FROM THE MEDITATIONAL & PRAYER HEART OF PASTOR SCHUTT:
Why is it that we need to fill 2020 with prayer and fasting?
What is so significant about the doctrine of prayer and fasting?
Is this something that will revolutionize my life, my home, and my country? YES!!!
I have spoke with many Christians and preachers at length and in-depth regarding this matter of prayer and fasting. Here is my personal conclusion of the totality of most Christians: They believe in it and realize it has great power with God and offers great presence with God, BUT…
- It is just not practical in this day and age.
- Our American culture does not permit it.
- You will lack practical relationships in ministry.
- It is personal so we don’t talk about it. (fyi… if you don’t talk about it, there is less conviction from the Spirit to do it.)
- It is Old Testament practice.
- We don’t need it because Jesus (the Bridegroom) has come and He has sent His Spirit to empower us.
- We don’t want to teach it or preach it, because it might harm someone’s health. (actually, truth be told, some leaders don’t teach or preach it because they don’t want to offend or lose students/members from their classes/congregations.)
- And the list could go on and on and on.
Permit me a few paragraphs in this post to debunk several reasons why a Christian shouldn’t pray and fast or shouldn’t teach it… or better yet shouldn’t plan to or shouldn’t plan for an entire church to pray and have an extended fast… just let God do it?! The lack of teaching on fasting, the lack of knowledge on this doctrine from the pulpit to the pews is absolutely paralyzing the power of the kingdom of God especially in America! I am entirely convinced that we have Laodicean churches, pastors, and church members because we do not regularly fast the way God has Biblically set forth in the Bible.
As it has been said, “Christianity is prevalent, but not powerful”. My friend, this is so very true! We are building new buildings, obtaining the latest and greatest techy stuff, have activities, youth camps, Bible conferences, and etc, but some are lacking great power to awaken a community unto Christ! This is what God has called me to do! This is what I eat, breath, drink, and sleep… a great awakening in York County unto Jesus Christ, in the state of PA, in America, and even the world! You may be thinking right now… “Pastor Schutt, how is this possible?” I will quote Jesus for the answer… “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” Matthew 17:21
Permit me by the Spirit of God to wet your appetite (no pun intended) to pray and fast in order to experience God on a deeper level. Is it possible that we have SS teachers who study and teach with little power. Oh, you might be a functional teacher, but you lack the supreme soul penetrating power of Almighty God! You might be a bus captain, oh my brother, you may visit all day Saturday till the sun comes up on Sunday and run your route, pack your bus, have great promotions, and know all the children by name… BUT if you do not Biblically pray and fast you are missing the grandest source of power available to you on planet Earth. This is the IMPOSSIBLE KIND! We can see a great move of God, a revival like no other, and an awakening to the like none of our forefathers have ever seen. I am not being critical of our efforts of service for Christ, actually, I think we could do more for God. But my goal in this post is to point out how much we are missing and to help us see how much more can be accomplished by less of our physical efforts and more effort put into prayer and fasting! I love what one preacher has said, “God can do more in a moment than we can do in a lifetime.”
HERE WE GO… Practical Teaching on Fasting:
3 TYPES OF FASTS FOUND IN SCRIPTURE ARE:
- Absolute fast – No food and no liquids (Esther 4:16 - Esther and Jews, Exodus 34:28 - Moses)
- Normal fast – No food and liquids - many just do water and/or juices (1 Kings 19:8 - Elijah, 1 Kings 21:27 - King Ahab, 2 Chron 20:3 - King Jehoshaphat & Judah, Acts 13:3 - church in Antioch)
- Partial fast – This is 2 fold: (Daniel 10:3 - Daniel)
- Part of the day (skipping 2 meals to pray)
- Only certain foods, such as, only fruits and vegetables. Many will call this the Daniel fast.
THE DURATION OF THE FAST MAY VARY:
- There are significant numbers in regards to fasting that we find in the Bible, which include 3,7,21, and 40.
- There are also references to half-day fasts and 24 hour fasts.
- There is no formula to help determine which type of fast or length of fast is right for you.
- The length of time that you choose to fast should depend on your circumstances, but don’t get bogged down in the details. You should be led of the Spirit into a fast and how long to fast.
- You would be surprised what a ½ day or 1 day normal fast will do for you life.
- Do not bite off more than you can chew. Don’t start off your first time to fast with a 40 day fast.
- Just start somewhere. Once you begin and discover how sweet it is you will be on your way to fasting as a regular discipline.
- To many people, a 1 day or 3 day fast is very practical.
- A “Daniel Fast” or a type partial fast is eliminating meat, bread, and sweets for 21 days, is a fast just about anyone can handle as well. Daniel 10:3
- If it means something to you, it will mean something to God.
- If fasting is not combined with prayer and the Word, fasting is no more than just dieting.
REALIZE: Fasting itself is a continual prayer before God.
- There may be days when heaven opens and your heart is prompted to deep times of prayer.
- But there may be other days when your energy is sapped and you just cannot seem to focus in prayer at all. Don’t condemn yourself. God sees your sacrifice.
- When you are fasting it is not the time to surf the web, be on social media, play with your phone/tablet/laptop, or sit in front of the TV. The time is to be isolated with God in prayer and the Word.
THE FEAST IN THE FAST:
Ps 34:8 O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
Once you get a taste, you want more. Your hunger gets deeper and you start to get a spiritual feast during your physical fast.
When you hunger for God, He will fill you!
