Grace Tabernacle
Sunday, December 17, 2017

Prayer and Fasting

          Fasting is the discipline of going without food for a certain period of time in order to increase your appetite for the things of God. It is an expected discipline mentioned in both the Old and New testaments. Fasting is to be your choice to deny yourself something such as food in order to focus more time and energy on your relationship with God. Sometimes it may be unavoidable to let someone know you are fasting. Don’t worry about those times when you can’t keep it secret. The idea is fasting is not something you do to let people know how spiritual you are. 
          Jesus said, “And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you”. Matt 6:16-18.
                    Your motive for fasting is primarily spiritual but it has many physical benefits as well. Fasting has been proven scientifically to be good for our bodies. During a fast from food your body will receive internal rest which the gastrointestinal tract rarely gets to have. You will not only lose weight but you will eliminate toxins.
          If you have never fasted before this may be difficult for you depending on how you have treated your body. The body is a wonderful gift from God and it works amazingly well in spite of our lack of proper diet and exercise. Many people experience headaches and fatigue and some weakness during the first three days. This is normal and is a good indicator that you need to fast because your body is releasing toxins you have ingested over years. Fasting is like spring cleaning for the body. It is very important to drink plenty of water or juices during this time.
 
          During a fast you are devoting more time to be alone with God. This should include fasting from television and your normal forms of entertainment. Make this a time you read more of the Bible and talk to God in prayer. It would be good to keep a daily journal to write down your thoughts and ideas as you go through this fast.
          Determine ahead of time how long your fast will be and what it will include. You should decide before you fast about such things that you will be avoiding such as television. Will this will be a water only fast or a water and juice fast, or like some who do a Daniel fast (which is water, fruits and vegetables only and no breads or sweets).
          Before you begin your fast pray and ask God’s help. He will graciously supply you with the supernatural help you will need to fast properly so that it will benefit your spiritual life. A hunger pain or an urge to follow your normal feeding pattern is a signal to pray and God will show you He is there and ready to help you succeed in your fast.
          There are many great books and resources available that can be used to supplement your Bible reading time and keep you inspired to make it through your fast. Some of them are:

-Fasting by Jentzen Franklin
Also check out his website for some tips on fasting at www.jentezenfranklin.org.
Another good resource on the web is campus crusade for Christ at
 
           Read what the Bible has to say about fasting and ask God to teach you. There is great reward is fasting properly unto the Lord. It's not about the food but about you being changed from the inside out. During a fast don’t be surprised if bad attitudes and irritability surface. Our flesh is use to getting pampered and now it is getting exposed and God will show you how to deal with it.
Isaiah 58 is a warning to all of us that it is possible to fast religiously and it not be the kind of fast God desires. Through proper fasting you are dethroning king appetite and enthroning King Jesus. You should expect some battles.
          Everyone at GT should join in the 7 day church wide fast in some capacity. Some will be fasting even longer. I would encourage you to continue a type of regular fasting in your life such as fast
every Wednesday. Not only will it help you stay centered on growing spiritually, but it will also be healthy for you physically as well.
          Obesity is a serious problem in America because of a spirit of gluttony running rampant even among the church. The American church is digging its own premature grave one spoonful at a time. How many sermons have you heard on the subject of fasting? My point is this Biblical discipline has been neglected in the church and now we are paying a high price for it literally.
          It’s a New Year and time for God to be allowed to do a new thing with you. Come on and join us on this great spiritual journey.

Lovingly,
Pastor Gary