In the month of January, many churches have started participating in a corporate fast. This is something that has been made popular by Pastor Jentezen Franklin of Free Chapel Church (Kingdom Connection). As a result, some churches have started experiencing tremendous revival, like the revival going on in north Georgia, which started last February following a 21 day fast in January. According to the article in Charisma Magazine, the Pastor had a vision where he saw fire over the baptismal pool. After that, when people would be in the baptismal pool getting baptized, they would have tremendous encounters with the Holy Spirit; some being healed, delivered or filled with the Holy Spirit.
I have not always participated in these types of fast, only when I sensed the Lord leading me to and only for as long as I sensed Him leading me to do so. However, I have done a lot of fasting for many years and would like to share some things I have learned about it.
The definition of the word fast means to abstain from all or some kinds of food or drink, especially as a religious observance. There are different types of fasts, water, juice, liquids, fasting one or two meals a day or until evening and the Daniel fast (mentioned in Daniel 10), which consists of abstaining from meat, sweets (or pleasant foods) and wine (which to me equates to sodas or sweet drinks).
Let me say first that fasting is not just abstaining from food, it is dying to self, crucifying our sinful nature and drawing near to the Lord, putting away the things that distract us from Him, that we may have allowed to take precedence over seeking Him, anything that might have become an idol in our life.
Isaiah 58 talks about a fast day acceptable to the Lord. In this chapter, we see that the Israelites were abstaining from food but their attitude and actions showed no change of heart, no repentance, no compassion for others, etc. They were carrying on business as usual, mistreating their workers, full of strife and contention, etc. The Lord said in verse 4, “fasting as you do today will not cause your voice to be heard on high.” Fasting is not merely mechanical, it must be accompanied by a repentant heart, one that is truly seeking the Lord and willing to be the Lord’s hands extended to show mercy and compassion to others.
Also, as I said before, fasting is dying to self. Verses 13-14 says “if you turn away your foot from (traveling unduly on) the Sabbath, from doing your own pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a (spiritual) delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable, and honor Him and it, not going your own way or seeking or finding your own pleasure or speaking with your own (idle) words, 14 Then will you delight yourself in the Lord and I will make you to ride on the high places of the earth, and I will feed your with the heritage (promised for you) of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.”
In the New Testament, we are told by the Apostle Paul, that the Sabbath day is no longer something that we have to observe in a legalistic fashion, it can be whatever day you choose to set aside to pray and spend special time with the Lord (See Romans 14:5). What I want to emphasize here is what Isaiah 58 says about “not going your own way or seeking or finding your own pleasure or speaking your own (idle-careless, inoperative, non-working) words. When I fast, I don’t watch much TV, except for spiritual-type programing and I try to stay off of social media. I also usually sense a quietness that comes over me so that I don’t want to talk very much or spend much time on the phone, instead I spend a lot of time reading the Bible and praying.
One of the ways I usually sense the Lord is leading me to fast is that I will start to feel very dry spiritually and will often start to feel a demonic oppression, which the normal prayer, rebuking the enemy, etc. does not seem to alleviate or not entirely. Also, when I spend time in the word, I will often begin to read scriptures about fasting or entering into battle, etc. When I reach the end of a fast, I will feel that dryness or demonic oppression lift and begin to feel more of the presence of God. Also, usually when I get in the word, the Lord will give me scriptures that confirm what I am sensing in my spirit.
When it comes to what kind of fast I do, I go with what I feel the Lord is putting in my spirit, what I feel peace about. When I was in my early twenties, I used to fast religiously every Tuesday and in the beginning, I would really sense God’s presence and blessing on me doing that, but after a while, it became a dead work. I no longer sensed God’s anointing on it, so I stopped doing it and instead only did it when I sensed the Lord leading me to do so.
When I first began fasting, I did very stringent fasts, usually for 1-3 days with only water and juice, however, I almost blacked out in the parking lot coming out of work one day, so I recommend really praying about what type of fast you do and if you are working or have a medical condition, you may need to do a partial or Daniel type of fast instead. As I have gotten older and tend to have very low energy, I usually do a partial or Daniel type of fast, only for as long as I sense the Lord leading me to do so.
With all that said, I would like to share with you a particular fast that the Lord led me to do and share with you the tremendous outcome we saw as a result of it. When my husband and I were newly married, our Pastor, at the time, asked us if we would take on being the Children’s Church Pastors, as the people who were doing it previously had left the church. My husband was already helping with Children’s Church (as that was something he had done previously at the church he went to before we got married), while I was teaching the young adult Sunday School class. He shared with me that some of the kids they were picking up on the bus and bringing to Children’s Church were cussing at them, spitting, kicking, etc. There was one particular family of kids they were having a lot of problems with, whose parents I believe were on drugs. I remember going over to the gymnasium, where children’s church was held and it felt so dry, like there was an absence of the Holy Spirit. I told my husband and another lady who had volunteered to help that I felt led to fast and they could join me if they wanted to.
I started out the fast having one slim fast a day for the first three days. However, I did not feel like I was having a breakthrough, so I went to just water for the next three days (and it was not that hard for me, surprisingly). Every night, after work, I would read the Bible, pray and seek the Lord for a word about if I was to continue fasting or not. On the evening of the sixth day, I was thinking to myself, I must be going to go seven days because seven is the number of the Lord, the number of completion, etc., but the Lord spoke to my heart that “on the seventh day God rested.” It was like He was saying, you just rest now and see what I’m going to do. That night, my husband fell asleep on the couch. I tried to wake him up to go to bed, but he wouldn’t wake up, so I went to the bedroom to go to bed. A short time later, I heard my husband crying out like he was having some kind of bad dream. I sat up in bed, stretched my hand towards him and began to pray in the Spirit. Within a short time, he woke up and said “you’re not going to believe the dream I just had”. He proceeded to tell me that he dreamed that he was in a large barn when Jesus walked up. He said he only saw Him from about the waist down, he saw His robe and sandals. He said Jesus told him “this barn is not big enough, I’m going to fill it up”. He said immediately after the enemy heard that word, there was a demonic presence that attacked him and was suffocating him. He was trying to say the name of Jesus, but was having a hard time getting it out (I believe this is the point where I heard him crying out and began interceding) and then finally, He shouted the name of Jesus and the Holy Spirit came in, like a rushing mighty wind, and swept out the demonic presence. Clearly, we felt the Lord was showing that there was a demonic force that had been fighting us over the children we were trying to reach in the Children’s Church ministry and through prayer and fasting, that force was broken and the Lord was showing the potential for the harvest.
After that we started working in Children’s Church ministry together and my husband said the children were like different kids. No more cussing, spitting and kicking. In fact, the family of kids that previously were causing most of the problems were some of the best ones in the class after that. I hope this may give some insight to any of you who want to know more about fasting and what it can accomplish. It is a powerful for breaking demonic strongholds. God bless you all. Kelly Rowe