Day 27: Fasting (Its Benefits and Rewards)
"But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." Matthew 6:17-18 "So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” Mark 9:29 Today, I give thanks for fasting. For as much as it is a sacrifice and requires discipline, its benefits and rewards are far greater than its requirements (sacrifice). Fasting is the practice of abstaining from all or some food and drink for a certain period of time. Most often, it is a practice done for religious purposes but many folk in secular spaces have heard about or seen the benefits of this practice and have decided to partake in it as well. God expects me and all of his other disciples to fast. If you read the verse, Matthew 6:17 again, it states "when" you fast not "if" you fast. Throughout my life, several times a year, fasting has been a ritual practice of obedience, discipline, and for seeking God. Many people can never imagine why someone would readily subject themselves to not having the necessities of food and water. However, if they knew the benefits and rewards of fasting, they would be less reluctant to participate. Since I always like to reference my life experience, advice given, and knowledge from the Bible, when I reference the benefits and rewards of fasting, I'll give scriptural stories and references of when the benefits of fasting are seen. In the book of Daniel, Daniel and his three friends were taken into Babylonian captivity and were chosen to be part of the king's service. All the men that were chosen were to be given the king's meat and drink. However, Daniel and his friends (Daniel 1:8) decide to fast, rejecting the king's food, and asked to be given vegetables and water for ten days. After the ten days, they were found to look healthier than the men who were given the king's meat. Additionally, because of their fasting, God gave them knowledge and skills in all learning and wisdom. Daniel was also blessed with the gift of interpreting visions and dreams. When these four men stood before the king and he examined them, the king found that their knowledge, wisdom and understanding was 10 TIMES better than the magicians and astrologers and he could find NONE EQUAL TO THEM (Daniel 1:20). In the bible book of Ester, Ester's uncle tells her of a plot to destroy all of her people. Her uncle Mordecai asks her to go to her husband, the king, to ask him to save her people from destruction. She tells her uncle Mordecai to have the people fast with her for three days, rejecting food and drink completely and praying for her to have favor to see the king. After the fast, Ester, decides to break the normal protocols of the palace and kingdom, knowing that she may die in the process, and goes to see her husband to ask for his favor to save her people. Ultimately, Ester found FAVOR with her husband and was not killed for violating protocol to see him. She was also able to save her people from complete annihilation. In II Chronicles, three enemy kingdoms came to wage war against King Jehoshaphat. When the people told him that enemies were coming to attack him, he called a fast within the entire nation (verse 3) so that they could seek God to receive strategies on how to fight against their enemies. As the entire nation fasted and prayed, a prophetic word came forth to give them strategy on how to defeat their enemy. They were given the strategy and they didn't even have to fight in the battle. They received victory over all their enemies and gathered all the plunder and spoils of war. I can go on and on about different biblical accounts where people reaped the benefits of fasting. However for the sake of time, I'll give a simple recap of the benefits and rewards of fasting from the examples previously mentioned. Fasting gives a clarity of knowledge and understanding that allows one to be ten times better at her craft or skill. Often, fasting will release a new gift, as with the case of Daniel to see visions and interpret dreams. Fasting will give one a tremendous amount of favor to go against traditional standards, and still have success. Lastly, fasting allows one to defeat one's enemy. On several occasions in my life, I have personally experienced all of the benefits of fasting. Several years ago, I needed a job immediately and couldn't find anything. I fasted for three days, asking God to open a job opportunity and to give me favor during my interview so that I could be hired immediately. Through a connection, a job opportunity finally came and I received an interview. I prepared copies of my resume and begin to pray for success during the interview. Several minutes into the interview, the interviewer asked me a question that I answered very thoroughly. She said she was hiring me immediately because she had never seen someone be as thorough and exude such confidence as I had in an interview. I got the job, making a great salary, which allowed me to pay off debt. I had that job for several years and had received so much favor with my boss. I even got several accolades and recognition awards during my time there. During my first two years of medical school, God told me that fasting would have to be a lifestyle for me because there were so many plots by enemies to destroy me, my physical being and my character. Several people were engaging in witchcraft practices to hurt me. However, nothing they did affected me. At one point, I had hemoglobin levels of 3 and 4 mg/dl, after blood transfusions, and my doctor could not understand why I was still breathing, still carrying out my normal activities, and still with joy. I looked and felt healthy, in spite of what my lab results were saying. My doctor asked me how I managed to do what I was doing. When I answered that "God was protecting me from death," he had no idea how to respond. I knew that is was my fasting and prayer that kept the enemy from overtaking or destroying me. There have been times in my life where I have had stubborn situations in my family, my finances, my career that had given me so much resistance. At one point, I even had a heavy addiction to sex and struggled with lust. No matter what I did, the resistance I encountered to be free from some of these problems and bondages were so great. No amount of crying or being emotional would help get rid of the problem, neither did just prayer resolve the issue. It was only when I implemented prayer and fasting, the dynamic duo of power, together that I had enough inertia to break those stubborn, resistant bondages off of my life. After all, in the book of Mark chapter 9 and verse 29, Jesus tells his disciples that "this kind" of demon only comes out by prayer and fasting. Are you looking to get more skill, knowledge, understanding and wisdom and be ten times better than everyone around you? Do you want God to release new gifts and talents into your life that will be beneficial to you and others around you? Are you looking to have a favor that makes absolutely no sense and will open doors of opportunity that should not be open to you? Perhaps, you need to get rid of some addictions and life issues that have been plaguing you for a really long time. Do you want to gain strategies to overcome and defeat all of your enemies? If you have answered "yes" to all of these questions, the ball is now in your court. You know exactly what you have to do--fast (and pray) to receive the necessary outcome for which you are believing God. Today as we give thanks for fasting, I invite you to discipline yourself and put this practice to the test. You will be amazed at the results. Love Ya Have a great day of thanks!