We previously learned about 4 Kinds of Biblical Fasts and today we will look briefly at three types of Biblical Fasts.
Before we identify these types of fasts, let’s talk about the purpose of fasting. By the way, do you fast? If not, this will be of interest to you so you can make wise decisions in fasting.
In Isaiah 57, God acknowledges the Hebrew children’s repentant heart and in chapter 58, He repeats their question as they asked why He didn’t notice their fasting and His reply is that when they fasted, they were fulfilling their own pleasure and oppressing their workers. Not only that, they were quarrelling and fighting among themselves and hitting each other! Of course, God would not acknowledge their fasts.
God responded in Isaiah 58:5-8 stating that the fast that He chooses is to do war in the heavenlies. That is, to loose the bands of wickedness, undo heavy burdens, let the oppressed go free and break the heavy yoke. It is so much more than ‘just another day’. God’s fast is a day of interceding on behalf of others, even yourself! It is to see the downtrodden lifted up, the addicted set free from bondage, those who are sick and diseased to be healed, and for the light of the Word of God to shine in dark places. God wants His children set free from the chains that enslave them.
Fasting with prayer will set the captives free and push back the powers of darkness.
Fasting can free the enslaved. It will empower the believer to go further with God as He sees His hand in the answers. Fasting is powerful!
When we fast, we will experience both physical and spiritual benefits. We give our bodies a rest when we abstain from eating food. The organs can cleanse themselves, waste products will be released and our system will be unclogged. God who designed fasting, also included the benefits for our physical bodies.
Scripture speaks so much of fasting, in the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Early Church, and has been used in Revival Movements and for Divine Intervention. We wouldn’t be where we are today without Biblical fasting.
3 Types of Biblical Fasts
Over the next three weeks we will look at nine Biblical fasts. There are many more in the Bible but for now, nine are sufficient.
These fasts that we will explore are simply models, some based on Isaiah 58.6. They are not exclusive nor are they the only fast to be used for your situation. At all times, let the Spirit of God lead you to the fast the He wants you to perform.
Here is a brief overview of three fasts. My research is based on a book by Mr Elmer Towns, Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough.
The Disciple’s Fast
The purpose of this fast is to ‘loose the bands of wickedness’ (Isaiah 58:6). This means to free ourselves and others from addictions to sin.
You can read about this fast in Matthew 17:14-21 in the account of the father appealing to Jesus to have mercy on his son who was tormented by demons. The disciples couldn’t cast them out. Did you notice Jesus’ response in verse 21? It is simple yet profound and one that we often miss. “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” Dealing with demonic activity MUST be done through fasting!
The disciples fast is to deal in spiritual warfare, to set free from bondage.
Steps, as listed from Mr Towns are:
- Renounce Counterfeit Control
- Acknowledge Self-Deception
- Forgive to Overcome Bitterness
- Submit to God’s Authority
- Take Personal Responsibility
- Disown Sinful Influences
Mr Towns, states on page 40 of his book:
There are principles of being actively and purposefully involved in determining how, and whether, each step is to be applied to your own unique situation.
Without being intentional in applying these steps and principles, your fast will not have the outcome you are seeking.
For each fast in his book, Mr Towns has detailed the steps and principles and has prepared a ‘covenant’ to complete and sign.
The Ezra Fast
Based on Isaiah 58:6, this fast is to solve problems as we appeal to the Holy Spirit to lift loads and overcome barriers that prevent us from walking in the joy of the Lord.
Ezra 8:21-23 teaches us that we can fast for problem-solving. Ezra’s problem of the day was they needed direction and protection for their journey, their children and possessions. Ezra did not want to ask for help from the Persian king for protection so He asked the Almighty for help. Don’t you love verse 23? “So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was intreated of us,” God answered their prayer!
Steps, as listed in Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough:
- Choose to be Involved
- Share the Problem
- Fast Seriously
- Fast before Attempting a Solution
- Fast on Site with Insight
- Fast for Step-by-Step Guidance
The principles to consider for the Ezra Fast should include the help of the Holy Spirit. We cannot escape problems so we need to know how to deal with them. When you understand the root cause of the problem, you will be able to understand the problem better and how to solve it.
In problem-solving, you need to be aware of the causes of problems, the questions to ask about the problem and the attitudes toward problems as well as the problem-solving eyes. This means eyes to see the positive, to see the people and see the facts.
The Ezra Fast produces a new vision of what God can do. When we are blind to the truth we cannot see what God is planning for us. This fast will help to focus on your priorities in the Word of God.
The Samuel Fast
Also based on Isaiah 58:6, this fast is to “let the oppressed go free”. Use this method when you are praying for revival in your church, city, country. Are you wanting to win the lost? Maybe you are thinking of someone in particular. If so, then this fast is for you.
We have all sinned before the Lord and need to repent. Just as the Israelites sinned in letting the Ark of the Covenant be taken by the Philistines, Samuel prayed for Israel to be delivered from the sin that allowed that capture. We need to pray for our people, friends, neighbours, city, people in general or specific, to be delivered from their sin and won over to the Lord.
Have you read the book of Judges yet? Do you recall that the Hebrew children kept rejecting God and turning to idols? Each time they did, God punished Israel by allowing them to experience attack and defeat. What happened when they were defeated? They always turned back to God.
Samuel was a prophet, priest and the last judge to lead Israel. When Samuel called for a fast, he made preparation before he announced the fast. He had all idols removed so the people could focus on God.
Steps, as listed from Mr Towns are:
- Call the Body Together
- Demonstrate True Repentance
- Separate from Sin
- Have Corporate Confession of Sin
- Acknowledge the Power of the Word
- Get in Touch with the Symbolic
This last step refers to symbolic events (miracles), days, furniture (tabernacle), and ceremonies (communion). These symbols are for victory!
You can’t bring about revival with prayer alone. Prayer must include fasting to reap the harvest.
The best way to get the full benefit of learning about each of these fasts plus the other six to come is to purchase the book, Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough. Check your local bookstore or order through Amazon or Christianbook.com.
I found this on the internet and thought you might like it. It is a PDF file for his Bible Study if you would like to do an in-depth study on fasting in conjunction with his book. BIBLICAL_STUDIES_FOR_FASTING_STUDY_GUIDE Elmer Towns
I hope this basic information gets you started on fasting, however, the more meat and potatoes would be in his book, Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough.
Was this study helpful? Are you interested in finding out what the other six fasts are? I’ve yet to tell you which one I used and what the outcome was. It is in the next post so stay tuned!
As always, I invite your thoughts and comments. Please drop me a quick line or two.
Source: Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough by Elmer L Towns, Regal Books