21 Days of Prayer and Fasting – Day 16 Power from On High

For years I thought fasting was a good idea. I talked about it. I even taught others about it, as if I knew about it from practical or personal experience, when really, I was speaking of it in theory. I had fasted occasionally, as in once a year for one meal. Or every few years, I may have sacrificed 24 hours and given myself a pat on the back. I knew I SHOULD fast. The Bible talks about fasting. But I really didn’t understand why. Well, I take that back. I did understand why, from a head knowledge perspective. I could have written an exegetical paper on it skillfully, but that didn’t mean that I had true personal experience that practically reflected what the scriptures teach on the power of fasting.  

Several years ago, the Lord laid on my heart the need to start fasting. It was an urgent thought, but I kept putting it off. Why? Because I couldn’t think of a good time to fast. The thoughts kept coming. The feeling was more urgent, but in my flesh, I kept imagining of how hard it would be. I would say to myself, “God understands how busy I am, or how I get when I don’t have food.” “God knows I have to teach all day. Won’t that be too difficult?” I would also start arguing with these gentle promptings with comebacks on how I was getting too legalistic. I struggled with guilt over not obeying God, which honestly, is normal. It’s normal, when God commands you to do something and you disobey, to feel “bad”. God doesn’t tell you to do something, unless he means it, and it’s for your good and the good of his relationship with you. 

I am not suggesting that condemnation is from the Lord, but conviction is from the Lord. Ignoring the Lord brings conviction and then self-justification that is a hardening of the heart. 

I was in the self-justification place. The next year was the most difficult year of my life. I experienced so many hardships that came in waves of increasing severity upon the ones I love and on myself. I am not at all implying that I was being punished. But, I do believe The Lord knew what kind of battle I was going to be up against, when he started to draw me to himself through the spiritual discipline of fasting.  

Every time the children of Israel had to face a battle, when they sought the Lord with fasting, they overcame. Every. Time. 

This is not implying that as believers in Jesus Christ we need to “work” to get to heaven. This is not a work for buying God’s favor to get to heaven. This is the outworking of the inward persuasion of faith that is wrought by the Holy Spirit in us. He draws us closer to himself and wants to speak to us, strengthening us in times of communion, worship and prayer. Fasting is a vehicle that can take us into deeper places of intimacy, freedom, healing and authority with Christ. 

Now that our ministry has been participating in a 21 day fast I have made several observations.

  1. I feel an increasing strength from the Lord in every way – surprisingly enough, even physically. 
  2. I am experiencing power in prayer, alone and with others in the ministry who are fasting. 
  3. I have watched a new believer participate in this spiritual discipline and overcome major strongholds, becoming increasingly strengthened and empowered by the Holy Spirit. She is a walking miracle of the power of God that manifests, when we touch the throne of God in prayer. So, it’s not just for seasoned Christians. 
  4. My hunger for the scriptures have increased. 

I give you this personal testimony, in hopes that it will strengthen you and encourage you, and break any lies, or discouragements you may believe about fasting.

My friends in the ministry who have been participating in this fast have experienced intense warfare, but they are winning the battles! God is true to keep his promises. Let’s look at what Isaiah 58 says will happen when we fast (I know we’ve already looked at this in an earlier day, but today we will use a different focus. Write down what the Lord teaches you about this topic in the scriptures.

‘Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter –
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness[a] will go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
    you will cry for help, and he will say: here am I.

‘If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
    with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry
    and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
    and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
    Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

13 ‘If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
    and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
    and the Lord’s holy day honourable,
and if you honour it by not going your own way
    and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
14 then you will find your joy in the Lord,
    and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land
    and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.’
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

Prayer focus:

Go through the passage and make a prayerful proclamation. Declare aloud the promises of God for those who fast! Allow his Spirit to work mightily in you! My prayers are in the italics in the scripture.

Father, I worship you, today. You are merciful. You care for the low in spirit. You care for those who are hurting and for the oppressed. You choose for my fast to break chains and untie hands and free slaves.

You say, ‘Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?

I ask that you will do this very thing with my fast. I pray that you will direct me to help those in need. I ask that you give feet to my faith. I pray that you will meet my needs and give me my daily bread, that I my share with others. I ask that when I help others that you will be glorified. May I speak boldly of your love and what you have done in Christ.

Father, if there are any chains in my life which bind me, even ones I cannot see, please help me to break them, in Jesus’ name. It says in Romans 6 that we are slaves to who we obey, whether slaves to sin which leads to death, or slaves to God which leads to righteousness. I repent of any sin that I have lived in. Give me strength in my inner being by your Spirit to turn from sin that is so enticing.

Lord, help me to share my food, home and clothing with those in need. I repent of any selfishness or materialism that has prevented me from being a blessing to those around me. Give me opportunity to help the poor, the hurting and the oppressed, in Jesus’ name. Bring me opportunity to be your hands and feet. I live in a wealthy society that has more than it even needs. Please show me exactly where the need is – here and around the world.

Father, open my eyes to see any way that I may have shut out my own flesh and blood. Open the eyes of my heart. Give me revelation from your Spirit to know your heart. Show me how to be a better, more selfless parent, spouse, child or grandchild.

Lord, I pray that my “light will break forth like the dawn,
    and (my) healing will quickly appear;” heal me, Oh, Lord according to your power. (Pray for individuals who are sick to be healed.) I know that Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah’s stripes would heal me. I claim this power of Jesus right now. I thank you for his sacrifice.
Father God, I ask that, because I have obeyed you in faith, because I have lived according to your Word, and because this is all possible through Christ that your righteousness[a] will go before (me),
    and the glory of the Lord will be (my) rear guard.
When I call, and the Lord will answer;
   when I cry for help, and (you) will say: here am I.

I ask that you fill me with faith to believe your truth and your Word. I know that greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world.

Lord, I want to draw closer to you. I want to know your love and to feel your presence. I want to hear from you. Open the eyes of my heart. Open my ears to hear. I offer myself to you as a living sacrifice. Take my hands and my feet to do your work. Fill me with your Holy Spirit and power to shine your light to others. Teach me your ways. Continue to strengthen me in my fast and give me an every increasing closeness and understanding of your love.

In Jesus’ name, amen!

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