Jesus went through cities where He could do no miracles – because there was no hunger! Matthew 8:5-10 – Jesus was saying I’m just looking for someone who wants it and believes it.
- Someone has to say, “Lord, I want more! Lord, I am hungry! I’m going to have to push religion aside. I’m starving to death. I can’t do church as usual!"
THE POWER OF A PARTIAL FAST:
- Daniel 10
- Da 10:2-3 "In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled."
- Here we see the "Daniel fast" or a partial fast.
- What is amazing about this fast is when Daniel began the fast God had dispatched the angel Gabriel from heaven to give Daniel the revelation. But notice what happened to Gabriel on his way to Daniel: Daniel 10:12 "Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.
13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.
14 Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days."
- This is absolutely mind blowing to me! God allows Daniel to understand the spiritual warfare between the kingdoms of God and Satan. That when Daniel began to fast Satan started to fight Gabriel because of a child of God fasting. This spiritual warfare has been going on for 21 days... finally reinforcements show up... the angel Michael shows up to allow Gabriel to see Daniel. This type of warfare has not diminished since the days of Daniel. Oh no, as a matter of fact, it has intensified and is waxing worse and worse as the day of the Lord is at hand!
- Notice this was not revealed to Daniel until after 21 days. Through prayer and fasting, God does pull back the spiritual curtain to permit us to see and feel and hear of the spiritual warfare between angels and spirits that we can never know except for this encounter with God in prayer and fasting. We can conquer the kingdom of darkness by tapping into the kingdom of Light through prayer and fasting.
THE POWER OF A NORMAL FAST:
To me, this is one of the most powerful passages on fasting:
Isaiah 58:3 Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours.
4 Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.
5 Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?
6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
- Through Biblical fasting... not for strife or debate... in other words, to say, "I believe I am right on a doctrine because I prayed and fasted about it." This is the wrong reason to fast. God does not want us to brag or boast about our fast. vs. 4 We are to afflict our soul (self deprivation) and to humble ourselves vs.5.
- Notice the result of this fast: to loose the bands of wickedness - the addictions that are killing us right now... we can have victory! To undo heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke - sound like God wants us to experience His power, His peace, His victory in every area of our lives. This is done through fasting. I can attest to this! It is amazing to see God revolutionize lives.
- Here is Jesus fasting: Matthew 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.If Jesus did not begin to minister before fasting, how can we?
- If our Lord fasted do you not think that we should not fast?
- There is no record of Jesus healing anyone until He returned from the 40 days of fasting that launched His earthly ministry.
- Jesus said we would do even “greater works than He had done”
- Throughout the history of the Christian church, God has raised up men and women who were willing to dedicate their lives to Him and diligently seek Him through fasting and prayer.
- Long seasons of fasting are credited for launching great awakenings in our country. David Brainerd to the American Indians. Charles and John Wesley.
THE POWER OF AN ABSOLUTE FAST:
- Esther 4:15 Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer, 16 Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish. 17 So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him.
- Exodus 34:27 And the LORD said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel. 28 ¶ And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.
- Deuteronomy 9:18 And I fell down before the LORD, as at the first, forty days and forty nights: I did neither eat bread, nor drink water, because of all your sins which ye sinned, in doing wickedly in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.
- Jonah 3:7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: 8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. 9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?
- Esther: The King had decreed for all the Jews to be killed. The children of Israel would be destroyed, as a result, this would have destroyed the lineage of Christ. But Esther understands the power of God through prayer and fasting and declares an absolute fast for all the Jews for 3 days.
- As a result, God grants favor and victory to Esther and the Jews and all are saved from destruction!
- Do we believe that God can save nations through prayer and fasting? I believe we can see America overhauled if God's people pray and fast corporately. As did the Jews as a nation band together in prayer and fasting, we as a church must band together in prayer and fasting in order to reach our nation.
- OH, WHAT A GOD!
- In the case of Esther and Jonah the people were facing death. This was a life or death type of fast. They surrendered all to get all of God on their lives for deliverance. The more desperate we are the more we will willingly surrender to obtain His presence, protection, and provision!
- FASTING WITH PRAYER SEEMS TO OPEN A DIFFERENT FREQUENCY IN GOD’S EAR!
- Esther sees the Jewish nation delivered and spared.
- Moses receives instruction for God’s people that will change the course of history for the entire world.
- We need to learn to trust the reliability of Scripture when things get crazy!
- Understand that when you fast, you are not “twisting” God’s arm. You are not going to make God do anything He does not want to do.
- Rather, you are actually positioning yourself and preparing your heart for what is to come.
- In both of these fasts the entire nation was affected!
- Are we desperate?
MORE SCRIPTURES ON FASTING:
- Psalms 35:13 But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom. 14 I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother.
- Matthew 6:16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;
18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
- NOTICE: IT SAYS... "WHEN YE FAST... NOT IF YE FAST"
- Matthew 9:15 And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.
- NOTICE: Christ has commanded us to fast after he has been taken from the earth. FYI. that means us, the church, as the bride must be fasting for the Bridegroom's return.
- Acts 13:3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
- Certain leaders of the church in Antioch fasted and prayed before sending Paul & Barnabas away.
- 2 Corinthians 11:27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
- The Apostle Paul gives a statement here that he fasted often... as if it was a regular discipline of his.
Anytime you fast, it is a hunger-strike against hell. Fasting is an extreme in-your-face statement to the devil – that same deceiver who used food to tempt Adam and Eve to sin.