PRACTICAL AND SUPERNATURAL: TWO WAYS FASTING CHANGES EVERYTHING
The miracles accomplished in Scripture were often directly related to fasting. One of the most remarkable examples is found in the biblical story of Esther. When the entire Jewish race was facing genocide, Esther called the Jewish people to a 3 day fast (Esther 4:16).
The results were incredible and the Jewish people were saved from extinction almost 500 years before the birth of Jesus. Every year the Jewish people still celebrate the miracle of deliverance described in the book of Esther. The festival is called Purim which involves gift giving, parties, and good food preceded by a day of fasting. Purim is March 11-12 this year. This is a great time to be reminded that God-through fasting and prayer- can change our problems into praises.
While Christians do not traditionally celebrate Purim, the miracle detailed in Esther is part of our spiritual history too, and we should recognize the power of fasting and prayer to change the direction of problems that appear insurmountable. When life looks out of control it’s time to fast and pray.
Actions in the story of Esther saved the Jewish people. How? There are two principles taught in Esther’s story that can still be true in your story.
1) The first principle almost has to be practiced to be believed. Fasting creates a culture of change. In Esther 4:14-17, Esther had become the Queen while keeping her Jewish religion confidential. Meanwhile, a law had been passsed to kill every Jew. One of her relatives-Mordecai- gets Word to her secretly to do whatever she can to stop the killing of her people. Although she was the Queen, she had no real power or authority. She needed a miracle because the law was out of her hands and circumstances were out of her control. So what did she do? She called a 3 day fast. “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.” (Esther 4:16)
Scripture is clear. It was the fast that triggered the change in circumstances that eventually led to the reversal of the evil planned against God’s people. Fasting always creates a climate for change.
Are there circumstances in your personal life or in your family that appear to be out of your control? Perhaps they are out of your control but nothing is outside of God’s control. He still changes things that seem to be unchangeable. Individuals, families, cities and nations can still be changed by the power of God when His people fast and pray.
I have also noticed when I fast and pray the will of God seems clearer and God often surprises me with the unexpected. Perhaps it’s because my faith is more acute during a fast, and my spirit is more receptive to what God is already doing all the time. Lisa Bevere insightfully recognized this phenomenon when she said, “A diet changes the way you look. A fast changes the way you see.” Is it time for you to see your problems differently? Try fasting and prayer.
God can change your problems or He can change the way you recognize His solutions, but either way fasting and prayer always creates change.
2) The second principle found in the miracle of Esther is needed as much today as it was back then. Fasting creates the courage for change.
“Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.” (Esther 4:16)
Some problems back us into a corner where we see no way out unless God intervenes. Esther was in that kind of dilemma. She had one option and if it failed she could have been executed. It was the 3 day fast that emboldened her to take the risk. She said, “…hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.” (Esther 4:16)
The culture of fasting always activates the courage for change. A few years ago I did a long fast in order to deepen my walk with God. During those days the Lord did a strong work in my life in which He challenged me. Honestly, at times I didn’t understand why the Lord was dealing with me in a way which at the time seemed severe. But the next few years required a spiritual resolve on my part that was developed as I had persevered through that difficult time of testing and correction, during the long fast. I have always believed since that I could not have faced the challenges of some hard years had I not gone through “the refiners fire” of the fast. God knows what we need before we need it and before we know it! Fasting develops spiritual courage and motivates us to take action even when there is risk involved.
Do you need a burst of spiritual courage to take action on your convictions? If so, fast and pray and watch God work in your life.
As we fast and pray for 40 days there’s still plenty of time for you to join us. Sign up for a day or more and expect God to take action in your personal life, in your family, and in the world around you. Expect the unexpected because when you do, change is on the way!
Sign up at hpbc.org/40days