BY CLIFTON JONES
When it comes to anointing and power, prayer produces these by itself. However, when combined with fasting, it seems to gain an even higher effectiveness.
Prayer and fasting are great companions which work well together in helping believers accomplish their spiritual goals. Please understand that neither one nor both forces God to do what He is unwilling to do.
They do, however, prepare us to follow when He moves. I don’t know of another single sacrifice that binds the flesh up so that we can hear God. Fasting is not to bring God down, but to bring us down that He may bring us up to his plan.
Lately, I’ve been telling our youngsters to take certain days for fasting. I told them they ate their way out of fellowship, now fast your way back. The appetite is the avenue that is most often traveled to lead men out of fellowship and anointing. God warned Israel of old to beware of fullness of bread, which leads to forgetfulness of Him.
Deuteronomy 8:10-12 “When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses,
and dwelt therein;”
WHEN WE OMIT PRAYER AND FASTING, OUR SPIRITUAL SENSES BECOME VERY DULL, AND OUR NATURAL APPETITE RUNS GREEDY AFTER THE THINGS OF THIS WORLD.
When considering the subject of fasting, don’t just fast out of habit, set a day and stay with it just for the day’s sake. Fast out of need, and as long as you sense the need for that situation. I am not trying to get you away from your weekly fast days, but mix them up so that your body will not become programmed to that day or days. I promise you, sticking with a day or days will show some real discipline, but at the same time it might form a pattern that your body will adjusted to. If you should choose a different day or days your body would cry aloud, I am against it.”
Our backsliding from prayer and fasting has left us cold, carnal, worldly, dull of hearing, spiritually blind, complacent, apathetic, empty and in desperate need of revival. The practice of seeking God through fasting and prayer was very common in scripture, even among heathens. When Nineveh heard the announcement of God’s pending judgment, they turned to fasting.
Jonah 3:5 “So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.”
If heathens can recognize the value of this divine attention, surely the church should. Their fasting did not change God’s mind. No! Fasting does not change God’s mind; it just allow Him to change His dealings. God did not want to destroy them in the first place; that is why He sent His servant to warn them. When they repented, He was able to do what He preferred.
When someone is desirous of a thing, enough to give up food, they are saying too me this is a very serious matter. The Word of God puts fullness of bread in the pot with pride.
Ezekiel 16:49 “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.”
The more I study the scriptures, the more I am made to believe that God’s people need to be lead into fasting and prayer. This pattern seems to also hold true for revival. As a whole, the people will go if
someone will lead them. Ezra, one of God’s great leaders, chose to turn to fasting and seeking God rather than asking the king for help.
Ezra 8:21-23 “Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance. For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek
him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him. So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was entreated of us.”
Scriptures like this gives a good pattern for us to follow when our churches are facing difficult challenges. Let all of us turn to the Lord with fasting and weeping, until the answer come.
Queen Esther, in the midst of a great crisis, backed her request with fasting.
Esther 4:16 “Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither cat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.”
When a stubborn need arise, you might have to go beyond the routine, and daily fast to the extended kind of fast May I say, if a crisis is grounds for a serious fast, the time is right now, because the church is most defiantly in a crisis. And I feel that it is going to take more than the one day fast or even the three days once a year.
I try to prepare the people of God at the beginning of each year through fasting and prayer. I was given a plan in January of 1969, and through the grace of God, I have striven to maintain it. We spend at least 30 days fasting and praying, some years more but never less. We usually begin our journey with a day by day fast eating one meal each day. This is what we call ‘tuning up’ to fast. The second week we eat every other day. The third week three meals are granted for the week (the meals may be spaced to best suite the individual). The fourth week we might just cut that down to two meals. Then we do several days of partial fasting; that is, eating raw vegetables, nuts, fruit, drinking water or juices (no pop, coffee, tea, sweets, bread, and meat). This method is very helpful to the body, but is a real challenge. It is easier to go without anything, than to eat and not be free to eat as we please. Your body will really rebel at this system, but we have obeyed our flesh too often for too long. It is time for our spirits to be made strong.
Our prayer schedule calls for prayer in the morning from 5:00 to 8:00 am. except Sundays. We changed our Sunday morning prayer time from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. that more people may get involved. I might add, at the time of this writing it is really working. Our Sunday school has moved to a new level of excitement. Prayer time becomes a time for receiving a refreshing and a new anointing, which carries over into all of the services. During this period of intense fasting and praying, the visitation of the Spirit of the living God has become powerful and the communion with Him is so sweet. I do not teach classes on prayer and fasting during these weeks of consecration. We just try to apply the principles we’ve already been taught.
The following references may help you:
II CHRONICLES 20:3
“And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.
“is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? When thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the Morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy reward. Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer, thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity,’
“Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the LORD your God, and cry unto the LORD’
“Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:”
“Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the
bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, 0 LORD, and give not
thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?”
“Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting”
“As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.”
“And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.”
“And while the day was coming on, Paul besought them all to take meat, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried and continued fasting, having taken nothing.”
Give your prayer life a helping hand. Add fasting to your prayer life. Allow your spirit to zoom into the presence of God. Nothing brings the flesh under subjection like genuine fasting. When the flesh is
dethroned, the spirit rises to it’s God ordained position.
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS TAKEN FROM PRAYER CLINIC II, 1990, PAGES 89-94. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.