By Jeremiah Model
In the Hebrew language the word for fast is Tziom. This word has one meaning abstaining from food and water for a period of time. Most biblical fasts were approximately one or more days long, all of them had to do with abstinence of food and water.
In modern terminology the word fast has been adopted for juice diets, water only fasts, restricted diets, or abstaining from electronics, etc.
Fasting is mentioned many times in the Bible. I truly believe that it is the authors intention to get his people to understand the dynamics of fasting, when it is done according to his will.
Fasting and prayer when accompanied with the Holy One Blessed Be He. He will break bondages, chains, and the powers of darkness that wage war against you.
Let us take a look at some verses that show us what a true fast looks like and why we are called to fast.
Matthew chapter 6 verses 16 to 18 explains to the followers of Messiah, “Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”
This verse was part of the sermon on the mount when Jesus was giving his followers directions in conjunction with the Kingdom of Heaven.
The word of G-d is the sword, fasting is what sharpens the sword. Fasting in combination with prayer, worship and reading the word of G-d are powerful combinations that create opportunities for breakthroughs. This combination equals the three fold cord spoken of in Ecclesiastes 4 verses 11 to 12. “Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.”
Could it be if you are easily torn that fasting could be that ingredient that is necessary? Fasting is necessary for you to go on to the next spiritual level.
Lets face it, Ephesians 6 explicitly states that we are in a spiritual battle. Fasting is a necessary component and weapon on our side of this war.
Lets take a look at what Jesus said about fasting when it came to deliverance and authority over evil.
Mark chapter 9 verses 28-29 explains a situation that the disciples faced trying to exercise authority over a spirit that had authority over a young boy. “When He came into the house, His disciples began questioning Him privately, “Why could we not drive it out?”And He said to them, “This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer and fasting.”
In other words some of the stubborn adversaries we deal with will not alleviate, will not back away, and will stay with us until we fast and pray with the right heart. Also certain circumstance and situations will stay that same until you begin to fast and pray.
It is also important to note that fasting should not be done without a green light from G-d. Also if you have a chronic illness fasting may not be beneficial. I tend to stay on the side of caution. If you are doing a fast for health benefits alone or fasting for a long period of time be sure to have a physicians acknowledgement. Fasting also should not be done to boast, but should be done in a spirit of humility.
Lets look a few types of fasts that can be applied today. We have absolute or full fasts which consists of no food and water for an extended period of time. This type of fast requires you to rest and not exert yourself.
A great example of this fast is still practiced today by the Orthodox Jewish Community on the holiest holiday of Yom Kippur. The Bibles account of Yom Kippur is described as a day that is dedicated for atonement and abstinence. Leviticus chapter 23:27 tells us that on the 10th day of the month of Tishrei, “You should do no work throughout that day. For it is a Day of Atonement (“Yom Kippurim”) on which expiation is made on your behalf before the Lord your God. Indeed, any person who does not practice self-denial throughout that day shall be cut off from his people…” This is an example of an absolute fast also to note Jesus and all of his disciples observed Yom Kippur so maybe this is a practice that you can follow also.
Next we have a regular fast in which you abstain from food alone. I have done this fast before, a few days on water and the rest on juice. With juices you will still have energy to work and move around, if you get the proper nutrients in you, but still be aware of how your body reacts.
Then we have the partial fast or modified diets. This could be abstaining from pleasurable foods such as meats, dairy or sweets, from an extended period of time. A perfect example of this type of sacrifice is seen in the book of Daniel 10:2-3 says, “At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.” In Daniel 1:12, they restricted their diets to water and vegetables: “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink.”
I did the 21 day Daniel Diet. For me this had amazing health benefits and answered prayers accompanied.
Fasting for repentance and salvation is amazing when done corporately. Let’s take one last look at two books in the Bible one is the book of Esther. The Jews as a nation were once again in history on a verge of a holocaust in Ancient Persia. If it were not for a persistent man named Mordecai to get his niece Queen Esther to do something, the Jews in that region may have been slaughtered. This was Esther’s reply after Mordecai’s insistence.
“Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”
17 So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions. To make a long story short, G-d of Heaven and Earth reversed the plot that was going to be carried out on the Jews to extinguish them and he allowed them to do exactly to their enemies what their enemies had planned to do to them, which was to annihilate them.
Fasting with the Father in Heaven gives us this ability, without fasting one may never know. For more info on fasting I highly recommend Jenson Franklin’s book the Fasting Edge.
May Messiahs light shine upon you. And may his presence lead you into a fast with him.