Principles of Fasting

Wise words from Dr Ja Shil Choi, from her book “Korean Miracles”:

 

Many scientists are forecasting that a wide variety of serious problems will be plaguing the earth by the year 2,000. These problems will be greater than at any other time in the history of man. Among these will be the problem of food shortage due primarily to the lack of resources and the population explosion. Some scientists insist that nearly one billion people will be starving at that time.

Before we spend much time thinking about these predictions, we must consider the fact that even today there is much suffering throughout the world because of famines. This is particularly acute in areas such as India southeast Asia, and the underdeveloped nations. The news media reports that over a hundred million people of the four billion in the world today are starving. This second and every hour of every day people are dying of starvation.

It seems ironic that at the same time so many are starving, there are so many that are sick due to overeating. Fasting, even one meal a day, on a large scale would help alleviate this suffering, not to mention the spiritual benefit that would be derived if this time were also devoted to prayer.

The movement of fasting and prayer is spreading throughout the United States and in many countries of the world. I am praying that Christians of Korea will join this movement. I am sure that we Korean Christians can relieve our nation of much suffering from disease, economic difficulties, and juvenile delinquency just as the nation, through the prayers of the Christians, was able to endure the oppression dur- ing the Japanese occupation and the difficult days of the Korean War. I have experienced both of these times and I feel that we can be victorious also in this time of need.

The testimonies in this book relate repeatedly the miracle power of God. In addition to these, there are innumerable people witnessing of the great blessing they have received through fasting and prayer. In my ministry at the Full Gospel Prayer Mountain, we daily see many people obtain victory over problems by the power of the Holy Spirit. The proven fact that God moves when we fast and pray motivates me to suggest to people over and over again to seek God in this manner.

SEVEN PRECEPTS OF FASTING AND PRAYER

Through past experience at the Full Gospel Prayer Mountain I have discovered seven precepts of fasting and prayer that are essential conditions for the believer who sincerely desires to hear from heaven.

1. Have a clear aim. You must not think fasting and prayer is only a method for people to cultivate their religious instinct. When you fast you must have a clear aim; if you do not, you will become distracted and dis- interested and fail to continue. Each of us is faced with many problems such as our relationship with God, our personality, harmony in the family, health, business problems, financial problems, and other such things. Usually only the most urgent problems are brought before God in fasting and prayer.

Daniel fasted and prayed three weeks beseeching God to deliver the Israelites from distress. Moses had fasted for 40 days before God when he received the Ten Commandments. Elijah fasted and prayed for 40 days to save Israel. Many times in the history of the nation of Israel the kings and the people fasted and prayed to repent and receive deliverance. Even the king of Nineveh, when he heard God was going to destroy the city, repented and the people of that city fasted and prayed for three days. Our Lord Jesus Christ fasted and prayed 40 days in the wilderness to prepare Himself for public ministry. We should also have a definite aim and purpose for our fasting. If someone feels that he does not have a reason for fasting and praying, let him be careful, because the very fact that he thinks he has no problem is often an indication of one. It may be that in his arrogant mind he feels self-sufficient and in no need of help. This is a very serious problem.

We Christians today have many things about which to pray. We can get up early in the morning and think over our lives and our society. As we meditate, we will become aware of many things we need to fast and pray about. I f one tries to fast without a clear aim he is as a child without conviction, not knowing his own mind. It is extremely important for the believer to fast with a clear aim and definite purpose.

2. Do not fast for show. In the Gospel of Matthew it is written: “Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; that thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly” (Matthew 6:16-18).

Occasionally, a person will take pride in his fasting. To fast and pray for a week, ten days, or more is a very wonderful thing but also very difficult. We should remember that we are fasting not unto men but unto God. Therefore, our fasting and prayer must be done in secret and humbly before Him. If one boasts about his fasting and praying, the Holy Spirit cannot work, and nothing is accomplished. Before we begin to fast, we must learn to come to Him humbly and in the proper attitude, not just to appear holy unto men.

3. Overcome the temptation 10 be boastful and proud. The devil will tempt us to fast and pray for show unto men or even for show unto God. Most people begin their fast in humility and with a definite aim.rbut as the days pass there is a great temptation to become proud in spirit and to fast for show.

