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Breakthrough Prayer and Fasting

 

With food for almost every social occasion, the call to fast and go seems out of step with the times and our response can often be “you don’t really expect me to go without food?”.

Unger’s Dictionary describes a fast as originally meaning to cover one’s mouth with one’s hand. If I cover my mouth with my hand it prevents intake of food, stops the outflow of words.

Fasting gives us time to listen to God, to hear his voice, his rhema word to and for us.

With fasting mentioned so often in scripture and so commonly practiced by Christians for centuries it must be very important. Fasting is spoken of in the Bible 1/3 as much as prayer. Those who practiced regular fasting include Moses, David, Elijah, Esther, Daniel, Anna, Paul, Jesus. Luther, Finney,

The Bible mentions three ‘when’ situations in Matthew 6:3, 6:6, and 6:16 - when you give, when you pray and when you fast. Jesus said when you fast not if. He expects all Christians to fast.

We remove physical food to receive spiritual food. If you want more of God, fast.

1. Control our passions

Fasting is training in self-control.

2. Refines us

Gold is refined through the application of heat in a crucible. As it heats up impurities rise to the surface and are skimmed off. Fasting turns up the heat in our lives. More than any other discipline, fasting reveals the things that control us. We cover up what is inside us with food and other things but in fasting these things surface. If pride controls us, it will surface, anger, bitterness, jealousy, if these are in us they will surface during a fast. Fasting reveals the self.

3. Personal breakthrough

Fasting sharpens our prayers.


In Nehemiah 1:3-4 Nehemiah realises God’s people are in distress and the walls of Jerusalem are broken down; he sets himself to prayer and fasting. Then he approaches the King of Persia and makes an outrageous request for permission to rebuild the city of Judah, for letters of safe passage and for materials for the rebuild. It’s an outrageous, excessive request. The king could have had his head on the spot. He could have been thrown in prison to die. Why would the King of Persia even think about it?

Nehemiah 2:8
"And the king granted them to me according to the good hand of my God upon me."

Every one of Nehemiah’s requests is granted. How did Nehemiah start the whole process? Through prayer and fasting.

Hebrews 6:11 
And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end,


Rewards are not to those who just turn up to church, but those who diligently seek God.

4. Successfully go in a new direction

Ezra 8:21

I proclaimed a fast at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us.

5. Acceleration of expansion

It takes huge spiritual power to take new territory for God. Our vision for Church Unlimited is to impact regions for God. There is so much God wants to do for us but needs prayer and fasting to release him to work.

Joel 2:28
“And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions."

God reveals His purpose to pour out His Spirit upon the world. He starts off by saying “afterwards”. After what? Before this promise Joel issues 3 calls for God’s people to fast and pray. (Joel 1:14; 2:12 & 2:15). Only then comes the prophecy to pour out the Spirit.

Our collective prayer and fasting will take prayer and fasting to another level.

Examples of Breakthrough Prayer and Fasting

Jehoshaphat - 2 Chronicles 20 A great army had risen against Judah. Jehoshaphat turned to collective prayer and fasting and the nation was saved.

Esther- In the book of Esther Haman issued a decree that all the Jews were to be annihilated. Esther called for 3 days collective prayer fasting. God saved a nation and he can save ours.

Guidelines for fasting -

If you plan to fast for more than a day and have not done a fast before get counsel.
Drink plenty of fluids. If you are on medication check with your doctor first. In the early part of a fast you may experience dizziness and/or headaches, these should go after 1-2 days. Hunger is partly habit. You can learn to rule your stomach. As you approach the end of your extended fast break the fast gradually.



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