The Heart of Fasting

"... to fast is to spend more time in His presence. To, in patience, wait upon Him and receive the answers you are seeking."

“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?” Somehow, between Isaiah's instructions and Jesus’ life on earth, the meaning of fasting and prayer had fallen to one of pride and arrogance. Those in the religious practices of the day would deliberately pain their faces to show they were fasting and gain attention. Jesus rebuked this behavior, saying, “Appear not unto men to fast” but “anoint thine head, and wash thy face,” as the fast is meant only to be seen by God in the secret place.

The apostle Paul paints another image of it in 1 Corinthians 10 when speaking of Israel’s wandering in the wilderness. They had been delivered from Egyptian bondage with great signs and miracles and had watched the enemy drown in the Sea they had crossed through on dry land. They had been given Manna, bread from heaven, what Paul calls "spiritual meat," and water from the rock, both symbolic of Christ. For He is the bread of life, broken for us, and living water which never runs dry. Yet despite all they'd seen of the glory of the living God, they began to grumble and complain — whine — for the leeks, onions, and garlic of Egypt.

God called them to seek His face, to walk upright before Him, and follow after the commandments of Old Covenant Law given to Moses. A great future awaited them, their victory in the Promised Land, prophesied for many generations, and the coming of the Messiah, born of their people, the fulfillment of the Law. But instead of focusing on heaven, they were consumed by the lusts of the flesh and the eyes.

Fasting is the setting aside, the lying down of things that distract us from Him.
Food, activities, extraneous things not necessary to the thing God would work in us. Jesus, of course, fasted for 40 days in the wilderness and exited from it filled with the power of the Spirit, which He boldly proclaimed.

Minister Bill Johnson points out Jesus lived a lifestyle of fasting. A man had brought his child to the disciples for deliverance but found they could not cast the demon out. When they asked why, Jesus said, "This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting." Some have misconstrued this comment to refer to the father's unbelief, but unbelief comes out by hearing the Word. Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Instead, as Minister Bill Johnson stated, in that moment, Jesus neither prayed nor fasted. It was continual. He stayed in that place of surrender to His Father to do His will.

This is the heart of fasting and it is to be entered into, not flippantly, for attention, as the Pharisees had, but in submission to the Spirit of God, who will direct you what to fast and how and for how long. There is no set correctness, except in that the reason to fast is to spend more time in His presence. To, in patience, wait upon Him and receive the answers you are seeking and the directions He would give you. It is not simply to skip meals.

God desires our devotion. He asks us to lay all at His feet, our time, our intellect, our successes, and to partake only of Him, to make Him first place, and to rest in the giving up of self in favor of His nearness. Then, having folded ourselves into Him, spiritually, mentally, and physically, there is no more distance between us. No interruption. Where He is, we are. Where we are, He is. And the power of God with the blessing of God will rise to meet us.

Prophet Lana Vawser speaks a recent word from God regarding this time and a need for fasting. Please read it and put it to heart. God desires to move and is asking our complete seeking, our hunger, for it. Give Him your “yes.” There is nothing of more value than Him.


Image by Anna Arzamasova from Pixabay

Suzanne D. Williams, Author