The Daniel Fast – Part 3
Fasting is a form of worship. The purpose of all worship is to change the worshiper in ways that have social and interpersonal impact. We worship not just to gratify ourselves, but also to become empowered to change the world! (Elmer Towns)
Prayer and fasting is defined as voluntarily going without food in order to focus on prayer and fellowship with God. Prayer and fasting often go hand in hand, but this is not always the case. You can pray without fasting, and fast without prayer. It is when these two activities are combined and dedicated to God’s glory that they reach their full effectiveness.
There are three kinds of Biblical Fasting
- The Normal Fast is going without food for a definite period during which you ingest only clear liquids (water and/or juice). The duration can be 1 day, 3 days, 1 week, 1 month or 40 days.
- The Total Fast allows no food or water at all and should be short. Moses and Jesus fasted for 40 days; but this would kill anyone without supernatural intervention and should never be attempted today. Don’t do a total fast for more than 24 hours.
- The Partial Fast is one that omits certain foods or is on a schedule that includes limited eating. It may consist of omitting one meal a day. Eating only fresh vegetables for several days is also a good partial fast. The Daniel fast falls into this category and consists of 21 days of vegetarian diet.
Results of Fasting
Spending time in prayer and fasting is not automatically effective in accomplishing the desires of those who fast. Fasting or no fasting, God only promises to answer our prayers when we ask according to His will.
1 John 5:14-15 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him.
Fasting for the Right Reasons – Isaiah 58
Isaiah 58 starts by describing how some people fast for the wrong reasons, with the wrong priorities, and in the wrong spirit. It then goes on to describe the right reasons, priorities, and spirit, which allow for a fast to be acceptable unto God. In the prophet Isaiah’s time, the people grumbled that they had fasted, yet God did not answer in the way they wanted (Isaiah 58:3-4). Isaiah responded by proclaiming that the external show of fasting and prayer, without the proper heart attitude, was futile (Isaiah 58:5-9).
Here is a list of the Right Reasons as described by the prophet Isaiah.
- Lose the bands of wickedness – freeing ourselves and others from addictions and sin.
- Undo the heavy burdens – to solve problems, inviting the Holy Spirit’s aid in lifting loads and overcoming barriers that keep ourselves and our loved ones from walking joyfully with the Lord.
- To let the oppressed (physically and spiritually) go free – for revival and soul winning, to identify with people everywhere enslaved literally or by sin and to pray to be used of God to bring people out of the kingdom of darkness and into God’s marvelous light.
- To break every yoke – conquering the mental and emotional problems that would control our lives and returning control to the Lord.
- To share our bread with the hungry and to care for the poor – to meet the humanitarian needs of others.
- To allow God’s light to break forth like the morning – bringing clearer perspective and insight as we make crucial decisions.
- So your health shall spring forth – to gain a healthier life or for personal healing.
- The Daniel Fast Tony Silveira, 2012
- That your righteousness shall go before you – that our testimonies and influence for Jesus will be enhanced before others.
- That the glory of the Lord will protect us from the evil one – Part of our prayer and fasting should be spent in claiming the power of the blood of Jesus over our lives.
Personal Fast and Corporate Fast
Fasting can be done individually, like Jesus, Moses and Daniel did; a whole church can be called to fast, or a city (Jeremiah 36:9). In times of strife, an army or a whole nation can be called on to fast. However, unless we are called to collectively fast for a specific purpose, we should fast and pray in secret and tell no one except the Lord.
Matthew 6:16-18 ‘Whenever you fast do not be like the hypocrites, for they put on a sad countenance so that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full already. When you fast, perfume your head and wash your face so your fasting may not be noticed by men but by your Father, Who sees you in secret, will reward you in the open’.
When we do a corporate fast we don’t need to keep it a secret. Fasting is serious business to God and we must not take it lightly.
Joel 1:14 ‘Sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders… and cry to the Lord’.
When we are called to a collective fast, the group needs to fast all at the same time, but nobody should be forced to fast. Fasting has to be from the heart or the Lord will not accept it. A call to fast by a Church leader can be listened to or ignored. You should know however that Spiritual leaders should equip the Church and prayer and fasting are a Spiritual discipline. Nobody should be coerced to fast but we are members of a spiritual body. When a leader calls a fast it is for your own benefit to listen since God will speak to us through his servants. Fasting should be done with joy and gladness, cheerfully in love, truth and peace, then followed by a feast and fellowship.
Zechariah 8:19 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: The fast of the fourth month and the fast of the fifth and the fast of the seventh and the fast of the tenth shall be to the house of Judah seasons of joy and gladness and cheerful feasts. Therefore love truth and peace.
In the Old Testament the believers where trained to fast, here we read that in four different occasions they where called to fast with joy, gladness and cheerful feasts. As New Testament believers we don’t have a commandment to fast like in the Old Testament but we should be prepared to do Spiritual Warfare and to spend time seeking the Lord. Consider fasting as a way to grow spiritually and to have a greater sense of the Holy Spirit in your life.
READ PART 4