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FASTING AND PRAYER

The Quickest Way to Miracles

Have you ever wondered what "fast" which means abstenance from food and "fast" which denotes speed have in common? Wonder no more 'cuz the answer is right here. So read on...

Scientific Evidence: Fasting Equals Good Health

There’s strong evidence that fasting is good for our minds and bodies: i.e. health. Though those who walk by faith don’t need scientific proofs to ascertain their beliefs, a little help from that realm adds a boost to our faith.

Though the nourishment we obtain from the food we eat gives us the energy our bodies need, oftentimes, sickness comes from eating too much food too fast.* p42.

For centuries, doctors and sages have stated that temperance in eating is a key to the maintenance of good health, and that’s why doctors restrict the diet of patients. A lot of research has been conducted by eminent doctors and scientists to the effects of fasting on the human body. In The Fast Way to Health, Dr. Frank McCoy talks of the benefits of fasting and how he recommended it to some of his patients. In Vitality, Fasting and Nutrition, Dr. Carrington mentions fasting as one of the best ways for people to enjoy better health and a long life. He explains that food and drink are the basic factors that cause ailments.

Generally speaking, most people eat much more than they need to in order to maintain their health. As a result, only some of the food is digested, and though the surplus is excreted from the body a small amount of refuse builds up throughout the digestive tract. This disturbs the circulatory system and becomes the basic factor that causes many disease. Medicine alone is unable to completely cleanse this buildup. The best way to do this is to fast periodically since fasting for a few days causes our bodies to begin using the reserved nourishment [fat, carbohydrates and proteins]. Waste and injurious substances are removed, and as the blood is cleansed the disease factor is eliminated and symptoms disappear.

Note that the fundamental cause [basic factor] of every ailment is that contaminated blood containing injurious substances [caused by the continued intake of unfit food] hinders the proper function of various organs. This impure blood does not circulate well and little by little causes congestion in the organs, which ultimately results in functional disorders. Therefore, it’s beneficial to control what we eat and drink, thereby cleansing the blood stream.

Fasting brings with it a great of physiological benefits: it cleans up our system, purifies it, gives our organs full rest and restores them to full function. It also eradicates diseases, makes the skin more supple and does great things to our mental health as well.

Spiritual Evidence: Fasting Equals Good Health

From the analysis above, you can tell that fasting in general, even only from a scientific standpoint, brings us enormous benefits. This means that you don’t have to be a Christian to enjoy these benefits. But wait, that’s just the beginning. A lot of things that we enjoy in this life are only a foretaste of the spiritual world. The beauty all around us merely heralds the astounding beauty awaiting us in Heaven [1Corinthians 2:9].

Therefore, it goes without saying that for the Christian, fasting has a greater dimension in terms of the outcome because we combine our fast with prayer and we are assisted and accompanied all the time by the awesome Spirit of Almighty God.

Our minds and bodies are intrinsically linked. They are inseparable. When one is hurting, the other feels the pain. When in joy, both rejoice. Therefore, it goes without saying that as our body is purified and healed, our mind is also freed from morbid thought patterns such as despair, sadness, enmity, fear, anxiety, depravity and anger. And it works the other way, too. An old Korean proverb says that a sound mind is a sound body, and that’s true, and fulfills God’s original plan for us to be pure both spiritually and physically.

Fasting can be an exceptional experience for the Spirit-filled, sanctified believer. It can be an unfathomable, precious experience that beats the finest attempts of description and need to be tasted individually. Suffice to say that there is an unlimited rest and peace that engulfs our entire being and living water is flowing from deep within. No wonder, after such an awesome encounter and communion with the Holy Spirit, we have great compassion for the human race, great fellowship with each other and a renewed love for the Lord.

Inarguably, fasting and prayer can be the source of strength for our minds and bodies, strengthening our will, developing our intellectual faculties, fortifying, vitalizing and focusing us, and helping to establish a healthy attitude and philosophy of life.

Biblical Evidence: God Wants Us To Fast

Joel 2:12-13

"Therefore also now, says the Lord, turn to me with all your heart with fasting, weeping, mourning and rent your heart, not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness…"

Also, read Joel 2:28-32; Isaiah 40:41, 58:6-9; Jeremiah 33:3; Matthew 17:21

Biblical Examples: Our Heroes Fasted

Moses fasted for 40 days when he received the Ten Commandments. Daniel fasted for three weeks beseeching the Lord to deliver the Israelites from distress. Elijah fasted for 40 days asking the Lord to deliver Israel. Many of the kings of Israel would declare a national fast to beseech the Lord for forgiveness and deliverance. Our Lord and Perfect Example Himself fasted for 40 days before He started His ministry. The disciples also fasted before the Holy Spirit came upon them.

