In Your Bible Read This
Isaiah 58, Matthew 6, 16-18
Here Is Your Memory Verse
But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting. Matthew 17:21, footnote.
Afterwards Talk About This
In what practical ways might God's chosen fast be done in your country. What action would have to be taken other than prayer.
Something To Do Before Next Time
Meditate on Joel 1 and 2 to discover the cause of the threat. Reflect line by line upon the advice of the Lord in 1, 13-14, and 2, 12-17. Visualise in your mind what that would look like in practice. Should something similar happen today? How could it happen?
Written Diploma Work
Write the story of what happened after the fast mentioned in verse 3 of 2 Chron. 20.
Meditate Word By Word On This Verse
Matthew 6, 16-18
Spend a Minute to Change the WorldPray For Spain – 40,000,000 Southern Europeans, long persecution of church, 1% Protestant, 27% practising RC's, 60% of church growth are gypsies!
Be sure to teach this lesson to others. Always pray and prepare well adding your own verses and stories to bring it to life.
Although this lesson focuses on what God calls his chosen fast, the true fasting, we are going to begin by looking at normal fasting, that is going without food and sometimes water as well, for a reason.
Fasting tells our bodies, stomachs and appetites that our spirit is in charge of life, and by exchanging eating time we can get closer to God. When it is called for by God, fasting brings powerful extra spiritual benefits, Matthew 17.21. Many doctors also recognise that regular fasting does the body good too.
Have We Really Got To Fast?
In Matthew 6, 16-18 Jesus assumes that his followers will fast from time to time. He says 'when you fast,' not 'if you fast.' Fasting is a theme that runs right through Godly lifestyle from the earliest days.
Fasting Needs A Right Motivation
It will not twist God's arm to help you. It will not help you get your own way, that's a hunger strike!
When Should We Fast?
There are many occasions in the Bible when people fasted either alone or when everyone fasted together.
- Upon hearing bad news, Nehemiah 1.4; 2 Samuel 1.12
- When family, friends or people are ill, 2 Samuel 12.16, Psalm 35.13.
- In times of bereavement, 1 Sam. 31.13; 2 Samuel 3.35.
- In danger, Esther 4.16, Daniel 6.18. Acts 27.33-34
- In threatened national disaster, Judges 20.26; 2 Chronicles 20.3. Joel 1.14; 2, 12-15
- In time of threatened judgement, Jeremiah 36.9, Jonah 3.5-10
- Before a journey, Ezra 8.21-23
- In public confession of sin, Nehemiah 9.1-2, 1 Samuel 7.6.
- In personal repentance, 1 Kings 21, 27-29, Ezra 10.6
- In intercession, Daniel 9.3
- In response to a revelation from God Daniel 10.1-3, Acts 9.9
- When ordaining or sending ministers, Acts 13.3, 14.23
In A Fast What Should We Do?
Pray, Daniel 9.3, Jer. 14.12
Humble ourselves, Deut. 9.18; Neh. 9.1
Read the Scriptures, Jeremiah 36.6.
Different Kinds Of Fasting
To begin with why not miss one meal in order to pray, or you could fast from the evening meal till the next evening. In extreme circumstances Moses, Elijah and Jesus all fasted for 40 days. Exodus 24.18. 1 Kings 19.8, Mat. 4.1-2. Normally you should always drink extra liquid and very rarely fast from water. You can also fast from sweet things and luxuries. Daniel fasted like this for three weeks, Daniel 10.2-3. You will do well to fast regularly from TV, sport and even from marital relations in order to seek God more. 1 Cor. 7.5. Like David, John's disciples, Anna, Paul and Cornelius some people fast as a lifestyle. See Psalms 109.24; 69.10; Matthew 9.14; Luke 2.37; Acts 10.30; 13.3, 14.23; 2 Cor. 11.27.
Now, God's Chosen Fast
It will be good for all of us to fast from time to time and as Holy Spirit directs, but there is another kind of fasting which is immensely powerful. We could call it the fasted life.
Not Every Fast Pleases The Lord
In Zechariah 7, 5-6 the Lord asks both people and priests if they were fasting for him, or was there another agenda? The fast in Isaiah 58, 1-5 definitely did not please God. Even on the day of fasting before the Lord, people were exploiting their workers, quarrelling, beating each other, being hypocrites, trying to blackmail God, complaining and forsaking the commands of God. He says, "You cannot expect to be heard on high!"
What Kind Of Fast Pleases God?
God says in Isaiah 58, 6-12, "This is the kind of fasting that I have chosen," and so he recommends it to us. This kind of fast has little to do with just denying yourself food, but is to do with denying self and living for God. It is not for one day either, but forever, as long as we live.
He Asks Us To Deny Ourselves And:
Loose the chains of injustice. Untie the cords of the yoke, Satisfy the needs of the oppressed. Break every yoke. Share your food with the hungry. Provide poor wanderers with shelter. When you see the naked, clothe him. Help your own flesh and blood. Do away with the yoke of oppression. No pointing fingers or malicious talk. This kind of fast changes the world but brings tremendous spiritual, emotional and material demands but see for yourself how God promises to miraculously uphold those who dare to deny themselves and live on behalf of the poor and oppressed.
Your light will come like the dawn. Your healing will quickly appear. Righteousness will go before you. The Lord will be your rear guard.When you call, the Lord will answer. Cry for help, he will say, here am I. Your light will rise in the darkness. Your night will be like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always. He will satisfy your needs. He will strengthen your frame. You will be a well-watered garden. You will be a spring that never fails. Your people will rebuild ancient ruins. You will repair and restore society. See also Zechariah 7.8; 8, 16-19
To Close Pray for the World's Most Unreached Peoples by Name
Taken from the Joshua Project Unreached Peoples List these people have no church and as yet no cell, church or mission has committed themselves to prayer, adoption or church planting among this people.