“Have Faith As A Grain Of Mustard Seed And Nothing Shall Be Impossible Unto You By Prayer And Fasting”
(St. Matthew 17 : 20-21)
We are studying a subject that has been hidden, yet in plain sight, for more than nineteen hundred years;
Still, we hear sceptical `Doubting Thomases` say they read about FASTING in the Bible and that is all they ever intend to learn about it. When asked how long it has been since they have fasted ten or even three days, they cry out against it, condemning the very thing that they know nothing about, trying to excuse themselves for their wilful or ignorant neglect.
These `truth-condemners` read fasting in the Bible; But they close their ears and push the thought of it right out of their minds just like they stuff God right out of their lives in their `three or four meal a day` stuffing habits. They wilfully refuse to GIVE HEED to the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Word of God for fear they may see something in fasting to convict them so, that they can`t go on fulfilling the lusts of the flesh (Romans 13 vs 14.)
It is very peculiar how folks cry out against something that they, themselves, won`t accept, simply to excuse their ignorance, etc.
“For the time will come when they will not endure SOUND DOCTRINE; but after THEIR OWN LUSTS shall they heap to themselves TEACHERS, HAVING ITCHING EARS; AND THEY SHALL TURN AWAY THEIR EARS FROM THE TRUTH, AND SHALL BE TURNED TO FABLES”
(2nd. Timothy 4: vs 3-4)
The word `Lusts` can be defined as the wrong `desire` or use of our appetites, the most powerful of our habits being HUNGER. Many times in the Old Testament, God distinctly called `HUNGER` a LUST. This was `habit hunger` — but real, true hunger demands food to nourish the body and is necessary. (Deuteronomy 12 :15-22)
No wonder prayers are seldom answered any more; The Spirit of God has departed from so many Christians and there is such a lack of the gifts and the old-time power.
Jesus spent a great deal of time teaching `Fasting and Abstemious living`. His very Life was an example of fasting and prayer. Fasting is called a pillar of the Christian religion. Jesus stressed fasting in His Sermon on the Mount in the same manner in which He stressed `giving` and ` prayer` (St. Matthew 6 :1-18). He promised a special reward to those that fasted, the same as He did for `prayer` and `giving`, called alms. These were fundamental truths of the religion of Jesus Christ. In the early church they were called, `the three foundations`.
Since when are they not to be??
The same Jesus that said,
“It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you”
(St John 16:17),
“When the Bridegroom shall be taken from them, then shall THEY FAST”
(St. Matt: 9:15)
Here are two major things that His children will do when Jesus goes. When the Christ goes away, they were to tarry in Jerusalem and He would give them the Comforter (St. Luke 24:49) —
then the `Power.`
The disciples and believers also remembered His precious words about fasting. They would (1) FAST and receive the (2) COMFORTER if he went away.
After they received the Comforter, they could also obtain the power (St. Luke 24:49).
Did He go?
All right, the fast is already laid upon one here!
We do not have to wait and wait for the Lord to lay a fast upon us. He had already done so when He went away 1900 years ago. Let all of us obey His Commandments and Teachings;
Let us follow our Jesus all the way through to see results.
This pleases, glorifies and honors Him.
It wasn`t necessary for the Bridegroom`s children to fast when their Bridegroom was present.
He had fasted and was well able, with this more perfect Faith to heal the sick and supply them with everything, including their meat.
It would not be courteous or hospitable for Jesus, their Bridegroom, to come expecting His children to fast when He, a very wonderful Saviour, had come to visit with His own and be present with them.
We find Jesus, also, placed a new meaning upon the subject of fasting.
Fasting would no more be just for a Memorial Day like the Jews were keeping it, but, after He would leave, His followers could obtain, through fasting, what they had without fasting when He was in their midst.
In other words “they would fast” to bring back His glory and power in their lives, similar to the manner in which they had it by His very Presence when He was in their midst.
Fasting would give them the FAITH so they too, could go out and do everything that Jesus had done (St. John 14:12)
and because Jesus fasted often and, also, He fasted forty days, then Jesus went out, with all FAITH, to undo the works of Satan.
Jesus said they would do even greater things than He had done but, however, not without fasting because proper fasting brings out the glory of the Spirit and the power of Faith.
Again in St. Matthew, chapter 17, given at the beginning, we are given a great revelation as to WHY JESUS FASTED.
He fasted so that He, too, would have the FAITH that removes mountains.
He revealed to the powerless disciples that ….
HIS FAITH WAS A PRODUCT OF FASTING AND PRAYER.
HE WENT SO FAR AS TO INFORM THEM THEY COULD HAVE THE VERY SAME KIND OF FAITH HE HAD, ONLY, THEY, ALSO, WOULD HAVE TO GO INTO THE PROPHET-LENGTH FAST, AS HE DID, AND PRAY IN ORDER TO SECURE IT.
This is the only logical explanation of Jesus` fast… Otherwise why did he fast??
Here is the great FAITH PRODUCER, .. FASTING AND PRAYER.
It works like a miracle and it is tremendously powerful.
Fasting is prayer Intensified.
It is the power of prayer amplified many times:
Prayer that reaches beyond ordinary prayer.
Prayer That Sees No Defeat!!
One explanation why the average person who has very little faith, cannot understand why fasting gives faith, is for the simple reason that FASTING IS TOO MUCH LIKE FAITH ITSELF.
Sometimes it may be likened unto faith`s brother.
We do not go by sight when we go by faith, and fasting is so much related to FAITH that it is the very threshold of FAITH itself.
It may be called the …
FATHER OF FAITH. FAITH IS BROUGHT FORTH AND IS CONCEIVED BY FASTING.
FAITH IS ILLUMINATED LIKE ATOMIC ENERGY THROUGH FASTING!!
A person without the `fasting faith` is like an automobile without sufficient power to climb a hill. The car will run on the level, but where great power is required, it becomes a failure, like the powerless disciples were, when they had not fasted.
The very weakness that one develops, through fasting, is the building of faith.
When one seems to be groping around in the dark and accomplishing nothing during a fast, that is actually the building of faith.
Paul tells us, “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2nd. Corinthians 12:10).
Of course, the fast has to be dedicated to the Lord by anointing oneself with oil or, when a large group unites in a fast together, the elders could anoint with oil.
This dedicates and makes the fast more holy. It also acknowledges that the spirit has something to do with the successful conclusion of the fast.
An individual should also go into very deep consecration, yieldedness, prayer, “and rend your heart”
Sometimes it will be difficult to pray, but don`t worry, even a few moments of prayer during the fast is equivalent to several hours of prayer outside the fast, if the fast has been underway more than a few days.
One should weep and mourn.
After the weakness and the refinement of the blood, the body usually becomes stronger day by day and the candidate can pray longer. It usually requires between eight to fifteen days for the faster to become stronger.
The body has to purify itself through the fast;
Likewise, the purification of the heart and soul has to get underway.
Satan`s great bugaboo is that we are harming ourself and are becoming delapidated, old and haggard-looking.
This is all a lie; There is not one word of truth in this.
Fasting purifies the body and cleans up the tabernacle of the Holy Spirit when water is taken.
If one was weak or had headaches and other weaknesses, the fast, in itself, will eradicate this and make a new creature out of the individual, as well as a new spiritual Giant.
The physical benefits are secondary blessings, however.
The main object of fasting is to have the power and faith of the spirit.
Let us thank Jesus for both the physical and spiritual benefits the food abstentionist receives from the Father of Faith!! …
The above article is from the teaching ministry of the late Rev. Franklin Hall of Phoenix, Arizona