If you begin to think, “I have fasted and prayed .for this long, so God must answer me,” beware, as this IS a danger signal that Satan is tempting you in this regard. Your fasting does not obligate God to fulfill all of your heart’s desires.

We must realize that God will not forgive our sins because of our fasting. All are sinners and by our own efforts cannot receive pardon even though we fast for many days. We can receive forgiveness of sin only by the power of the shed blood of His only begotten Son. What is the necessity of fasting? Fasting and prayer is a special time during which we deny ourselves and invite the power of the Holy Spirit into our hearts, yielding our will to the will of God. Even after we are saved by grace, the temptation to sin still exists. We must resist these temptations of Satan and yield to the supernatural power of God. When we fast and pray humbly before God, our old carnal nature is crucified, and then the power of the Holy Spirit is manifested in our lives. Diseases are healed, impossible problems solved, and peace and harmony are restored in our hearts and homes.

We cannot receive the power of God by our own efforts through fasting. When our carnal nature is in subjection and we come humbly before the Throne of Grace, we can be filled with the power of God. As our spirit is restored we are able to worship Him in spirit and truth. The power of God is always waiting for our surrendered invitation. This is an important principle that we must understand when we begin to fast and pray.

Sometimes pride will surface when fasting and prayer is discussed. There are those who are proud of their previous long fasts. Upon meeting a person who has only a little experience in fasting, they will piously remark how they fasted for three weeks and also state that one cannot understand the meaning of fasting until they have· fasted for at least ten days. To speak boastfully of the length of a fast is manifesting the spirit of pride.

4. Plan your time during the fast. There is an important procedure involved in fasting besides that which deals with the physical aspects previously mentioned. This involves our faith and belief.

Most people who fast begin fervently to read the Bible and pray. But one or two days later, they find themselves unduly concerned about how they are going to be able to complete the period that they decided to fast. When you decide on a certain length of time, divide the fast into three parts.

Spend the first part repenting of your sins and examining yourself honestly and openly before God. This time cannot be a prescribed number of days but varies with each individual. As you pray, the Holy Spirit will show you your sins: even some you may not be aware of.

Spend the second part making your petition before the Throne of Grace. We must honestly examine our aim in the light of the Holy Spirit and determine if that aim is truly the will of God. As you determine this, you must not be discouraged but steadfastly continue to pray, supporting your prayers with the reading of God’s Word. This builds your faith.

The third part is the period to have firm belief in one’s prayers. Remember, God’s power is almighty. He does not turn His face away when His children come in prayer. This convinces us that God has answered our prayers. Visualize the answer and transfer faith into action. The Bible says, “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:24).

God cannot use you if your faith in yourself is as big as a mountain, but when you realize that you are nothing and your faith in Christ is the size of a mustard seed then He will miraculously remove the mountains in your life. God can use this faith for us. Just as a small piece of yeast raises a whole loaf of bread, so God will use our small faith to raise our faith so that It will permeate all our actions. The moment we firmly believe that God has answered, we in essence invite the power of God into our life. It is necessary to express our faith with praise and thankfulness to God for what He has done. Truly He does exceedingly, abundantly above all that we can ask or even think. The fact that we are convinced that God has answered is the key to the establishment and maintaining of our relationship with God.

5. Fasting and prayer brings about a change in ourselves. The purpose of fasting and prayer is not only to receive healing, guidance, and solutions to difficult problems. First of all you must be born again; receive Christ as your Saviour and let Him fill your heart. What does it mean to be born again?

One day a man named Nicodemus came to Jesus and asked the way to eternal life. Then Jesus answered him, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). How can one be born the second time? We must not only be born physically but we must be born of the Spirit. We can be changed by the power of the Spirit of God. After this happens, our whole life, attitudes, thoughts, and speech is changed. As we yield all to Christ, He will baptize us in the Holy Ghost and fire. We then receive power to live an overcoming life and have greater love for the Word of God, deeper love for others, and an intensified burden for the lost. The initial evidence of this filling is the fluent speaking in an unknown language that we have never studied. If we remain in the same spiritual condition after our fast as before, there is no effect. There are those who fast and pray for fasting itself or to achieve some special purpose or recognition. This is a misunderstanding of the purpose of fasting. Fasting will make a constitutional change in our physical make up, but the main purpose is that our nature be changed. We must clean out every type of sin in our heart that has been accumulating. The supernatural power of God, through the blood of Jesus Christ, which stands above science, causes a miraculous change as we allow it.

