Tuesday begins our ten days of prayer and fasting as a church. We are not doing this as some kind of religious ritual. There is a divine purpose that drives our commitment to pray and fast.
NoLimits Church is called by God to make Owasso a safe haven until Jesus comes. This assignment requires us to become a church committed to prayer and fasting.
Or, we can just be a social club like most churches in America. We can come in once per week to engage in surface-level relationships and enjoy a nice time together.
But something tells me that’s not what you want. You’d rather this place resemble the church in the Book of Acts, full of God’s power and explosive multiplication.
Am I right? Is that what you want?
Then, convenient Christianity must come to an end. We must transition from people who are committed to convenience to people who are committed to crucifying the flesh.
It’s quite curious how the American church somehow got away from fasting. Even prayer has become an afterthought.
We love our music and our preaching. But prayer… we’ll just use that to create a smooth transition from one part of the show to another, if we even pray at all.
Can you believe that almost every church service in America is void of a genuine time of prayer? Didn’t Jesus say that this is to be called a house of prayer? Not a house of worship or great preaching, but prayer.
Why prayer and fasting?
Somehow, we’ve lost sight of prayer and fasting. Do you think that has anything to do with the lack of God’s power in our churches today, including this one?
I am calling you to ten days of prayer and fasting. This is not a casual recommendation. This is a sincere request from the pastor God has set over this church. I am calling you to the spiritual battlefield to do what it takes to see the fullness of God’s power.
There’s not one of us that doesn’t need to fast. How do I know this? Because there isn’t one of you who isn’t frustrated with the lack of results from your faith.
You want to see the sick healed, the dead raised, and the demon-possessed cured. Not here and there, but every time. The key to getting there is prayer and fasting.
This is a scriptural truth. In Matthew 17, we find out that the disciples were unable to cure a demon-possessed boy. Then, Jesus showed up and took care of it for them.
Afterward, the disciples asked Jesus why they couldn’t do it. After all, they had been casting out demons and healing the sick leading up to this failed encounter. Here’s what Jesus said:
Matthew 17:20-21 NKJV – So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
So, what was the problem? Unbelief. Let’s dig into the original Greek word to make sure we understand.
Apistia [unbelief] – Unfaithfulness, faithless, want of faith, unbelief, weakness of faith
Jesus said all it takes is a tiny amount of faith for nothing to be impossible. But in this instance, the disciples found themselves faithless. They wanted faith but were without faith.
Jesus said, “This kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” Many have assumed he was talking about the kind of demon. But that is out of context. The context here is unbelief.
Jesus was saying, “This kind of unbelief does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” What kind of unbelief are we talking about? The kind you don’t know you have—hidden unbelief.
How do we know this? Because the disciples didn’t know they had unbelief. They had to ask Jesus why the demon didn’t leave.
When we think we are operating in faith but fail to see results, there is hidden unbelief. The only way to uncover and deal with it is through prayer and fasting.
That’s why I am calling you to ten days of prayer and fasting. Every single one of us has hidden unbelief that needs to be dealt with so we can fulfill our God-given assignment to make Owasso a safe haven until Jesus comes.
The Lost Art of Fasting
Since fasting is a lost art in the modern church, we must discuss what fasting is and isn’t. Otherwise, these ten days will not generate the results we are looking for.
So, what is a fast, according to the Bible?
Fast – To abstain from food
Nice and easy. Plain and simple. Americans don’t like to abstain from food, so we like to make it more complicated. But abstaining from food is really all there is to it.
Do you know what we have in common with people who lived two thousand years ago? We eat food, and we like it.
But you know what’s changed? Back then, it was part of their regular lives to go unsatisfied. They didn’t have an endless supply of meat and satiating food like we do.
So, if they needed to fast back then, how much more do we need to abstain from food now? I’d venture to say it might even be more effective now because food has such a hold on us.
Now that we know what a fast is, let me give you several things a fast is not. This will get us all on the same page.
A fast is NOT a kickstart to weight loss.
You are going to lose weight on a fast. But if that is your focus, you will miss out on the true purpose of fasting, which is to help you discover and cure unbelief.
A fast is NOT a different diet.
There’s a popular fast called the Daniel fast. That’s the one I did last time. However, when you do your Biblical research, you discover this wasn’t really a fast for Daniel. It was a lifestyle change.
It really shouldn’t be called the Daniel Fast. It’s not a fast. It should be called the Daniel Diet.
Surprisingly, I thought about food more on the Daniel Fast than usual. It also took more time to cook and plan meals. Kind of defeats the purpose of a fast, don’t you think?
There’s nothing wrong with the Daniel Diet. If that’s how you want to eat, go for it. Just don’t call it a fast.
It may sound like I am picking on the Daniel Fast, and I am. It’s an American cop-out. We don’t want to abstain from food, so we created an alternative.
To clarify, if all you are doing is swapping one type of food out for another, it is not a fast. It’s a change of diet.
A fast is NOT abstaining from ____.
The latest version of an American fast is choosing anything other than food to eliminate. We fast social media, or video games, or TV.
I’m not saying these aren’t good things to abstain from. Actually, this is a great way to enhance your fast. It’s just not a fast.
