Lately, I have started fasting, again. I used to fast every Sabbath, once I was under the belief that the seventh day was on a Saturday. I did it for several reasons at the time. But when I figured out we`re all going about our daily lives by a Roman Catholic Calendar, I rather quickly (not painfully though) returned to following the Moon cycles, just as all the ancients did (Genesis 1,14) thus finding the true Sabbath spoken about all over Isaiah. And I continued to fast every Sabbath for a while after that. Only, I did it wrong. I fasted for none other than myself it seems. And with time I found that you can fast for others and be praying at the same time, making all kinds of requests, and at the same time loosen knots and issues in your life (Ephesians 6,18). Issues manifested in your body... Yeah, I know, its strange stuff, but thats how it works...
Fasting is a mystery and there are numerous examples of fasting in Scripture, Pauls 3 day (dry fast, which was without water and food), prophets fasting for Israel - and off course Moses and The Saviours 40 day complete fast. But you know, it doesn't have to be that dramatic, neither 3 or 40 days, to loosen some of your own chains (probably a metaphor for the bodies drainage system, the lymphs, which we might back to later).
For beginners, just start with 1 day, 24 hours is not going to kill anyone in this day and age, being without food or even water that is. Its gonna do wonders, BUT, before you lock the fridge - whats your motive? What are you fasting for, a slim and toned body or to get to the bottom of something?
We will be coming back to that, because your motives are equally important as the fast itself, if not more. It is truly amazing though how much this `activity` helps your body to heal, but not least, how it affects your spiritual health. My `spiritual health` has been deteriorating off late, having been 8 months since my last `real` fast (on the day of atonement). I have been dealing with subtile, but now obvious sins from my past and some new ones.
They have added one upon the other, over that `short` time period, thats what you get for being sleepy and lazy. But, there is no reason to fret, because when you fast, you get to see them your (your faults/sins) much easier than in waking life - and when you see them you can pray for forgiveness - bringing you away from them and closer again to The Almighty. The Source of All Life.
Is there a connection between praying and fasting? (Isaiah 58,3-9). I sure think so, another is a good outlay of what kind of fast So NiNi likes and what kind of fasting He doesn't not like, in Isaiah 58 (the whole book is a thing-a beauty). And the common thread connecting the two (fasting and praying) run all through many instances of prayer and fasting recorded in Scripture. In The Old Testament, it seems fasting with prayer was with a sense of need and dependence, a display of abject helplessness in the face of impending doom or anticipated calamity. But also using in times of mourning, repentance and spiritual refreshing. Back then they was putting on Sackcloth and Ashes, they wanted to break of the chains of unrighteousness... (Jeremiah 6,26).
Nehemiah 1 is described as both praying and fasting, in deep distress of Jerusalem's desolation (one of many). His seeming several days of prayer consisted of tears, fasting, confession on behalf of Ancient Israel and pleaded too So NiNi for mercy. So intense was the outpouring of Nehemiah`s heart, kidney and spirit, that it was inconceivable for him to `take a break` in the middle of such a session, to either eat or drink.
Another prophet Daniel, was prompted to adopt a similar posture after devastation again befell Jerusalem (Daniel 9,3):
Just like Nehemiah, Daniel prayed and fasted that So NiNi would have mercy upon the people, saying furthermore (Daniel 9,4-5). Fasting is linked with what is called intercessory prayer, a fancy word for someone praying for you. David prayed for his sick child (2. Samuel 12:16), he wept before So NiNi in earnest intercession (2. Samuel 12,-21-22). Also, Esther urged her father Mordecai and her fellow Bantus to initiate a fast for her as she had big plans to go into her husband the King of Susa (Esther 4,16).
In the New Testament, fasting is also encouraged, but, in another way. And its not connected so much with repentance or confession sins, even though that can happen also. Take the prophetess Anna, that never left the temple but worshipping night and day, fasting and praying (Luke 2,37). She was 84, and was contributing (with prayer and fasting) as a service to So NiNi in His temple (while it was still up and running), she was waiting to get a glimpse of the Saviour of Israel, and for all who believe. Furthermore, the church mentioned at Antioch was fasting in their worship when the Holy Spirit spoke to the about get ahold of Paul and Barnabas. They both fasted and prayed, placed their hands on the two men in questions and sent them off. Now this gives examples of the fact that prayer and fasting are ways of worshipping So NiNi and seeking His face and favour. Fasting and praying will also lead one to repentance of sins, either old or new, you can always come to the Father, as long as you are not double minded. Come with straight up talk to the Father (uBawo), He won't take no nonsense ! Besides He already knowns what you need before you ask, right? But you gotta ask, and check your motives... You might just get what you are asking for, which is not always a good thing. You know the saying..
Fasting with prayer seems also to indicate the sincerity of the people praying and the perhaps critical situation in which they have ended up. The dire the straits, the more appropriate and welcomed is the fast combined with passionate, and hopefully, a meaningful prayer. Dont babel, say it like it easy and ask for forgiveness and to be lead by His Spirit, which is Wisdom.
Now, in Mark 9, Msindisi (The Saviour) casts out a demon living in a boy. But, the disciples was unable to remove it, although they had been given authority over unclean spirits (Mark 6,7). They asked later on why they failed to remove the demon, and the Saviour said: `This kind only come out by prayer and fasting (No fasting in Mark 9,29), but in Matthew 17,21. The Demon in Mark 9,21-22 seemed determined and very malicious, in which the Saviour Manwele hints at the fact that a determined foe must be met with an equally determined faith. Herein lies the readily available weapon of prayer in the spiritual battles we face on the daily (Ephesians 6,18), tooled up with periods of fasting and things begin to happen.
This is all about expression and sincerity, why are you fasting? What is it you seek to accomplish? Now the devotion is easy to do really, you abstain for a short while, either starving yourself spiritual or physically, without a Bible and food, or with a bible and without food. This way your communion with The Almighty will reach new found depths, and just when you thought you couldn't go any deeper or you did not realise this was a thing you have been doing for many years, you will find yourself in a different state of mind.. A different, a more susceptible but comprehensible state... Done behind closed doors and by yourself, confessing your sins to your Father in Heaven, is not a burden or a duty, its a celebration of So NiNis goodness and mercy to those that truly are His Children. Seeking Him, not themselves...