Do I really need to fast? What did Jesus say about it?
Thank you for coming back for day 2 of our corporate fast. Some of you are doing this, because you “feel” that you should, but you don’t know why. Others have fasted before and have seen the Lord use it mightily.
As I promised, let’s look at this in small “bite-sized” portions. After all, Jesus, when fasting, told the devil, “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” So, we know that when we fast, our food is from God’s word. We are sustained from the Lord, as his Word nourishes us.
When you fast. Not if.
Matthew 6:16, “Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.” NASB
Let’s get down to the nitty gritty. I just downloaded an amazing Bible study software called The Discovery Bible. It helps regular people like you and me to understand the Greek and Hebrew in a passage. So, fun times! I just looked up this passage and what did I find? The very first word in the sentence is WHENEVER you fast. In English, this seems like it is a laid back idea. But, alas, the language barrier. In the Greek, the verb “fast” is in the present tense which expresses ongoing, continuing activity. The Discovery Bible software’s Greek word helps says it is “brought out in translation with helping words like: constantly, over-and-over again, habitually, progressively, intermittently, continuously (uninterruptedly)etc. The context determines the precise sense.”
So, fasting, according to Jesus, is something that we should do constantly, over and over again, habitually, progressively etc…. you get the picture. This is very convicting to me. So, if Jesus says we should, then we need to do it. If we need to ask him for help to understand the purposes of fasting, ask for revelation. We do this by the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, the Holy Spirit! I can guarantee that Jesus would only ask us to do something that would reap eternal benefits!
Look at what he says in Matthew 6:16. He says that when we fast in secret, we will store up for ourselves an eternal reward. There is also a way to lose our eternal reward. That is looking for a temporary reward, the approval of other people. (When we fast in the open.)
So, let’s pray!
Day 2 Prayer- Rebuilding what was torn down by sin
“Father, in Jesus’ name, I come before you with humility. I ask that you will restore the foundations of righteousness in my family. Lord God, I pray the prayer that Nehemiah prayed, when he was sent to repair the broken down walls of Jerusalem. We cannot rebuild was was torn down, unless you bring forgiveness and restoration.”
Nehemiah Prays for His People
1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah.
It came to pass in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan[a the citadel, 2 that Hanani one of my brethren came with men from Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who had survived the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. 3 And they said to me, “The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.”
4 So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.
(Here is the prayer Nehemiah prayed. Change the pronouns and pray it for your family, community, church and nation.)
5 And I said: “I pray, Lord God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments, 6 please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night, for the children of Israel Your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against You. Both my father’s house and I have sinned. 7 We have acted very corruptly against You, and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses. 8 Remember, I pray, the word that You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations; 9 but ifyou return to Me, and keep My commandments and do them, though some of you were cast out to the farthest part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there, and bring them to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling for My name.’ 10 Now these are Your servants and Your people, whom You have redeemed by Your great power, and by Your strong hand. 11 O Lord, I pray, please let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who desire to fear Your name; and let Your servant prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.”Spend the rest of your prayer time listing specific people who need prayer. Ask the Lord to bring forgiveness for sins and bring restoration to your family and life. Ask the Lord to reveal to you family, community and national sins to pray for.