What is fasting?
Fasting means to abstain from Food. Many leaders in the church have added on new meanings to fasting such as abstaining from television, movies, coffee, etc. That is all fine and good but it is not a substitute for fasting from food that the Bible tells us to do. We are still to fast from food.
When is fasting necessary?
During my study of fasting in the Bible, I have seen a pattern of when people fast. People in the Old and New Testament tend to fast during a time of crisis.
4 And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days; and I fasted and prayed before the God of heaven (Nehemiah 1:4)
This scripture is referring to the fasting of Nehemiah that he began when he found out about the trouble that Jerusalem and the children of Israel were in. The children of Israel that were in captivity were in great affliction, the wall of Jerusalem had been broken down and the gates had been burned.
From this scripture we can see that prayer accompanies fasting. It is not enough just to abstain from food but to also pray during that time. Nehemiah fasted and begin to pray to God for the sins of the Children of Israel. We notice another thing in this scripture. Nehemiah wasn’t fasting for himself directly but for the people of Israel. We not only fast for ourselves but we fast towards wherever we see a crisis.
6 Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hearken unto the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee at this time, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants while I confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee. Yea, I and my father’s house have sinned: 7 we have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses. (Nehemiah 1:6,7)
Nehemiah goes on to call out to the Lord for forgiveness of his sins and the sins of the children of Israel. He immediately recognized that the trouble was a result of their not obeying God’s commandments.
Prayer that we can use during our Fasting
Father, I call unto you, the God of Heaven, who keeps covenants and goodness to those that love you and keep your commandments. I ask for forgivess of my sins, the sins of my family, the sins of my ancestors and the sins of my nation. We have done you great wrong and have disobeyed your commandments. Lord God, hear my prayer and forgive us of our disobedience.