Abstaining From Food To Regain Mastery Of The Flesh
We are wise to recognize that food was the enticement the devil used to cause Eve and Adam to sin in the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 2 the Lord God told Adam and Eve that they could eat freely of every tree in the garden of Eden, “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” . God did not tell Adam and Eve to refrain from touching a particular animal or smelling a particular flower or swimming in a certain stream. He told them to refrain from taking a particular fruit into their bodies-one type of fruit out of all the many types He had made available to them.
God had given Adam and Eve authority over all things that He had created-every bird, fish, beast of the field, and over “every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed to you it shall be for meat” . God did not prohibit Adam and Eve from interacting with any part of God’s creation when He commanded them to be fruitful, multiply, replenish the earth, and subdue it-except for this one tree and its fruit. They were not to eat of a particular tree,what God described to them as the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”
Why did God set apart this one tree and its fruit? God was giving Adam and Eve free will and the ability to make choices and decisions. Free will isn’t really free if a person has no choice.
1. Diverted Attention
Reasons God Calls His People To A Fast With Hope
Why do we fast and pray? Yes, Jesus said His disciples would fast, but that isnt always enough of a reason for me to do things. Can you relate?
It took a lot of hard situations pilling up to bring me to my knees. Even at my knees it still took godly mentors to convince me to fast. Then it took years of practicing fasting to learn how to effectively fast and pray for Spiritual Breakthrough.
There are many other reasons to fast but more specifically, they are reasons God calls us His people to fast with hope for breakthrough, healing, and growth!
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Aside From Fasting Ramadan Is A Month Of Prayer
Muslims will devote extra time to prayer, either in community in the mosque or by spending more time on their own in prayer, maybe late at night.
Ramadan becomes a time when Muslims re-commit themselves to what they believe. It is a time when they re-establish that firm bond with their Creator that can only be achieved by prayer. It is, in fact, a time to turn back to Allah.
Ramadan is also the month, beyond all others, of the Quran. It was during the month of Ramadan that the first verses of the Quran were revealed to Prophet Muhammad and in every subsequent Ramadan he recited the whole of the Quran together with the Angel Jibril.
It is in Ramadan, therefore, that Muslims try to recite the whole of the Quran and to learn from its verses.
Fasting in Ramadan helps Muslims to be more aware of others around them. The feeling of hunger is a good way to concentrate the mind. Being constantly hungry or thirsty prompts Muslims to think of those people who are less fortunate than they are.
It is a fact that although most Muslims will break their fast with a special meal , most often in the company of their family and friends, there are others in the world whose hunger will not end with the Call for the Sunset Prayer.
Ramadan helps us remember that many in our world are dying of hunger and thirst while we have plenty to eat and drink.
Ramadan, then, is not a diet lasting the whole month. It is not a punishment for wrongs we may have done.
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Forgiveness Has Led To Freedom
We are thinking about prayer and fasting, but before we get there we have to talk about forgiveness. Choosing to not forgive is one of the biggest roadblocks to a Spiritual breakthrough. I have the t-shirt to prove this one.
The things Ive had to forgive are too numerous to count at this point. Big things and small things . Life has been a crazy ride where I was doing all the right things: praying, Bible study, church attendance, small group participation, tithing, serving and so much more. All the while, every time I turn around God is refining me through trials.
Can I just tell you in all honesty that with each trial I plunged deeper into bitterness? It wasnt until I learned to forgive that God began to set me free. In that freedom, Ive seen so many answers to prayer. Not that the trials have stopped, but there is joy in Gods presence no regardless of the hardship!
Id love to share that story with you.
Our Modern Worship Services
Our ability to worship is developed through application. In other words, we learn to worship by worshiping . The problem is, most of us have not been taught exactly how to worship. Sadly, the motivation for most Christians to worship, especially in church, is so that we might have an enjoyable experience, not necessarily to honor and please God. Our cultural context has defined our worship services. They are simply an hour where we study the Bible and sharpen our discipleship rather than bringing us face to face with God. In other words, modern worship has become horizontal rather than vertical, and typically is made up of ritual without relationship.
