeply sensible that “righteousness exalteth a nation but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).
WHY IS FASTING IMPORTANT?
Fasting is important because of spiritual warfare (Mat. 17:21).
When we fast, we are not forcing God to do something, but are resisting supernatural strongholds and powers. Someone might say, “Why is this necessary when Christ has all power?” I do not know the answer to this question, but I do know that Christ said, “This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”
Fasting demonstrates the earnestness and desire of the heart–Heb. 11:6.
God sees the hearts of men, but the Bible says He requires open evidence of the heart’s desire–Joel 2:12. “Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning.”
This is seen in Abraham’s offering of Isaac. God knew that Abraham would obey and give up the beloved son, but He required Abraham to go through with the act up to the very point of driving the knife into Isaac’s heart. Only then did God say, “For now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me” (Gen. 22:12).
Fasting can be seen as one way of evidencing the earnestness and sincerity of our hearts toward God in matters of prayer. We can say that such things as fasting are not necessary since God knows our hearts, but examples such as the one about Abraham and his son show that God does require evidence of our faith and earnestness.
Fasting helps keep the body under subjection.
“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Cor. 9:24-27).
The body continually desires its own way. Its lusts cry out for fulfillment, and the process of fasting is in itself a subduing of the bodily appetites. The Apostle Paul knew that big battles are won through victory in small skirmishes, and wars are won through victory in individual battles. Daniel first had to conquer the small skirmish of his own bodily appetites as a young man before he could conquer the larger battle of refusing to obey the solemn law of the king regarding prayer as an old man. Victory had to be gained over food before victory could be gained over the lions.
This is one reason so few church members attend prayer meetings. Too often we haven’t won the victory of prayer in our daily lives. Too often we aren’t in the regular habit of subduing the flesh in order to serve the Spirit. The Bible says Eli the priest was fat (1 Sam. 4:18). He did not subdue his bodily craving for rich food. The fearful truth is that his carelessness in the area of food carried over into every area of his life and ministry. He allowed his bodily craving for sleep to keep him from maintaining the lamp in the tabernacle through the night. The lamp went out each night, even though it was to be kept lit. The failure to subdue his own body was kin to and connected with his failure to discipline his sons. God said that Eli loved the fat offerings just as well as did his wicked sons (1 Sam. 2:29). Eli was not committing immorality with the women at the door of the tabernacle as his sons were, but his unsubdued love for food and ease was hurtful to his ministry. Eli should have been fasting and working instead of feasting and sitting!
Again there is no set or rigid guidelines for fasting. In Daniel’s fast of 21 days, we are told that he ate “no pleasant bread, nor flesh, nor wine” (Dan. 10:3). Apparently Daniel did eat something, but he abstained from pleasant foods. God has not given specific instructions about fasting because it is to be a private matter between an individual and the Lord. A nursing mother, for example, would be unwise to go entirely without food for any significant length of time, because not only is she dependent upon that food, but her infant is also. God has promised, “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye” (Psa. 32:8). This precious promise applies to fasting. When should you fast? For how long? What should you abstain from as you fast? God will lead you very personally and clearly in all of these things if you are walking in fellowship with Him.
If fasting is an individual, private matter, something not specifically commanded by God, is it really important? Can’t it simply be left undone? No! The Lord Jesus Christ said that there are spiritual battles which can be won by NOTHING but by prayer AND fasting–not prayer alone, but prayer AND fasting. This means spiritual, biblical fasting is absolutely essential at times for victory over the enemy.
Paul no doubt considered fasting to be essential for victory in ministry and life. It is doubtful that he received some strange enjoyment from going without meals.
What if we were to ask Hannah if fasting is essential. What would she reply? Surely she would tell us that fasting is important. Was it not through prayer with fasting that God gave her the son she so longed for?
And what would we hear from Esther and Mordecai? Why didn’t she call a prayer meeting rather than going to the trouble to fast three days and three nights? Her reply most doubtless would be, that prayer alone is not always enough. There are spiritual victories which cannot be won without prayer and fasting.
Ezra, too, would certainly add his Amen to the truth that fasting is sometimes essential for victory. Why didn’t he just gather the people together at the river of Ahava and have a few hours of prayer without the sacrifice of fasting? Apparently, he felt that it would require fasting as well as prayer for safety in travel through those dangerous lands? “So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was intreated of us” (Ezra 8:23).
But what do these ancient events have to do with Christians who live in these busy, modern times? “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come” (1 Cor. 10:11).
To learn more about Biblical Fasting click here.
The scriptures speak often of the importance of both prayer and fasting. Below are some passages to look up concerning these aspects of the Christian life:
David, therefore, besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in a lay all night upon the ground.
And when Ahab heard those words, he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted and lay in sackcloth, and went about dejectedly.
So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet, for his God gave him rest round about.
Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a straight way for ourselves, our children, and all our goods. 22For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect us against the enemy on our way; since we had told the king, “The hand of our God is for good upon all that seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all that forsake him.” 23So we fasted and besought our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty.
And in every province, wherever the king’s command and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting and weeping and lamenting, and most of them lay in sackcloth and ashes.
And now, O Lord God and King, God of Abraham, spare thy people; for the eyes of our foes are upon us to annihilate us, and they desire to destroy the inheritance that has been thine from the beginning. Do not neglect thy portion, which thou didst redeem for thyself out of the land of Egypt. Hear my prayer, and have mercy upon thy inheritance; turn our mourning into feasting, that we may live and sing praise to thy name, O Lord; do not destroy the mouth of those who praise thee.
But I, when they were sick – I wore sackcloth, I afflicted myself with fasting I prayed with head bowed on my bosom.
In those days I, Daniel, was mourning for three weeks. I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks.
And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hyprocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry.
And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit 2for forty days in the wilderness, tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing in those days; and when they were ended, He was hungry. The devil said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” And the devil took Him up, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6and said to Him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory; for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it shall be all yours.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘He will give his angels charge of you, to guard you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”
And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”
And when the devil had ended every temptation; he departed from him until an opportune time.
And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher; she was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years from her virginity, and as a widow till she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she gave thanks to God, and spoke of him to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
Saul arose from the ground; and when his eyes were opened, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.