Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Nine Types of Fasts- Part 2

Five: THE WIDOW’S FAST
“The Widow’s Fast” is about meeting the humanitarian needs of other people while you are fasting. In 1 Kings 17:10-16, we read the vivid story about a woman with very little who helped the man of God, Elijah. It was all part of God’s plan. The widow made a choice to fast so that someone else could eat. The book of Isaiah puts it this way, “. . . is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out . . .” (Isaiah 58:6-7). Today, you can meet the humanitarian needs of other people while you’re fasting by using the money you would normally feed yourself with to help a food bank, support world missions or give to some other ministry that is helping the needy. When you do that, it pleases God and He will meet your needs. In the story of the widow, God multiplied the meal in her barrel to last for THREE AND A HALF YEARS!

Six: THE PAUL FAST
Are you faced with a major life decision and don’t know what to do? Maybe you have a job opportunity . . . a broken relationship or an unfulfilled dream. God has provided a way you can discern His voice—“The Paul Fast.” Saul was going the wrong way in life. He was hunting down followers of Christ and persecuting them when the light of God’s truth knocked him off his path (Acts 9:3-6). Saul headed to Damascus and “was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank” (Acts 9:9). Saul didn’t know what to do. But he fasted for God’s divine direction. Then God sent the disciple Ananias to Saul with guidance (Acts 9:17). Through this process Saul became Paul, one of God’s chosen disciples. Through his fast, Paul got the direction he needed and so can you.

Seven: THE DANIEL FAST
When we look at “The Daniel Fast,” this fast is a partial and a prolonged fast that yields health and healing. Found in Daniel, chapter 10, the Daniel Fast is a fast from meats, sweets, breads and any drink but water for 21 days (Daniel 10:2-3). Daniel and three others refused to eat the king’s meat and they “appeared better and fatter in flesh than all the young men who ate
the portion of the king’s delicacies” (Daniel 1:15). Daniel and his men were healthier!

Eight: THE JOHN THE BAPTIST FAST
John and his disciples fasted often, according to Matthew 9. He was on the Nazarite diet, which fasted alcohol all the time. He ate little more than locusts and wild honey (Matthew 3:1-4). Because of John the Baptist’s constant fasting, I believe he had a greater testimony and influence on the lives of people in his generation than any other man (Matthew 11:1), (John 1:6-7).

Nine: THE ESTHER FAST
“The Esther Fast” is the fast for “protection against danger.” We live in a world full of predators, disasters and evil. But don’t live in fear. God has provided the blessing of protection. Esther was in a very dangerous position. Her uncle Mordecai discovered a plot by Haman, one of the king’s advisors, to destroy her family. When he asked for Esther’s help, she knew it was very dangerous to approach the king without being called for. She could lose her life. So Esther declared a three-day fast for God’s protection (Esther 4:16). Haman wanted to hang Mordecai on the gallows he was building in his courtyard, but God turned it around and the evil conspirator was hanged instead, on his own gallows! When you fast and pray, God will extend His protection to you and your household.

Here is the Recap
THE DISCIPLES FAST — freedom from
addictions to sin.
THE EZRA FAST — for help with financial troubles.
THE SAMuEL FAST — for national revival.
THE ELIJAH FAST — for negative emotional
feelings and habits.
THE WIDoW’S FAST — humanitarian needs of others.
THE PAuL FAST — major life decisions.
THE DANIEL FAST — health and healing.
THE JoHN THE BAPTIST FAST — influence on others.
THE ESTHER FAST — for protection against danger.