Unfortunately, the music in many of our church services is what determines how effective the worship is. This is not at all what the Word of God says. The Bible tells us that worship is not just to engage the audience, but to have them change as a result of it. Consequently, worship that is directed toward entertaining the congregation is not Scriptural worship but simply a form of pleasure and gratification.
As a result, many of us dont have a heart thirsty for more of God, nor do we know how to express our love to Him. We talk about worshiping God, we exhort others to do it and we sing worship songs, but how many of us really personally worship Him? Most of us dont have the faintest idea of how to worship, let alone when to worship.
Our true relationship with God is expressed and shown in our worship of Him!
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Things To Expect In A Time Of Fasting With God
What are the things youve been praying about for a long time without answer? The salvation of a sibling and spouse, a direction in life, being able to have babies, Unity in your Church and a spirit of Support Those are things from my list. Fasting is a way to Pray harder to draw near to the heart of God in humility seeking Him for help. If you are taking on that Challenge with me, there are some things you can Expect in a Time of Fasting with God.
Psalm 69:10 When I wept in my soul with fasting, It became my reproach.
Be sure to go back to the beginning of the series and see:
Today we will look at What to Expect Before, During and After a Time of Fasting with God
In the midst of those dry seasons where youve been asking but not hearing from God Its easy to give into Anxiety. Ive struggled with Anxiety for years and these are 40 of my Favorite Scriptures to Read and Journal Through. Id love to give them to you today!
Effects Of The New Covenant
Another important passage for the meaning of Christian fasting is Matthew 9:1417. Jesus compares the old, pre-Christian fasting to old wineskins and the fasting that his disciples will be doing as new wine that wont fit into the old wineskins. It blows them up. In other words, there is something new about Christian fasting that sets it apart from Old Testament fasting. They are not the same thing. Here is what he says:
Then the disciples of John came to him , saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast? And Jesus said to them, Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.
Jesus says that his disciples are not fasting while he is with them. He is the Bridegroom present. We dont fast when the Bridegroom is present. When he is gone away, he says , then the disciples will fast.
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Here Is Our Collection Of Other Advice And Tips For The Christian Take A Look:
I am fasting to ask God for help in a trial I am going through. I am a NYC Corrections officer and have been for almost 10 years. I was recently placed on modified duty due to allegations made against me. I also helped people out whereas the Dept is saying I went against the rules. I am not perfect and have been a sinner up until this point but life is showing me I cant make it without God. I am trying to reconnect with my Savior and ask him for his help in this time where my faith will be as strong as ever and I can show God my heart and he can guide me and take me through this storm to victory in his name!!!! Amen!!!!
- JamesMay 19, 2018 at 6:55 pm
For me, fasting is a training exercise conducted to instill strength and discipline in my life, not so different from any training exercise an Olympic athlete would use to prepare him/herself for the Olympic games. I get this idea from The Apostle Paul, who urges his apprentice Timothy to train for godliness the same way athletes train for competition, regularly and vigorously, in order to become a high-level spiritual athlete in the game of life. So as a boxer hits the heavy bag and a soccer player does sprints and as a gymnast stretches all for the sake of conditioning, so I fast to condition not my body but my spirit. I beat my body into submission for the sole purpose of becoming spiritually stronger, because if I cant overcome a donut how can I possibly hope to overcome a demon?
Biblical Reasons To Fast
The Bible is full of Scriptural references on fasting. Many times, the Bible is clear that it enhances our faith. We see strong Biblical characters who participated in the act of fasting. It is also made known to the followers of Jesus, that there is a reward for those who fast with a humble heart before the Lord. Let us look at why Biblical characters fast, how it strengthens Gods people, and how Jesus is heavily involved in fasting throughout the Bible.
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The Benefits Of Fasting
While the physical impact of fasting is real, the spiritual benefits of fasting are undeniable. Any fast undertaken must be done with spiritual wholeheartedness and wisdom when dealing with our physical body we must count the cost honestly and honor the temple of the Holy Spirit. Whether we are partaking or abstaining, everything should be for the glory of God.
Why Do We Fast
The Bible gives examples of God’s people occasionally combining fasting with their prayers so as to stir up their zeal and renew their dedication and commitment to Him. King David wrote that he “humbled self with fasting” . Fasting is a means of getting our minds back on the reality that we are not self-sufficient. Fasting helps us realize just how fragile we are and how much we depend on things beyond ourselves.