6. We must not make fasting in itself righteousness. If we fast 40 or even a hundred days, that in itself would not add up to one small righteous or meritorious deed before God.

The prophet Zechariah said that we must fast and pray to give glory and honor to God. And then he said, “Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and show mercy and compassions every man to his brother: and oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart” (Zechariah 7:9-10).

Also the prophet Isaiah wrote, “Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord? Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?” (Isaiah 58:5-7).

These scriptures show us the principle that fasting and prayer are not beneficial to us if we do not also obey His words. One who considers himself righteous because he fasts and prays does not understand anything about God’s grace.

7. We must restrain ourselves. It is very easy for some to slip into fleshly manifestations during a time of fasting and prayer. The Holy Spirit always works decently and in order. Therefore, it is necessary to restrain the fleshly manifestations that might occur. As we truly seek the Holy Spirit, He will show us the difference between spiritual and fleshly manifestations. It is impossible for us to differentiate without the help of the Holy Spirit.

, The prophet Jeremiah makes a firm statement in Jeremiah 14: 12 to those who allow the flesh to motivate them. “When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and an obla- tion, I will not accept them.” Why is it this way? He tells us in verse ten, “Thus have they loved to wander, they have not refrained their feet, therefore, the Lord doth not accept them.” (Jeremiah 14: 10)

Because of their insincerity they have not refrained their feet and God does not hear their prayers. When we fast and pray we must not only restrain our food and drink, but also fleshly manifestations. These seven ~dmonitions concerning fasting and prayer are essential guidelines for the one who sincerely wants answers from God.

CAUTION AFTER THE FAST

I have explain.ed the method of safe recovery from a prolonged fast m chapter four of this book. Now I would like to discuss the problem of keeping the blessing and power that we received from God through the fast.

There are many who receive a miracle from God only to lose it soon after they have completed a special time of fasting and prayer. We must put into practice the faith we receive in order to retain it. In this regard, I call your attention to a few points that will be helpful.

1. Satan tempts us continually. Even after we have finis.hed fasting, God has met our needs, and we are m.otlvated by the Holy Spirit, we are not perfect. We will not be holy or perfect persons until we receive our new bodies in heaven. It must be remembered that we are still at war with Satan and must battle him courageously as we did during the time of fasting. In the Gospel of Luke we clearly see that after Satan tempted Christ in the wilderness he did not completely retreat. “He departed from him for a season” (Luke 4: 13). So, all the more Satan will continue to tempt us. Anyone who becomes proud because of his fasting will easily fall prey to the temptations of Satan. Many succumb to temptations within less than a year after receiving answers from God through fasting and prayer. Satan tempts. us with this new power and may ask us to perform miracles and do wonderful things. When this temptation comes, we must not recklessly yield to the enticing words of Satan, but be humble before God so that He alone will give the victory. Satan will use our adventurous spirit to bring us to a place where the Holy Spirit cannot use us. We can keep humble before God only as we continue to pray daily and study the Word of God.

2. Recognize our own weakness. Even though we fast and pray, as long as we are in this fleshly body we are still weak. It is the Spirit of God who is strong and not us. Often Christian friends will look up to you as a strong Christian after you have fasted for an extended period of time, and Satan tempts you to be proud of your reputation. This temptation must also be over- come.

If miracles happen under your ministry, Satan will tell you that it is your own power that is causing these things to happen. We cannot do any of these miraculous things in ourselves. It is only in the power of the Holy Spirit.

We are all sinners and are as clay vessels that are easily broken. We can only wait on the power of the Holy Spirit.

3. Maintain a positive attitude of faith. After a time of fasting, it is very easy to become critical of the pastor’s sermons, of a friend’s Christian life, administration of the church, or other situations. When this happens, we lose the grace and love we have received from God. After earnestly seeking Christ our heart is changed. Only through continually seeking Him will it remain changed, allowing us to serve the Lord more diligently than before. We will open our hearts to the teaching of the pastor and do all we can to help carry the burden of the work of God and the church.

