FASTING FOR BREAKTHROUGH
· Times of visitation by God’s Spirit are always preceded by preparation.
· The Spirit of God draws people to prepare their hearts so gain maximum benefit. E.g. Exod. 19:10-11 Sanctify the people - Be ready for the third day - visitation.
· “Sanctify” = to set apart, purify, make clean, dedicate before the manifestation of God’s glory was a season of preparation. E.g. Mal.3:1-2 “Behold I send my messenger he shall prepare the way”.
· Before the first coming of the Lord there was a season of preparation.
· “Prepare the way” = call to repentance, confront and turn from sin. E.g. Joel 2:12 “Turn to me now with all your hearts and with fasting and with weeping”.
· Fasting is a powerful spiritual weapon to break open our hearts.
· Some areas of sin and bondage require fasting for breakthrough. E.g. Mt.17:21. This kind comes out only by prayer and by fasting.
2. THE FAST THE LORD HAS CHOSEN
a) What is Fasting?
· Not just missing a meal!
· Purposeful, voluntary abstaining for a season from food, drink, rest or attachments to people or things so that there might be an increased inner focus upon the presence and person of God.
b) 3 Different Kinds of Fast
i) Normal - going without food for a determined period.
ii) Absolute - going without any food or drink (3 days max.)
iii) Partial - going without certain types of food or limited eating.
c) Fasts that God has chosen
i) Loose the bands of wickedness -free self and others from addictions to sin
ii) Undo heavy burdens -solve problems and overcome difficulties
iii) Let the oppressed go free -for soul winning and revival (1 Sam. 7:3)
iv) Break every yoke -conquer mental and emotional problems
v) Bread to the hungry -care for poor and needy (1 Kg.17:16)
vi) Light to break forth -clear perspective, vision, insight (Acts 9:9)
vii) Health spring forth -healing or health (Dan.1:8)
viii) Righteousness go before -Influence on community (Lk.1:15)
ix) Glory of Lord be reward -Presence of God protecting (Esth.4:16)
3. PRACTICAL POINTS ON FASTING
i) Before the Fast
· Make a written commitment in journal or diary.
· Aim - why are you doing this?
· How long are you fasting? Start - Finish? - Duration.
· What fasting from?
· You strengthen your will by stating what you are committed to do.
· You focus your anticipation and build faith in God for an answer.
· You are making a vow of separation to the Lord. (Num.6:7,8)
ii) During the Fast
· Set aside time alone with God above what normally have.
· Pray - this is central to fasting - seeking the presence and power of God.
· Bible - spend time reading, seeking insight.
· Journal - Write down struggles, requests, insights you received about God, purposes, direction or guidance, issues exposed.
· Drink - plenty of water.
iii) What to expect?
· Headaches, weakness, nausea (eat a little), irritability, withdrawal symptoms, increase craving or addiction, bad breath, frequent urination.
· Alertness, spiritual sensitivity, reduction in craving for food.
iv) Breaking the Fast
· Don’t shock the system by overeating or by fatty foods.
· Begin with soup, porridge etc.
· Celebrate and thank the Lord. (Lev.16:32)
v) Violating the Fast
· Fasting is not just about getting answers - how you do it is important.
· Mt.6:16-18 Do it secretly without outward show.
· Num.6:12 - stick to the commitment you have made.
· You violate the fast when you -
a) Fail to do it
b) Break the fast prematurely or “cheat”.
· Violating weakens your faith and personal esteem because of the lack of self discipline.
vi) A key place to start!
· “Loosing the bands of wickedness?”
· Identify “besetting sins” (Heb.12:1)
· What areas of your life are a continual area of compromise and defeat that seem to resist and defy you like a giant.
· Fast for breakthrough!
· N.B. David - Breakthrough 1 Chron. 13
- Restoration of Ark 1 Chron. 14
Do not attempt to answer all the questions
1. The Fast God has chosen:
· Read Is.58:1-7
· What 3 things did Israel do that seemed to be godly? (v2)
· Why are outward actions less important than heart motives to God?
· What complaint did the people make against God? (v3a)
· Have you complained to God when he did not act as you wanted?
· Why do people tend to blame God rather than look at their own attitudes and actions?
· What reasons did God give for refusing to respond to their fasting? (v3b - 4)
· What did God reveal is the right motive for fasting? (v4b)
· How does this compare to Jesus instructions on fasting? (Mt.6:16 - 18)
· What four motives or purposes does God give for fasting in v6?
· Why is it important to have a clear purpose for fasting?
· Are you facing any one of the situations described in v6?
a) Loose bands of wickedness - Free self or others from power of besetting sin
b) Undo heavy burdens - Solve difficult problems
c) Let the oppressed go free - Salvation or deliverance from darkness.
d) Break every yoke - Break the power of mental, emotional, demonic bondage.
· Are you willing to fast as well as pray for breakthrough?
- What commitment will you make to this? Tell others in the group.
· What four practical actions are listed as part of the chosen fast? (v7)
· In what ways are these actions like a fast - purposeful abstaining from things you need or like?
· In what ways does this passage compare to Zech. 7:5 - 10?
· What practical actions did God require in that passage?