The Month of Fasting
Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn (sacred) assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the Lord – Joel 1:14
A fast was a period of time when no food was eaten and people approached God with humility, sorrow for sin, and urgent prayer. In the Bible, people often prayed during times of calamity in order to focus their attention on God and to demonstrate their change of heart and true devotion.
January is a month most Christians are given a fast by their church leaders. The fast shouldn’t be a tradition, but it should be a time for those who are fasting to exam themselves to see where they need to make changes by taking off the garments of sin and putting on the garment of righteousness. We don’t fast to impress God, some people think if they fast long enough, it will influence Him to do something for them. To punish ourselves does not impress the Lord, it will only make us hungry because the fast is with the wrong motives.
A proclaim fast as the one that is in Joel is for the purpose of bringing believers into a place of hearing from God. When we find out how to pray about the situation, we can then move in the same area of faith in one accord. The main reason that a proclaimed fast brings results is that it causes the people’s mind to go in one direction. That direction is towards God. They drop all other things and center their attention on Him. This brings His manifested presence in their midst.
In the book of Acts 13:1-2 as the prophets and teachers were fasting and ministering into the Lord, the Holy Ghost spoke in the midst of them. Today’s church fast will do the same thing when the people of God come together in one accord, praying and fasting. In this kind of atmosphere, God is given the opportunity to speak. A proclaim fast is valuable and effective because it causes unity and singleness of purpose. It is the same principals as the prayer of agreement or united prayer, it will produce power.
Rewards for a personal fast when we do it in secret, God will reward us openly. We can believe for this reward when we go into the fast, we should be specific about the purpose of the fast. If we believe the reward from the onset of the fast, the pressure of our physical body will lessen. Remember the results and the reward being obtained makes fasting easier. Many can’t do a long fast because they’ve never fasted, but if your motive is right, if you’ve never fasted or can’t fast a long time, start off with an hour a day until you can increase the length of fast. The fast is not about how long we can fast, but the motive, faith, and the persistence we have to seek God for the answer or just for spiritual growth.
God desires His people to grow spiritually, and that only comes by fasting and prayer, reading and studying the Bible. When the leaders calls a fast, try to fast, take it one minute, hour and day at a time, the fast is for spiritual growth, and for prayers to be answered as well for the presence of God to be in the midst of the congregation. If you didn’t fast at the beginning of the fast, try starting it as soon as you can, if you only get a few days in, at least you will be in unity with the others that are fasting as well as being in obedience with the request of the leader.