The Bible records that great men of faith such as Moses, Elijah, Daniel, Paul and Jesus Himself fasted so that they might draw closer to God . Jesus knew that His true disciples, once He was no longer there in the flesh with them, at times would need to fast to regain and renew their zeal to serve Him .
James tells us, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” . Constant prayer and occasional fasting help us to do this.
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How To Make Your Spiritual Experience The Best It Can Be
Receiving Gods best blessing from a fast requires solid commitment. Arranging special time each day with God is absolutely crucial in attaining intimate communion with the Father. You must devote yourself to seeking Gods face, even during those times in which you feel weak, vulnerable, or irritable. Read His Word and pray during what were mealtimes. Meditate on Him when you awake in the night. Sing praises to Him whenever you please. Focus on your Heavenly Father and make every act one of praise and worship. God will enable you to experience His command to pray without ceasing as you seek His presence.
As you enter this time of heightened spiritual devotion, be aware that Satan will do everything he can to pull you away from your prayer and Bible reading time. When you feel the enemy trying to discourage you, immediately go to God in prayer and ask Him to strengthen your resolve in the face of difficulties and temptations.
The enemy makes you a target because he knows that fasting is the most powerful of all Christian disciplines and that God may have something very special to show you as you wait upon Him and seek His face. Satan does not want you to grow in your faith, and will do anything from making you hungry and grumpy to bringing up trouble in your family or at work to stop you. Make prayer your shield against such attacks.
Spiritual Fasting Causes Us To Rely On God
Food is one of the basic needs of life. Physical hunger is not a pleasant experience. It can actually be a difficult trial to endure, but Gods grace rises up in our lives during hard times. When we fast, it forces us to seek God and lean into Him for help and comfort. God meets us powerfully during times we are desperate for Him. Fasting shows God that our hunger for Him surpassed our hunger for anything else.
You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water .
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well .
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Why Do People Fast And Pray
“Fasting and prayer? Didn’t those go out of style decades ago?” The woman who said this to me was a godly woman, a woman who had been in the church all her life, and a woman intent on obeying the Lord. She knew her Bible. She was very serious in her questions.
Yet for some reason, she had concluded — at least subconsciously — that fasting and prayer were no longer intended for believers in today’s world.
The truth is, fasting and prayer are for today! In fact, now more than ever!
The combination of fasting and praying is not a fad or a novelty approach to spiritual discipline. Fasting and praying are not part of a human-engineered method or plan. They are not the means to manipulate a situation or to create a circumstance. Fasting and praying are Bible-based disciplines that are appropriate for all believers of all ages throughout all centuries in all parts of the world.
Through the years, I have learned that many people in the church have never been taught about fasting and prayer, and many have therefore never fasted and prayed. As a result, they don’t know why fasting and praying are important, what the Bible teaches about fasting, or how to fast. To many, fasting sounds like drudgery — or a form of religious works. To others, fasting sounds extremely difficult. People tend to stand in awe at reports of those who have fasted for several weeks. When I hear about such fasts, I no doubt think what they think: If I fasted that long, I’d die! I couldn’t possibly do that!
Fasting Isnt For The Spiritually Elite Its For The Hurting
Fasting is the kale of the spiritual disciplines. We know its good for us, but we dont seek it out on the menu.
A few years ago, I tried the Nike approach to fasting: just do it. I fasted one day a week for three months. Im not telling you this to brag its more of a confession. My aim was to focus on Gods character, to draw near to him through prayer in a dedicated time of sacrifice. But after three months, I didnt feel itd accomplished anything. I wasnt glowing like Moses coming down the mountain I was the worst version of myself, and everyone knew it.
I read one book that said to use hunger pains as a reminder to talk to God. So every time my stomach growled, I prayed that God would make me less miserable. I didnt receive unique, supernatural clarity on the direction of my life, which numbers to play in the lottery, or anything else. If I kept muscling through and built it into a rhythm of discipline, I figured, then it would take root and bear fruit. It didnt.
Outside of knowing I should fast, I realized I couldnt articulate the concept in a tangible way. So, I decided that I needed to start from the drawing board and write a definition. And I determined I first needed to answer when to fast and why to fast.