As we cast off our negative attitudes, the love of Christ flows. through us. This enables us to enjoy a positive Christian life. We must do everything we possibly can to share the message of salvation through the blood of Christ to a lost and dying world. This is the commission we have received from Christ himself. A negative attitude produces a negative life. Con- sidering that we can do anything through Christ Jesus. live each day in positive faith.

TESTIMONY

I presented an application for admission to a technical high school and took the examination on the following March. I had completed the physical fitness examination and had only to take the written exams.

As I was taking the language examination I felt very dizzy and rested my head on the table. When I awoke the entire hour for the examination had passed. Thinking this was due to the strain from the physical activity, I determined to exert all my efforts on the next examination, but I was so weak I could not think clearly. After the fourth hour I left the examination room with hardly any strength. When I arrived home my head was still light and dizzy. Even though I expected it, it was a great disappoint- ment a few days later when I could not find my name among the candidates accepted by the school.

I then presented an application for admission to the Danglo Technical High School near my home and took the examination. This time I was accepted and enrolled for classes. Shortly after, during a physical education class, I felt weak and had pains in my head. When I could not endure the pain any longer, I stepped out of line to talk to the teacher. I was so weak I suddenly fell to the ground. When I regained consciousness, I was in the hospital. My friends had carried me there on their backs. I was released to go home, but the next day I entered another hospital for tests. The doctor diagnosed my case as epilepsy. My mother was worried about my health, so she did not allow me to continue my classes.

Studying at home was not interesting to me, and this hindered my progress. When the house was stuffy and I was lonely, I would take a chair to the front of my home and enjoy the cool of the day. It was there that a neighbor, who often saw me at the gate of my home, began to witness to me about the love of Christ. I was full of unbelief, but I went to church with her from time to time. What joy came to me the day I surrendered my heart to Christ and felt His love fill my heart!

One day in April as I was going to church, again I suddenly fell to the sidewalk. When I regained consciousness I was sitting in a chair beside the walk. I was so weak that I could not stand. A certain gentleman watched me with pity and kindly took me to the church. After this incident, my mother always went with me to church. Even though she was a Buddhist, my mother would attend church to be near me in the event of an attack on the street. This is how she came to know of. the saving grace of Jesus and was saved. During the services my mother saw many miracles wrought through the power of the Holy Spirit, and she prayed more and more earnestly for me. She thought that if she prayed to Christ, He would heal her son but with the passing of summer and fall the epileptic seizures became more frequent and more intense. On October 20th I had the most severe seizure of my life. My family could not sleep during the night because of it. The following morning when I had quieted, my mother took me to the Full Gospel Prayer Mountain. Each day I participated in every service from early morning until late at night and called on God to touch me. While my mother was fasting and praying for me she was healed of a chronic stomach disease and was blessed of God both physically and spiritually. I could not understand why my disease symptoms continued to increase.

My symptoms completely disappeared for a while, but soon they reappeared. Whenever I would feel the seizure coming, someone would lay hands upon me and pray and the seizure would stop, leaving me quiet and completely normal. The frequency of the attacks caused my mother to stay at the chapel with me in prayer.

The continual prayer allowed the power of the Holy Spirit to raise up a standard against the attacks of Satan. If I was lax in my prayer vigil, the seizures would come again. I had completed nearly ten days of fasting and prayer when I had a severe seizure and my body twisted violently. Pastor Choi laid hands on me again and in a loud voice commanded, “In the name of Jesus, I command this demon of epilepsy go out of this son now.” Immediately, the seizure stopped and my body became calm and quiet. Since that time I have not had one epileptic seizure. Hallelujah! I thank the Lord for delivering me from the bonds of Satan.

I believe our Lord is the healer of diseases, not only 2000 years ago, but today. What a wonderful blessing to know the inner peace that only Jesus can give.

-Chun Bok Yu
6-7 Gongdug Dong
Mapo Ku
Seoul

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About Michael Fackerell

The Christian faith is about Jesus. He came to save the lost. About Jesus Christ, Bible teaching, Testimonies, Salvation, Prayer, Faith, Networking.

Comments

  1. Catherine says:

    Today am praying and fasting for my brother who was diagnosed three months ago with tuberculosis. People are thinking he has been bewitched but I know God will hear our cry and heal him to the glory of His name. Amen.

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