In our vulnerability we should direct our self to dependence upon God by fasting and praying, asking God to intervene at our point of need and feed our spirit with His Spirit.
Appeals to God for victory:
Jehoshaphat, a king of Judah learned prayer and fasting was key to military adversaries and the result was that God set confusion in the camp of the enemy.
2 Chronicles 20:3 NIV
Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the LORD, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah.
As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. The Ammonites and Moabites rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another.
Elijah was given great victory over the demonic principalities operating through Queen Jezebel. 1 Kings 18:16-40 show us how Elijah was fearless in front of King Ahab and 850 Baal and Asherah prophets, but he ran for his life at the threat of Jezebel because she was sanctioned by demonic principalities of witchcraft that intimidated him.
1 Kings 19:1-3 NIV
Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.” Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there,
2 Kings 9:22 NIV
When Joram saw Jehu he asked, “Have you come in peace, Jehu?”“How can there be peace,” Jehu replied, “as long as all the idolatry and witchcraft of your mother Jezebel abound?”
After a 40 day period of fasting and praying, traveling to meet with God, 1 Kings 19:1-14, God gave Elijah a message that assured him of the Lord's rule over political and spiritual forces. (This, along with Moses and Jesus' fast was a supernatural fast, directed and ordained by God).
1 Kings 19:15-18 NIV
The LORD said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”
Fasting places us in the position to receive protection from harm and victory over the enemy. God does not withhold these blessings from us but Satan blinds us into living below our privilege. Fasting and prayer open our eyes to seeing things in the right perspective so we shed insecurity and hold on to the continual blessing and favour that is ours as children of the King.
Ezra was embarking on a journey to return to Jerusalem and he was ashamed to ask the king for an army to protect them so they fasted and prayed asking God for protection, and He answered their prayer. I also have this verse Ezra 8:23, as part of my blog title because the journey God has me on is one of intercessing. Healing from physical, emotional and spiritual ailments with the utmost healing being that of a soul, a soul given over to Jesus Christ and becoming a child of God. This is a journey in which we need the protection of our God for Satan is always on the attack and he would see people suffer and not become Christians.
Ezra 8:21-23 NIV
There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions. I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.” So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.
When your life is in danger:
Queen Esther fasted a full fast for 3 days and nights before she approached the king, which was forbidden to do. No one was allowed to approach the king unless they were called forward, but because of the dire need of her people, Ester decided to do this.
Esther 4:15-16 NIV
Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”
When we feel tension in our relationships:
Sweet relationships with other believers is a sign that God's grace is working in us.
1 John 1:7 NIV
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
Fellowship means we are relating to others as equals, lack of fellowship means we think we are above or below them.
Fasting is an expression of the heart's longing to a greater intimacy in our walk with God, it assures a devotions that lasts. Regular practice of fasting and prayer helps assure consistency in our devotion to God because it develops a lifestyle of self-denial.
Luke 9:23 NIV
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me."
Intensifies the worship of God:
Acts 13:1-3 NIV
Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
The discipline of fasting helps us to give ourselves fully to the Lord by cutting off the tendencies we have that distract our focus on Him. We develop the consistency of devotion that will draw us into the presence of God in which He is pleased to walk and talk with us.
Desire spiritual blessing and insight:
Colossians 2:2-3 NIV
My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Empowers us for spiritual warfare:
1 John 3:8 NIV
The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.
Matthew 10:1 NIV
Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.
Matthew 17:14-20 NIV
When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.”
“You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment.
Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Fasting nil's unbelief that hinders our prayer lives and is instrumental in empowering our ministries.We are to serve the body of Christ and evangelize the lost. Our desire should be to help others experience God's grace and goodness. We are to work together to see God's kingdom advance and the power of darkness leave.
Fasting and prayer does not change God, it changes us. It lines up our thoughts with God's thoughts and ways. It does not twist God's arm to get Him to work for us but it puts us in the position to receive the grace He freely gives and enables us to do His bidding.
I am sure I have missed many other situations in which to fast, but I am sure you get the idea. :) Next up: How to fast.