To set our hearts ablaze for God, we must acknowledge, recognize, and revel in his desire for us.
Jesus is the Bridegroom God that is fascinated with us – all day long. Therefore, fasting is a unique, and intimate way in which we draw near to the Father – and become fascinated with HIM. Taken from The Rewards of Fasting by Mike Bickle, I outline an overview of the text to give you a quick glimpse into how we can start a regular routine of fasting.
According to Mike Bickle, there are seven ways of biblical fasting, and I summarize each below:
- Fasting to experience the power of God in personal ministry: Fun fact, the early church fasted twice a week, on Wednesdays and Fridays. Back then, the apostle Paul, John the Baptist, and many others understood that fasting was the fastest way to connecting with the Holy Spirit. It drew us so close to Him we could Kiss the Lord.
- Fasting for prophetic revelation of the end times: The end of the age is coming – and the Bridegroom, King, and Judge is coming on a cloud of fire. When Daniel was in prayer, the angel Gabriel came to him that he might increase in prophecy (Dan 9:3). He gave Daniel a vision, and said to Daniel, “Do not fear, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words” (Dan 10:12). Whew, what supernatural anointing and ability David had to understand the Lord’s plan for the end times. He encountered the Lord’s presence and increased in understanding because he fasted and prayed before the Lord.
- Fasting for the fulfillment of God’s promises to our city or nation: God does not want us to wait without expectation. He wants to wait with eagerness for the fulfillment of His promises, in thanksgiving, prayer, and fasting. In this heart position, we can gladly pray and seek the vision over our cities and nations. A great example of this was the prophetess Anna, who prayed and fasted for more than SIXTY years that God would visit Israel and fulfill his promises to them (Luke 2:36-38). Sixty years! Could you imagine waiting SIXTY years for God to fulfill his destiny for your people? Could you imagine praying, and waiting on the Lord for provision for sixty years? Most of us cannot even take waiting a minute for a microwaved hot pocket, let alone waiting sixty years for God to deliver us!
- Fasting to stop a crisis: There are many examples in the Bible of followers who took to prayer and fasting to avert a crisis. In modern day, there are national days of prayer instituted to call a nation to a position of sitting before the Lord, waiting. An example is Hannah, the mother of Samuel, who was so distressed by her physical barrenness that she wept and did not eat for many days. She cried out to God in prayer and fasting so much so that God eventually delivered her, heard her cry, and gave her a son that eventually became a great prophet (1 Sam 1:7).
- Fasting for protection: When Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den, King Darius and Daniel prayed and fasted for his protection. It was because of his prayer and fasting that God shut the mouths of the lions and spared him.
- Fasting for direction: While in Antioch, Paul prayed and fasted for prophetic direction with his missionary team. Jesus prayed all night to receive anointing wisdom in selecting his twelve disciples.
- Fasting for encounter and intimacy with God: A concept that Mike Bickle highlights in his book is something called the Global Bridegroom Fast, a call to fast in desiring Jesus more than anything and to seek spiritual renewal. It’s time for us to align our hearts and desires with the Lord and set ourselves apart to increase in knowledge of God’s love for us.
In my next post I will talk about the Rewards of Spiritual Fasting and how we can step into God’s favor through prayer and fasting. Like what you see? Comment below and sign up for my weekly newsletter launching THIS week!