The need for fasting
In the body of Christ of Nigeria, the beginning of every year is always marked with different churches engaging in different lengths of fasting and prayers. It is the season of fasting! Some fast for 21 days, some 50 days and there was a time we saw 100 days and as at present there are churches having the 70 days or lesser. We all know what the purpose of fasting is: It is a time of personal consecration and separation from many worldly pleasures, fleshly pleasures to seek the face of God. It is a time of setting oneself aside to seek Gods face over an issue, situation or circumstance. In Esther 4:16 it was recorded of Esther and God’s people:
‘Go gather together all the Jews that are present in Sushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so I will go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish I perish” (Esther 4:16).
And so Esther seek the face of God in fasting and prayer to gain the favor of the king.
In Isaiah 58:8 God speaking said, "Is this not the fast I ordained...". This implies that fasting is of God. God ordains this spiritual practice to undo in our lives what the enemy has done without his knowledge (Isaiah 58:8) amidst many other benefits of fasting that are listed in that Isaiah 58.
Fasting is a necessary part of the Christian adventure. Anyone still in doubt of this should read Matthew 9:14-15. Because I have often heard the excuse that "there is no need to fast 40 days or 7 days or 21 days or whatever days, Jesus has paid for everything on the cross". Yea he did pay for all our spiritual blessings which sometimes will require our spiritual cooperation in fasting and prayer to release some of them, but he never pay for our spiritual laziness as manifest in many churches and believers life today!
Hiding on the premise of grace, many see no need for the spiritual rigors of fasting and prayer forgetting that grace, spiritual favor, comes the most to those who engage in spiritual labor. Paul said this grace came because I labor more than them all! He said in 2 Corinthians 11:27 how he was often in fasting and also encourage us to take on that lifestyle! (1 Corinthians 7:5).
Jesus knew he would die on the cross of Calvary and procure grace for believers in him yet when he was asked why his disciples were not fasting he told them now is not the time, but when the bridegroom is taken away from them then SHALL THEY FAST! It was not optional, it was mandatory! They must fast!
"Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast."(Matthew 9:14-15)
Grace gives no room for spiritual laziness, grace will only empower the saints to take on more spiritual responsibilities! That's what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:9-10, "GRACE ENABLES ME TO BE MORE RESPONSIBLE" Hallelujah! Graced Christians are not lazy Christians! Graced believers are not lazy believers! Because they can do all things in Christ who strengthens them! (Philippians 2:14)
So with grace believers can stand strong in the place of prayer and fasting for 14 days, 21 days, 30 days, 40 days and more! Grace will make them stand strong and stay consecrated and separated from all the pleasures of the world and of the flesh to pray for God's kingdom to come and for his will to be done on the earth! Grace makes us spiritually strong and not weak!
Grace keeps us on this spiritual adventure of long fast and as we fast we are graced more and more, the anointing increases, unction explodes and spiritual authority is expanded! The journey that grace started us on ends with us having more of that grace!!! Hallelujah!
"This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting" these were the words of the master. Simply put, there are certain level of unction you cannot attain to without some level of spiritual concentration in fasting and prayer! Spiritual intensity in the place of fasting and prayer will increase your spiritual authority!