The Meaning of Fasting and Prayer – by Dr Ja Shil Choi

Christianity is a religion of personal experiences. It is a spiritual movement, not a lot of theories or “isms.” It is a movement of life, truth, the Holy Spirit, and love. The important thing is to have a personal, real experience. Through the right relationship with God we can recognize and understand the Lord’s will. There are many ways in which we can experience God’s blessings. I recommend fasting and prayer as the most powerful of these.
The Bible has much to say about fasting and prayer. Joel wrote, “Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord
your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil” (Joel 2:12-13).

Isaiah said, “Is it such a fast that I have chosen … 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 58:5-6).
Let us research the meaning of the word fasting. The dictionary defines it “to abstain from food.” The Hebrew word for fasting is O’l (tsom) and IS found In Nehemiah 9:1, Esther 4:16, and Daniel 9:3. The verb form (tsum) is used in Judges 20:26, Esther 4: 16, and Isaiah 58:3-4. Both words mean “to abstain from food or from certain kinds of food.”
The Greek word (nesteiad) found In Matthew 17:21, Luke 2:37, 2 Corinthians 6:5, and other places, means “a religious abstinence from
food” The word (nesteis), found In Matthew 15:32 and Mark 8:3, and the word (nesteu6) means “to abstain from food; to practice abstinence as a religious exercise or as a token of grief.”
Adam’s sin was brought about because of an excessive desire for food; but Christ, the second Adam, overcame by the food of the Word. As eating physically serves physical life, fasting preserves the spiritual life. It denies the physical and brings us into the presence of
God. The Bible tells us man does not live by bread alone, but by the Word of God. This is assured as we commit our lives to God in fasting and prayer.
Fasting and prayer must be a definite commitment.
If I die, I die! This faith experience not only builds our faith but empties us of self and gives us power to live an overcoming life. As faith builds in fasting and prayer, we receive healing for our bodies as well as healing for our spirit and soul. Through this experience in faith we can be confident of the Holy Spirit living in us and have the assurance of God’s unlimited love and redemptive grace through Jesus Christ. This assurance is the primary motivational force in the life of a child of God.

The basic element of this experience in faith is the unchanging Word of God. The Bible, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is our only rule of life and faith (2 Timothy 3: 16).

Among the many examples of experiential faith recorded in the Bible is that of the apostle Paul. He was a Hebrew of the Hebrews. He studied Jewish Law and traditions at the feet of the teacher Gamaliel. But when he met Jesus Christ he gave up all of his past achieve- ments. His encounter with Christ on the Damascus Road caused him to surrender his life and ambitions to the Master. This experience helped Paul to overcome the temptations, trials, and difficulties in his later life. Regardless of the consequences, he was totally committed to do the will of God and spread the gospel of Christ.

Confessing that he must preach the gospel or die, Paul boldly carried the gospel to the Gentile nations. The Scriptures record many had faith experiences: Abraham, David, Elisha, Daniel and others.

The secret of successful Christian living is to have a personal, working faith. There is a desire in each of us to attain a high level in faith. Even in difficult situations there is a burning desire to be aware of God’s love, His grace, His’presence, and His guidance in our lives. These can be attained through fasting and prayer. We, as Christians, must be equipped with the whole armor of God, as described in Ephesians 6:10-18. We are not fighting flesh and blood, but are struggling against principalities and powers which seek to destroy our bodies and souls in hell. Therefore we must continually prepare ourselves for this spiritual battle.

As Isaiah wrote,

“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 58:6).

Isaiah prophesied that fasting brings real joy to God. The sad history of man is one of continual fighting, usually brought about because men think only of satisfying the flesh. We have many proverbs and illustrations which refer to eating. Because of excessive indulgence there is much disease and sickness.

There are many reasons why people eat excessively.

We eat because food is tasty.

We eat because it is nourishing.

We eat because it looks delicious.

We eat for the sake of competition (“I can eat more than you”). (A Korean boy after eating 20 ice cream servings became ill and died). We eat because of greed.

We overeat because of excessive sampling.

We eat because of habit.

We overindulge because others urge us to eat more.

We eat because of obligation for fear of rejecting hospitality.

We eat to be sociable.

We eat because of invitations connected with our official duties.

We eat because of the fame and reputation of certain foods.

We are always interested in eating. The subject of food captures our attention. In addition to our regular meals, we crave delicious, delicate snacks and fancy desserts. Many people live to eat.

However, there is a much higher dimension of living. By fasting and prayer, the Holy Spirit can work through us in a more powerful degree. Even in this ultrascientific generation we may see, hear, and experi- ence a great variety of miracles, signs and wonders. Through fasting and prayer there is healing for all kinds of distresses such as emotional diseases, anxiety, neurosis, and depression. Physical sicknesses such as cancer, arthritis, tuberculosis, neuralgia, heart trouble, gallstones, asthma, epilepsy, and diabetes are healed by God’s miraculous power. Church problems are solved. Revival fires cause the church to grow in numbers. It also assures individuals of a victorious faith in their Christian life. In this wicked generation, God has shown us in His Word that by fasting and prayer we can enjoy a closer relationship and access to His miraculous power.

Throughout this book I would like to share with you some inspiring testimonies of miracles that came about through fasting and prayer. I trust they will be a source of encouragement to you and help inspire greater faith in your life.

TESTIMONY

I am rejoicing in the blessings of Jesus Christ, which I received through fasting and prayer at the Full Gospel Prayer Mountain. I began fasting on the first day of September and with the help of the Holy Spirit continued fasting and praying for 30 days. As a Bible school student, I desired more power with God in my life and ministry. For ten years I had not been able to smell because of a disease of the nose called ozena. I also suffered an inflmmation of the leg joints so severe that when I played the pump organ at the church someone else would have to push the pedals for me. However, after fasting and praying, these sick- nesses were healed by the power of Christ. I am so hap- py I feel as if I am walking on air. All the severe pain and symptoms of sickness are gone.

During the same period, I received the infilling of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. Hallelujah! I give praise and glory to our wonderful Lord for the power and blessings I received through fasting and prayer. I am praying for others who are seeking spiritual and physical healing at the Full Gospel Prayer Mountain.

-Wha Ja Song
81-281 Ha Walgok Dong
Sang Buk 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.

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