http://www.thebiblestudypage.com/fast.shtml Great Doctrines of The Bible Great Doctrines of The Bible was taught by Dr. James Modlish FASTING (Matt. 16-18) "Moreover, when ye fast...when thou fastest..." To most twentieth century Christians fasting seems strange, because for nearly a century and a half fasting has been considered a spiritual exercise to be practiced by only those thought to be "extreme" and "fanatical." However, fasting is a scriptural truth, even though it has been dormant and not traditionally practiced. After New Testament days as spirituality waned and worldliness flourished, the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit were not used or withdrawn, many of the early spiritual practices of the early church were soon forgotten. Today, we are experiencing a recovering of some of the lost 'secrets' of the early church and the power that is let loose through true Biblical revival. Fasting is included in this recover of New Testaments channel of power. We shout be open to receive and willing to obey fresh light from God, and so grow in the knowledge the Word and truth. Fasting is a God-appointed means for the flowing of His grace and power that we can afford to neglect no longer. With the recovering of scriptural truth (in regards to fasting) there are two dangers to avoid: . To give fasting an importance out of proportion to Scriptural teaching, to exaggerate and overemphasize it. . To resist with misgivings and inhibitions concerning something "new" because it seems different to our traditional attitude and prejudices (I Cor. 4:6). Fasting is important even though it is a major Bible doctrine. It is not a not a foundational stone of the faith, nor is it a "cure-all" for all spiritual ills. But, it is an exercise for Christians today. However, when exercised with a pure heart and a right motive fasting may: . Provide a key to unlock doors where other keys have not. . Provide a window opening up new horizons of spiritual experiences. . Provide a spiritual weapon from God for the struggle with sin. I. WHAT IS FASTING? - (Isa. 58:6; Matt. 4:2) Fasting is the spiritual exercise of practicing self-discipline (the denial of food, and/or things and persons); and the exercise of the heart before God in order to minister to and to glorify God. It is done unto God, at His choosing and leading, to wait upon Him for His unmerited grace. It is to be God-initiated, like a burden is placed on us by the Holy Spirit for praying. II. WHEN...NOT IF - (Matt. 6:16-18) Jesus taught His disciples to fast. He warned about practicing our giving, praying, and fasting before men for their praise (Matt. 6:1-18). He did not say "If you fast", but "when you fast". He left no doubt that His disciples would obey the leading of the Spirit in this exercise. Jesus mentions fasting as a separate exercise distinct from praying. Fasting and praying are often linked in Scripture, and in experience; but they do not always have to go together. There may be times of praying without fasting, and times of fasting without unusual praying. It may not be possible to give oneself to prayer for the whole time of fasting. III. REASON FOR FASTING - (Zech. 7:5; Acts 13:2) We are to inquire of God whether He would not have us separate ourselves unto Him in fasting, and for these reasons: . For personal consecration - (Psa. 69:10; Matt. 5:4; Acts 13:3; 14:23) . To be heard on high - (Jer. 29:13,14; Ezra 8:23; Jn. 4:8,31-34) . To change God's mind - (II Sam. 12:16,22; Jonah 3:5,10) . To free and deliver the captives - (Isa. 49:24; 58:6) . For revelation, understanding, wisdom - (Dan. 9:2,3,21,22; II Cor. 11:27; Acts 27:21-24) . For enduement of power, for spiritual gifts . To buffet the body - (I Cor. 9:27; 6:13 20; Rom. 13:14) . For physical health and healing - (I Sam. 30:11-15; Psa. 35:13; III John 2) In fasting we deny the physical for the spiritual; and may overcome physical drive and habits and temptations; we are release from the grip of sin, our mind is more alert to God, and God will hear us. However, a right act done with the wrong attitude is not acceptable to God. Jesus warned not to be like the Pharisees (in giving, praying, fasting) with a show of piety, self-seeking, and desiring the applause of men. IV. THREE BIBLICAL FORMS - . Normal or regular fast - (Matt. 4:2 Luke 4:2) The abstaining from all forms of food, but not water or sleep. Can be at regular intervals, one day a week, or longer; or for a period of time at regular intervals. . Absolute Fast - (Acts 9:9) The abstaining from drink as wells as eating (usually no longer than three days). The body needs water more than it needs food. . Partial fast - (Dan. 1:5; 19:3) The restriction of diet, not to be defiled by rich food or drink (as three Hebrew children, sacrifices used to pagan gods). Many variations in regards to time, food, circumstances. V. HOW TO BEGIN - (Right motive, God leading, not personal gain) As you approach fasting ask yourself these questions: . Am I confident that this desire to fast is God-given? "Jesus was led up by the Spirit to the wilderness..." . Are my motives right? "Your Father who sees in secret will reward you." (You will find, as though it were Heaven's afterthought, that God who sees the heart, will reward and bless openly.) . What are my spiritual objectives in fasting? Personal consecrations? Divine guidance? Intercession? (What burdens?) Fullness of spirit (for self, other)? To loose the captives? (Win souls? Release Christians?) To bring revival? . Are my objectives self-centered? Is my concern genuinely for others? . Am I determined above all else to minister to the Lord? "They were worshipping the Lord and fasting." . Fasting is not advisable: In cases of serious undernourishment, underweight By expectant mothers By diabetes patients using insulin. If you have never fasted before, do not start off with a forty day fast unless you are very sure that God has called you to do it. Perhaps, start with a partial fast, or a normal fast one day, no more than three. Then, you will be ready for God to call you to a longer fast. It may prove that your time of fast will be as was for Jesus, a time of conflict and struggle with Satan's forces of evil. Discouragement can come, guard against it. Put on all of the armour of (Eph. 6). When the going is harder - that is wrestling, heavenly warfare - you have the weapons to win!!!