Communal Benefits of Fasting: Victory

The Bible tells us that if we have sin in our hearts, then God will not be interested in talking to us or hearing our prayers and blessing us. We must first get rid of the sin barrier and come clean to the Lord and His throne of grace. Fasting provides us with the unique chance to practice self-denial. If we are going to hold on to our sins, we may as well not fast. By going hungry for a day, two days, one week, two weeks, 40 days, we are saying that we really mean business with the Lord. As we draw near to Him, He smiles and draws near to us because He knows we are serious.

And as He draws near, we can begin to feel His awesome power for where He is holy ground. No impurity can be found there. That’s why a lot of people receive their physical healing as well as spiritual emancipation when they commit to fast.

Mark 16:17-20: "And these signs shall follow them that believe: in my name they shall cast out demons, they shall speak with new tongues… they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover…"

The Sacrifice: Self, Time

A lot of people are willing to spend hours, even days, months to consult a doctor regarding their ailment. They want to be set free, by all means and fast. Yet, how many spend weeks, months in the hospital and sick beds. Some are healed, others are not so fortunate. Yet, they are willing to trust the doctors and would sell everything they have to get the best treatment, even if that means painful surgery.

Yet, all the Sovereign Lord is asking for is our time, surrender and our yoke. He’s willing and able and several people testify to His awesome answer to prayers. When he heals, there are no scars, no side effects, no need for additional check-ups and X-rays.

How to Fast: Physical Aspects

CAUTIONS

Pre-fasting Period

This is the period before a full-blown fasting

  1. Take a couple of laxatives to clean up the stomach and the intestines
  2. Gradually reduce food intake from three meals a day to two, then one then nothing [full-blown fast].

Full-blown Fasting Period

  1. Drink several glasses of water per day during the fast. Water tends to help the cleansing and fasting process
  2. Don’t take excessively hot baths, which may result in dizziness. Instead, take sponge baths in tepid, lukewarm water. Bathe regularly to get rid of the secreted impurities and foul body odor.
  1. Brush your teeth and gargle often. Fasting produces a different smelling breath.
  2. No excessive work, exercise or reading. These wear down the body and mind. Light reading such as the Bible, is highly recommended.
  3. Clean the digestive tract again.

Post-Fasting Period

This is the most difficult part and requires more discipline. You can lose the physical benefits of a lengthy fast and do great harm to your body if you are not extremely careful during this period. Therefore, you must observe the following cautions.

  1. Eat in proportion to your fasting, i.e. observe one day of temperance for each day of fasting. For example, a five-day fast should be followed by five days of temperance.
  2. Don’t eat solid food on the first day. Instead, begin your first day by drinking vegetable juice, a little at a time. Then follow that later in the morning with a cup of watery soup, such as corn soup.
  3. On the second day, thicken the soup and continue to drink vegetable juice and apple juice.
  4. From then on, increase the amount of food intake in proportion to your fast. Don’t overeat and remember to chew solid food much longer than before as the smoothness of the digestion depends on the amount of saliva mixed with the food.

How to Fast: Spiritual Aspects

Pre-Fasting Period

1] Have A Clear Aim

Know that fasting is not a way to cultivate your religious instinct. Instead, you must have sound objectives in mind, otherwise, you’d be distracted and would not want to continue your fast.

  1. Don’t Fast to Show Off, Matthew 6:16-18.
  2. We are not fasting unto men but unto God. Fasting can be a very difficult but wonderful experience. However, no one should boast if they complete a long fast. Instead, we should rejoice in the answer to prayer and give the glory back to the Lord.

  3. Plan your time during the fast a] Confess your sins and repent b] Bring your requests to the Lord and ask for His will and not your to be done c] Believe that God will answer your prayers. Mark 11:24, "Whatever you desire, when you pray, believe that you will receive them, and you will."
  4. Expect a Change in You
  5. If you are not a believer, pray for salvation and expect to be born again. If you’ve not been filled with God’s Spirit, pray for that to happen and expect it to happen. The essence of fasting is to be closer to the Lord. That’s more important than healing and other solutions to problems.

  6. Fasting is not Righteousness

Don’t think because you’ve fasted 40 days or even 100 days that you have a special place in God’s sight. Fasting and prayer should give glory to God. [Zechariah 7:9-10]

Post-Fasting Period

  1. Remember that you are not perfect
  2. Satan will attack, especially now, so be on the alert and fight back with contact prayer and the reading of God’s Word. We must still fight the good fight of faith just like our Lord did soon after He’d fasted 40 days. Don’t boast of your achievement.

  3. Acknowledge Your Weakness
  4. Without Him we can do nothing. Keep trusting His amazing grace even if miracles happen in your ministry. Remember that you have no power to heal, save or free from bondage. Jesus is the one who has all authority.

  5. Maintain a Positive Attitude of Faith

Don’t criticize the pastor’s sermon, your brethren, or administration. Pray for the weak and pray that the Lord would move even when things don’t look right. Remember that a negative attitude produces a negative life.