PRINCIPLES OF KINGDOM LIVING
Fasting is designed to discipline the body and to quiet the soul so that one can hear from God. The Scriptures show us that prayer and fasting are linked together. Fasting does not “buy” us anything from God, but it aligns us with His purpose and will.
(1) WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO “FAST“?
Fasting is deliberately turning from food and/our personal appetites, that we might focus our attention on God.
(2) IS THERE SCRIPTUAL BASIS FOR FASTING? Yes. Both men and women fasted in the Old and New Testaments. A. OLD TESTAMENT 1. Moses (Exodus 34:28). 2. Elijah (I Kings 19:8). 3. Ezra (Ezra 10:6). 4. Daniel (Daniel 10:3).
5. Esther (Esther 4:1-16). 6. David (II Samuel 12). 7. The Nation of Israel (I Samuel 7:6); (Numbers 29:7); (Nehemiah 9:1).
B. NEW TESTAMENT 1. Jesus (Matthew 4:2); (Luke 4:2). 2. Paul (Acts 9:9). 3. Paul and Barnabas (Acts 14:23). 4. The Church leaders at Antioch (Acts 13:2).
C. There were results when men and women of God fasted and prayed: 1. The Nation of Israel was delivered from death (Esther 4). 2. The judgement of God was reversed for the city of Nineveh (Jonah 2:3). 3. Daniel received divine instruction (Daniel 10). 4. Demons were cast out (Matthew 17:14-21). 5. The Will of God was revealed (Acts 9:9-15); (13:1-4). 6. Elders of the Church were chosen and ordained (Acts 14:23).
(3) HOW SHOULD WE FAST? A. In secret (Matthew 6:18). B. Not with a sad countenance (Matthew 6:17). C. Unto God, not man (Matthew 6:16-18). D. Humble ourselves before God (Psalms 35:13). E. Chasten our souls through fasting (Psalms 69:10). F. Fast with proper attitudes and pure motivation (Isaiah 58).
(4) FASTING CAN BE DONE WITH THE WRONG MOTIVES The Bible speaks of those whose fasting was in vain because of wrong motivations. A. Ahab (I Kings 21:4). B. The Nation of Israel (Zechariah 7:1-14). C. The Pharisees (Matthew 6:16-18); (9:14); (Luke 18:12).
(5) THERE ARE BLESSINGS PROMISED TO THOSE WHO FAST AND PRAY: A. (Isaiah 58:6-12): 1. Looses bands of wickedness. 2. Can undo heavy burdens. 3. Oppressed go free. 4. Breaks the yoke of bondage. 5. Health. 6. Righteousness. 7. The Glory of the Lord is our reward. 8. Guidance from the Lord continually. 9. Satisfy soul in drought. 10. Fruitfulness and productivity. 11. Ministry of reconciliation.
B. Disciplines our body (subdues the flesh and allows our spirit to be strengthened) (I Corinthians 9:27).
C. Ministers unto the Lord (Acts 13:1-3).
D. Gives power to do spiritual warfare (Matthew 17:21).
(6) ARE THERE DIFFERENT TYPES OF FASTS?
YES! A. Regular Fast: Refraining from all food and drink, except water (Matthew 4:3).
B. Partial Fast: Refraining from a certain meal or restricting the intake of certain foods (Daniel 10:3).
C. Complete Fast: A total refraining from all food and liquid (Acts 9:9); (Esther 4:16).
D. Liquid Fast: Allowing ourselves to partake of liquid, but no solid food for a determined period of time.
(7) WHEN ARE WE TO FAST? A. When led or directed by the Spirit of the Lord (Matthew 4:1-2).
B. When, as individuals, we sense the need (Matthew 6:16-18).
C. When the Church, as a body, is called to fast (Joel 1:14); (2:15-16).
PRINCIPLES OF KINGDOM LIVING
LESSON 9—STUDY SHEET
Please fill in the blanks and bring this sheet to next class.
1. Fasting is designed to ________________________ the body and to quiet the soul so that one can hear from God.
2. Fasting is _________________________ turning from food and/or our personal appetites that we might focus our attention on God.
3. Matthew 6:16-17 Moreover when ye fast, be not as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thy head, and wash thy face; that thou appear not unto men to fast but unto thy _____________ which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret shall ______________ thee openly.
4. Isaiah 58:6 Is not ______________ the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of ____________, to undo the heavy ___________________ and to let the oppressed to go ______________________ and that ye break ________________________ yoke?
5. Can you fast with wrong motives? (Explain)