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Do you have a special time of fasting with prayer at the first of the New Year? Fasting is a sacrifice and invitation into a divine privilege to partner with the Holy Spirit into His purposes in our generation.
The beginning of the year is emphasized, in many church circles, as a time to seek the Lord. And if is not then, perhaps you follow more of the liturgical church calendar in the time of Lent, which is a 40-day period that leads up to Resurrection Day or Easter. Or some follow the Hebrew Calendar of add fasting around the Jewish High Holy Days. Some believers do so on a regular disciplined manner every week.
“Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord” (Joel 1:14 NIV).
There is important phrase that needs noted here at the beginning, “Declare a holy fast.” That phrase might only be used in that one place in the whole Bible.
Some people are well seasoned in this spiritual dimension of revival and prayer and fasting, spiritual warfare and the like, while some are new to these dimensions. So let’s push aside familiarity, as we look at some principles from the Word of God, from history and from my own life so we can be equipped. If we can get hold of that revelation, then the spiritual disciplines move into a different arena where they more than only a sacrifice.
It’s a Privilege to Sacrifice
Fasting is one of our spiritual privileges. Yes, it is a sacrifice, but it so much more than that. It is an invitation from God into a divine privilege or opportunity to partner with the Holy Spirit into His purposes in our generation. So declare a holy fast and call a sacred assembly.
So what is fasting? “Fasting is a deliberate act of turning away from food and or other personal appetites for spiritual purposes, especially so that we can focus our attention on God.” This is a very simple definition for this multifaceted subject. Now the nature of fasting… fasting does release power, or a display of God’s blessings. Now, there is not one particular verse in the bible that that says, “sacrifice releases power”. You cannot find it.
When I first started hearing that phrase years ago, I kind of scratched my head and I went like, “now wait a second.” There’s no Bible verse that says that. And then I thought it through and I searched through the Scriptures all over again and through church history and I found this principle throughout the Bible. Sacrifice does release another level of authority, another level of supernatural intervention, another level of blessing by partnering in another level with God.
A Principle from the Old and New Testaments
I personally consider periodic fasting essential, but not necessarily always abstaining only from food. Fasting can also include choosing to forego, for example, complaining, gossip, social media, other negative traits and distractions. I’ve gone on a fast from negativity, which take it from me can be harder than fasting from food. I believe that fasting from whatever is a hindrance in your life is a sacrifice for God, for spiritual benefit.
Well, what’s the purpose of fasting? Fasting is designed to discipline the body and quiet the soul so that we can hear God more clearly. The Scriptures show us that prayer and fasting are linked together. They’re hinged together. Fasting does not buy us anything from God. It rather aligns us with His will, His Word, His purposes and His ways. That’s briefly a part of the purpose of fasting. Well, when to fast, when to fast?
So When Do I Fast?
I offer the following times and circumstances on when we should fast, when the Holy Spirit leads us to do so.
When we personally sense the need.
When the church’s body or ministry is calling us to fast.
When the national leadership calls a special time of fasting.
When we hear a heavenly trumpet sound calling a fast.
14 Blessings From Fasting
Well what are some of the blessings? You will want to read Isaiah 58:6-12, which we will not take the time in this one article. It will present many blessings that we will receive by what is called God’s chosen Fast. Wow, God’s chosen fast. Again, fasting is more than just abstaining from food. It is aligning ourselves with God’s heart and his will and his purposes in our generation.
Isaiah 58:6 states, “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen, to loose the chains of injustice and to untie the chords of the yoke and to set the oppressed free and to break every yoke.” In that one statement you find the purpose of fasting, how to fast, and that it’s a blessing. You will find 14 distinct blessings that come from fasting. They are both practical, natural and supernatural.
Here are bullet points on blessings from fasting found from Isaiah 58:6-12:
- Loosens the chains of injustice
- Sets the oppressed free
- Breaks yolks of bondage
- Promotes sharing
- Provides for the needy
- Brings healing
- Springs fourth righteousness
- Brings God’s glory to protect you
- Assures that God will answer your calls for help
- Encourages living righteously and even benevolent
- The Lord God will guide you and satisfy your needs
- Strengthens your body
- Causes you to be fruitful and productive
- Launches you into a ministry of reconciliation
3 Prophetic Keys of Encouragement
I want to encourage you with these three prophetic keys.
Sacrifice Releases Supernatural Power.
Remember Jesus’ interaction with His disciples? And He said this kind does not come out except with prayer and fasting. There’s some things that don’t budge until you add that dimension of consecration of a holy fast. It’s another level of partnering with God. And He gives grace to the humble. Yes, He really does. First declaration or thing I want to declare is my theme is sacrifice releases supernatural power.
God Gives Grace for your Next Assignment.
So if He is going to call you to fast two days a week, He will give you grace for it. He really will. He will give you grace for your next assignment. You can quote me on that. Get into alignment with God’s will and you will be in alignment with God’s grace!
Add the Lord’s Supper to your time of Prayer and Fasting.
There is power in the Lord’s Supper. By taking communion, the Lord’s Supper, along with your prayer and fasting, you are honoring the power of the blood. By taking communion on a daily basis, while you are on your assignment, you will be enacting and enforcing the victory of Calvary. Those are my three prophetic points I wanted to give to you.
Now in closing, I want to quote from the late Dereck Prince, the noted Bible teacher of teachers in the charismatic movement. Dereck Prince said this, “Today God is speaking once again through His messengers and by His Holy Spirit to cities into nations. He is calling to repentance, to fasting, to self-humbling. Those who obey will receive the visitation of His mercy. And those who reject will receive the visitation of His wrath as Israel did.”
Let us be aware that we do not allow our familiarity with this message to keep us from acknowledging its urgency. Let us be encouraged as we remove the familiarity so that we can respond in obedience to the word, the will and the ways of God in Jesus’ name.
Dr. James W. Goll is the founder of God Encounters Ministries. He is an international bestselling author, a certified Life Language Coach, an adviser to leaders and ministries and a recording artist. James has traveled around the world ministering in more than 50 nations sharing the love of Jesus, imparting the power of intercession, prophetic ministry and life in the Spirit. He has recorded numerous classes with corresponding curriculum kits and is the author of more than 50 books, including “The Seer,” “The Prophet,” “The Discerner,” “The Lost Art of Intercession and Praying with God’s Heart.” James is also the founder of GOLL Ideation LLC, where creativity, consulting and leadership training come together.