It has been a great to joy to sit back and watch how God has used Katie to take over most of the encouragement this year. With what God is speaking now, I felt it necessary to share this encouragement that will help propel you to the next level in your relationship with God.
Are you in a place of weary waiting? Have you stood on the promises of God and cried out for so long and nothing seems to happen? Do you desire a change of circumstances? Are you desperate for doors to be opened? Are you hungry for new power to be released?
Do you desire to be propelled to the next level?!?!
Many may not receive this as a word of encouragement. Most will ignore it and continue in the same old way of life. Some will accept it as truth, but few will take this word of encouragement and put it into practice and be powerfully propelled into new levels with the Lord.
The principle I am going to speak of was followed by every major player in both the Old and New Testament. Moses, David, Elisha, Peter, Paul, John and so many more all followed this principle and were propelled into new levels of power when they did. It seems strange in knowing all this that anyone who truly follows Christ would be unwilling to participate in this practice. It is never easy for any of us to deny our flesh and follow in the footsteps of Christ. However, obedience will rocket us into the exponential increase that we all desire.
For those who truly desire to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, let us hear what He has to say about this great power available for all who partake in it.
Matthew 6:16 “…when you fast…”
What did He say? Is that in red? Did Jesus actually say the “F” word? Why didn’t He say “IF you fast”? Isn’t fasting just an option for true extremists?
How many of you have been in church for years and never heard anything about fasting? Obviously, this verse must be taken out of context or some obscure part that no one ever reads. I am sorry to say that this is right in the middle of probably the most famous sermon of all time “The Sermon on the Mount”. From this discourse we get, “The Beatitudes”, “The Lord’s Prayer”, “Love your enemies”, and many of the other more famous words of Jesus.
You can read the context for yourself in Matthew 6, but here is a quick refresher.
Matthew 6:3-4 “But when you give, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your giving may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.”
“When you give” is a passage that probably comes up regularly during offering time in the church. Here, the Father rewards the giving that is done out of a right heart. Nobody would deny these words of Jesus as being essential to growth in the Lord.
Matthew 6:6 “…when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”
Here is another widely known passage that is followed by the Model Prayer. Everyone would affirm that it is necessary to pray and learn how to pray more and better to proceed in your walk with God. The Father who sees these prayers will reward you for the time spent praying and crying out to Him.
The passage from Matthew 6:16-18 continues in the same parallel repeating twice, “…when you fast…”. The thought is completed as verse 18 ends “your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”
Surely Jesus would not put fasting on the same level as giving and praying in the essential steps to being propelled into the next level in The Kingdom. Whenever I bring up this topic, people groan and look at me like some sort of alien. “I like food too much”, or “that is too hard,” or “you are crazy”, are some of the common responses that I have received just by bringing up one or two verses as I have mentioned above. I encourage you to study fasting throughout the New and Old Testament and see the great men that walked it out and what they gained as a lifestyle of fasting with prayer out of a right heart.
If nothing else, Jesus Himself left us the perfect example. After Jesus’ baptism in Matthew 3, He was led by The Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. This was the time of testing that would prove who Jesus really was. What did Jesus do to prepare and continue to stand strong in the midst of the greatest onslaught of the enemy? At the beginning of Matthew 4, we see plainly that Jesus fasted forty days. He gave up the worldly way of gaining strength and power and took up the spiritual empowerment of fasting and prayer. Because of this, He was ready for all the enemy had to throw at Him.
Later in Matthew 17:20-21, prayer and fasting come up again as a dynamite combination that allows the impossible to be accomplished through your life. So many of us want a secret formula that will help us overcome the enemy, or the secret weapon that will destroy the enemies’ hold on our lives. Here it is:
“I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
If you need more incentive here are just some of the benefits of fasting and praying with the right heart:
- Corporate Freedom (The Salvation of a City) – Jonah 3:1-10
Here an entire city, over 120,000 are saved because of repentance, fasting and prayer
2. The Healing of the Land – 2 Chronicles 7:13-14
If you study it out, the main outward expression of humbling yourself before God is fasting.
3. To Influence Government and Save a People – Esther 4:16-17
Esther, Mordecai, and the Jewish people fasted and prayed and God brought deliverance.
4. Personal Freedom and Breakthrough – Isaiah 58
This is probably the best place to view many of the numerous blessings of fasting and prayer out of a right heart.
5. Empowerment of the Angelic – Daniel 9:3-4, 20-21
6. Opening of the Eyes to Spiritual Realm – Daniel 10:2-11, Acts 10:30
7. Gaining Understanding – Daniel 9:3-10:12
There are many more benefits and blessings that can be found throughout Scripture if you care to study the topic further.
Before I end, I want to give a few simple definitions of fasting.
Lou Engle states “Fasting and prayer is designed to humble yourself, reveal your flesh, and purify your worship“.
David Hogan says “Fasting is a good way to get hungry“.
A personal definition that I have come up with is giving up a legitimate pleasure as a sacrifice to gain breakthrough and a deepening relationship with the Lord. We do this because we love Jesus, and He is worth it!
I want to encourage you to begin cultivating a lifestyle of prayer and fasting into your Christian walk. Every new level in my personal life has been marked by a new commitment to prayer, fasting, and spending time in The Word.
THIS IS YOUR INVITATION TO INCREASE!!!
From Monday, August 26th – Friday, October 4th God has called me to consecrate a 40 day fast for several reasons not the least of which is Revival and souls for The Kingdom. I encourage you to fast one, two, or all of the three major areas that we are controlled by:
Allow God to lead you into the next level of fasting that you may be propelled into the next level with Him.
A word of advice when fasting food more than three days, please study the right way not only to fast but also to break a fast. Often the world understands the health benefits of fasting better than Christians understand the spiritual benefits. Because of this, there are many websites that can aid in fasting and breaking extended fasts.
If you would like to carry on further study here are the three best books I have found on prayer and fasting;
- The Atomic Power with God thru Fasting and Prayer by Franklin Hall
- Shaping History through Prayer and Fasting by Derek Prince
- The Jesus Fast by Lou Engle
May the Lord truly bless you as you prepare to be propelled into the next level with Him. Always remember:
Hebrews 11:6 “…He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
May you receive the fullness of The Great Rewarder!!!
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!