Fasting – why bother?

Is it expected by Jesus that we should fast? Is it a requirement for His church to ‘fast?’ If so, why should we fast? Why does Jesus in Mark 2:19-20, say this in response to a question of why His disciples were not fasting: – 19 Jesus replied, “Do wedding guests fast while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. They can’t fast while the groom is with them. 20 But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.” He says – “then they will fast”. He expects us to fast. Jesus (the Groom) is not here – we ARE the wedding guests!

In these days we live, there are many saying that “fasting is not necessary – that our prayers are sufficient, he knows our hearts, we have ALL we have and the power in us, in having authority over satan”. HHmmm. Really? This is the popular ‘prosperity’ message where following Jesus is ALL about the NOW and what Jesus can give you today, in terms of health, wealth and prosperity! When you know the MAN, you know that this is not what He has called and saved you for! Far from it!

Fasting ‘humbles’ oneself’ and fasting is learning that we NEED HIM! Jesus says in His first Beatitude – “Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs IS THE KINGDOM OF GOD”. In our walk with Jesus, He wants to guide us by HIs Spirit and teach us How to Hear from the Spirit. It is by fasting, that we can receive greater revelation and instruction from God. In these moments that God speaks through His Word and prophecy and because of our obedience ‘to fast’, we recognise that the miracle or answer to prayer was ALL HIM. He is jealous for His Name and that He receives ALL the glory due.

We see this in the story of King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles chapter 20. Judah is surrounded by its enemies and King Jehoshaphat calls a Fast for the nation to seek God! All the nation fasted and prayed! In this most dire moment King Jehoshaphat prayed – “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You.” Indeed. As Jesus said, we will fast especially when moments come in our lives when we have no answer to our situation. Fasting means we seek Him and a deeper level of putting ‘our eyes on Him’.

During the ‘fast’, the word of the Lord came by prophecy to ‘Jahaziel’ whom said that the “Battle is the Lord’s and you will not need to fight” (2 Chronicles 20:17) In response to this Word, the King and the people bowed in worship and the people raised their voices in praise. The Lord instructed the people to face their enemies next day and not to be afraid but go praising and watch the Lord deliver His people.

Fasting is a powerful weapon in our arsenal. We are saying to our enemy, our problem and situation – “ok, I cannot solve this, I cannot win this battle in my strength, but I am inviting God Almighty into this situation”.

“Lord Jesus – we invite you into this situation, we are your church, we are your people, and we look to you. We draw close to you – draw close to us and speak to us, guide us and may we know your presence closer than ever”. Amen.