A fast is abstaining from food, plain and simple. Anything else you abstain from could be considered a fast enhancement or something you should have just been abstaining from all along.
Since this is so fun, look at someone next to you and ask, “Aren’t you glad Kade is clearing this up?”
A fast is NOT to motivate God.
Many people fast to try to get God to do something. That’s not the purpose of fasting.
Fasting doesn’t move God; He isn’t the one stuck. Fasting also doesn’t move the devil; he isn’t the one with my problem. Fasting deals with my unbelief.
Let me put it to you another way. Fasting doesn’t move God; it moves us to a place where we can receive from God. Fasting destroys the flesh’s hold on our lives so that, instead of operating out of the flesh, we continually operate out of the spirit.
After all, the only power satan has is the seduction and manipulation of your flesh nature. So, if you shut the flesh down through fasting, you shut satan down.
This reveals how fasting helps cure our unbelief. Fasting fulfills what has already been done in Christ: the flesh has been crucified. It has no right to dominate or rule over you.
Things That Ruin a Fast
Now that we are clear on what a fast is and is not, I need to take you to Isaiah 58, where we discover how to ruin your fast. Let’s turn there together and read the full chapter.
Based on this chapter, here’s a list of things that ruin a fast:
- Fasting to please yourself
- Fighting and quarreling
- Talking about others sins
- Going through the motions
- Refusing to help others in need
In the same chapter, we get a list of benefits of genuine fasting:
- Salvation comes
- Wounds quickly heal
- Clear direction from the Lord
- Divine protection
- Quick response from the Lord
- Restored strength
- Ability to rebuild cities
The benefits of fasting are enormous! Not only are we going to discover hidden unbelief and eliminate it, but we will experience everything we just talked about.
All of this by simply abstaining from food. Would you give up food for a little while to bring these things into your life? I hope the answer is yes. Because these benefits are far superior to the enjoyment we get from food.
How to Fast for 10 Days
At this point, I imagine many of you are concerned about abstaining from food for ten days. That’s a long time! But don’t worry. I’ll explain how this is completely doable.
First, a little trivia question. Does anyone know the longest recorded fast in the Bible and who it was?
Moses, Joshua, Elijah, and Jesus all completed a 40-day fast. That’s incredible, and it makes ten days not seem so bad.
One more trivia question. What is the most common length of a fast recorded in the Bible?
One-day fasts were the most common. There were also several three-day fasts and a slew of fasts that never mentioned the length.
Now, here’s something that is really going to help you out. The most common way to fast, as found in the Bible, is from sunup to sundown. That’s what I recommend you do for the ten days.
Drink water only from sunrise to sunset to align with a Biblical fast. Currently, this is from 7:30am to 5:30pm. Then, you can eat whatever you want outside of this timeframe.
Certain people should not do this: pregnant, nursing moms, kids under eighteen, and anyone with health conditions that would make fasting dangerous.
To make this clear, what we are really doing here is ten one-day fasts from sunup to sunsound.
Any questions about fasting before we move on?
Why Prayer Must Accompany Fasting
As we fast, we must not forget this is ten days of prayer and fasting. If you forget prayer, you’ll just have ten days of hunger.
Fasting empties us of our fleshly nature. But we don’t just need to be emptied; we need to be filled with the character of God. That’s what prayer accomplishes and why fasting and prayer go together.
During these ten days, take the time when you’d normally be eating or preparing food and pray instead. For example, if you are at work, spend your lunch hour in the car praying.
Set aside time at home to pray. Pray in the car on the way to and from work. Take every bit of margin within your schedule to pray.
When you’d normally pick up your phone to pass the time, pray instead. When you’d usually watch TV, pray instead. Pray every chance you get during these ten days.
If you are not used to praying much, you might wonder what to do with all this time. I’ll give you a few things to get you started.
- Praise God for who He is
- Recount all the good He’s done in your life
- Pray for your spouse, kids, and grandkids
- Other believers and the future of the church
- Our city government and school system
- The peace of Israel
- Read the Bible and talk to the Lord about it
- Sit quietly and listen to the Holy Spirit
- Pray in the Spirit
And most of all, pray in the spirit. When you pray in the spirit, you can be confident that you are praying God’s perfect will. It is the Holy Spirit praying through you.
I’ll be spending most of my time praying in the spirit and listening to the Holy Spirit. He will lead me into specific prayers and take me to scripture for confirmation of the things He is telling me.
If you are new to praying in the spirit, this is a great time to mature the gift you’ve been given. Even if you only have a few syllables, get after it and expect your heavenly prayer language to expand.
If you’ve yet to pray in the spirit, spend time asking God for the gift. He will give it to you. Simply receive the gift and cooperate with it by opening your mouth and speaking what you sense coming up out of your spirit.
The Lord is searching for those who will set their personal schedules aside to prioritize His house.
It’s time to uncover and eliminate the unbelief that prevents us from ministering as Jesus did, setting the captives free and healing all who are sick.
The only thing that stands between us and fulfilling the greater works Jesus told us we would do is our hidden unbelief. Thank God that prayer and fasting contain everything we need to remove the barrier.