Many times I have been asked, 'Glenn when should I fast?' That is a great question. While we can fast just because we want to have a deeper walk with God or that we want a higher dimension in a church service, the Scriptures unveil to us certain times when God's people fasted.
Let's look at some examples and times in order for us to incorporate these into our lives when we find ourselves in similar situations. The amazing thing about the Bible is that it shows us people who were facing situations and how they were delivered. The Bible is not an antiquated religious book with coded sayings that nobody can decipher. It is a book about real people with real problems who received real solutions from a real God.
The Bible is a book showing real people with real problems who received real solutions from a real God. It was written in order for you to apply the same principles of faith to be delivered from your real problems.
Fast when you are afraid
Jehoshaphat, the King of the tiny state of Judah faced an impossible situation when a conglomerate of nations came against him to exterminate Judah's existence. Knowing who and how many were coming against him, Jehoshaphat was overwhelmed when he realized what he had in his arsenal was not enough to deal with what was coming against him. Fear gripped his heart but at the same time he did allow fear to paralyze him to a place of immobility and despair but used his fear as a catalyst to drive him before God:
And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the Lord: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.
2 Chronicles 20:3-4
Never let fear put you in a place of immobility but use it as fuel to drive you before your God.
Fast when you need help
Note these words very carefully, '…set himself to seek the Lord… proclaimed a fast… to ask help of the Lord.' Fasting is setting yourself to seek the Lord and more specifically for his help. Therefore you should fast when you need help. Has there ever been a time in your life that you needed help? Of course there has and there will be again. Whenever you need help from above it is time to go on a fast. From this story of Jehoshaphat I want to give you two more times that you should incorporate fasting in your life.
O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.
2 Chronicles 20:12
Fast when you have no might
Jehoshaphat said,'for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us.'Whenever we step into a situation we try to resolve it from our education level, from our own expertise (or that of others) and from elements available. However there are some problems that are greater than us and can only be solved by God. There are problems that we face that no physical or intellectual might will solve. Only the might of the Holy Spirit can arrest the march of certain problems against your life. When you have no might in yourself you have the might of God which you can tap into through fasting.
Fast when you don’t know what to do
Finally notice the carefully worded prayer of Jehoshaphat, 'neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.' When you do not know what to do then you know what to do. It is time to seek the help of God through fasting. There have been many times in my life when I did not know what to do and I have always said to myself, 'When I don't know what to do, I know what to do.'
When it looks like I am at the end of my rope and nothing that I have tried have worked out and I have exhausted all human resources available to me, I can tap into the grace of fasting. Jehoshaphat unveiled to us that we should fast when:
- We are afraid.
- We need help.
- We have no might against what is coming against us.
- We don’t know what to do.
At some point in your life you will find yourself at one of these junctions and now you know what to do!
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