Long fast vs Short fast
Just like the debate goes on about how the time spent in prayers impact on our spiritual lives so does the debate about whether a long fast or short fast is preferable rages as well. Many are of the opinion that anytime they fast it must be 40 days before God can answer, while there is the other side of the divide that believes 3 days is enough as God is not a task master! Neither of these two school of thoughts are right or wrong, it all depends on how we have come to define fasting.
And there is a basic definition or truth about fasting that is central to understanding this and which it seems every believer agrees on and that is ‘FASTING DOES NOT CHANGES GOD BUT CHANGES ME!' To buttress this David declared in Psalm 35:13, "I humbled my soul with fasting". When you fast it is your soul that is humbled and your Spirit that is strengthened! Before and after your fast God remains the same, 'he changeth not that's why ye sons of Jacob are not consumed' says the scriptures! However, after a fast, you as a person do not remain the same!
In Luke 4:1-2, 14 we were told how Jesus fasted, then few verses after we see the temptation from the devil, but in vs 14 the sum total of the change that took place in Jesus was summarized thus: "he returned in the power of the Spirit" and then in vs 18 his ministry was born as he declared his mission to the hearing of the religious leader! He was not the same person they use to know so they ask, 'Is this not Joseph's son?'(Luke 4:22) No! At this point he has been transformed from just been Joseph son to God's son! Hallelujah!!! Like it or not fasting changes you physically and spiritually! And when you are truly changed people will ask 'Is he the same person we use to know?'. The answer however is no! Because you have been changed from glory to glory!
Moses too fasted for 40 days too as recorded in Exodus 34:28 as he spent time with the Lord! But as he came down from that "mountain" something about him has changed as recorded in verse 29-30.
‘So he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights. He neither ate bread or drink water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten commandments. When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses and behold, the skin of his face shone and they were afraid to come near him…and when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face’ (Exodus 34:28-30,33 ESV)
His face was shining and radiating God's glory! It was so much that no one can look on his face, he had to put a veil! What transformation!
Elijah too fasted for forty days as recorded in 1 Kings 19:8 and thereafter received instruction to anoint his successor!
Now these 3 - Jesus, Moses and Elijah that belong to the 40 days fasting group (no other person was mentioned in scripture again and having fasted for 40days) were the same three that appear on the mount of transfiguration! How coincidental? We talk about that later. But one thing is sure when we fast: WE ARE CHANGED!
The principal effect of our fast is on us and not on God! Fasting change us so that we in turn can change our situations and circumstances as higher level of spiritual power determines the level of spiritual authority that we can exercise! That's why Jesus pointed out "THESE KIND goeth not out but by prayer and fasting..." What a weighty statement. Simply put you cannot attain to certain spiritual powers and authority needed to deal with certain kind of situations except by prayer and fasting!
It therefore invariably means that the more I want to be changed, the more I give myself to prayer and fasting! The more I want to be wet the longer I will stay in the rain. The more I want to attain to higher level of spiritual authority the more I will give myself continually to prayer and fasting! One word has been repeated more in the last few sentences: 'WANT'. What you want determined the intensity of your pursuit of that thing. Another word to replace that is desire! David said "one thing have I desire of the Lord and that will I PURSUE after". How much of change that I want determines how much of it that I pursue. Our depths in God is determine by our level of our desire.
Long fast? Short fast? They are all statement that reveals the intensity of our desires. They all indicates how much we want what we want!
How much do I want to be changed? How much level of spiritual power and authority do I desire? The answer to these questions determines how long and how often we give ourselves to fasting and prayer.