[Bible, Ministry & More] The power and joy of biblical fasting

Bill Elliff is the founding and national engage pastor at The Summit Church in North Little Rock. He also serves on the Prayer Task Force at the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. His passion is to see genuine revival.

If you are a follower of Christ, you carry a deep longing for MORE. More of Christ—more of His presence, His will, His voice, His direction. More fruit and effectiveness; more life change for you and those around you. More revival and spiritual awakening.  

Christ understands this desire because He placed it there! The Holy Spirit is in you if you are a believer, convincing and convicting, drawing you towards God. He does this because He knows your greatest life is found when you are walking in deepest intimacy with Him.  

It delights His heart when you are experiencing Him. He “has no greater joy than this that to see [His] children walking in the truth” (3 John 4). He knows that your soul’s only true satisfaction comes when you are experiencing His presence. “In Your presence is fullness of joy and at your right hand are pleasures forevermore,” David said (Psalm 16:11).  

But there’s more…God wants your life to reach its highest effectiveness for His kingdom. He has plans to reach people that no one else can reach except you. He wants you to bear much, remaining fruit for your good, others’ good and God’s glory! This can only happen when you are walking deeply with Him.  

His tools and His means 

Since God has designed you with such longing and purpose, there is a Divine design to make this happen! He has created tools and means by which you can “draw near to God” with the promise that when you do, He will “draw near to you” (James 4:8). Bible study, prayer, worship, preaching, community with other believers, communion, and ministry are all tools God has given you to draw near to Him. But one of the important tools that is often overlooked is the biblical practice of fasting.  

The purpose 

There are multiple biblical examples, exhortations and reasons to fast. It’s important as you approach a fast to determine why God is calling you to fast and what He is wanting to accomplish. Fasting is seen in Scripture . . . 

  • As an aid to prayer (Ezra 8:21-23) 
  • As a sign of and aid to repentance (1 Samuel 7:6) 
  • To beseech God for revival and spiritual awakening (Joel 2:12) 
  • To overcome sin and temptation (Matthew 4:1-11) 
  • To hear God more clearly or discover His will (Acts 14:23) 
  • To humble and quiet one’s soul (Psalm 35:13) 
  • To prepare for ministry (Acts 13:1-3) 
  • As an expression of deep sorrow (2 Samuel 1:11-12) 
  • As an expression of mourning over sin — both personal and corporate (Nehemiah 1:3-4) 
  • As an act of pure worship and devotion to God (Luke2:37) 

Read this list again carefully. What are you anxious for God to do in your life and through your life through a season of fasting? Something that couldn’t be accomplished any other way?  

Jesus assumes that fasting will be a regular part of your spiritual life. “WHEN you fast,” Jesus said, not “IF you fast” (Matthew 6:16, emphasis mine). Perhaps a better posture for believers would be that we are to assume (like Jesus) that fasting should be a regular exercise and not a rare experience.  

God wants you to live and minister in spiritual power! But the secret of such power is to walk with God — to lay aside all that is aborting His presence and power. There’s more for you with God if you will humbly, faithfully pursue Him with all your heart through Word-filled prayer and fasting.  

Join other Arkansas Baptists who are uniting in 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting right now. Click here to sign up to receive a daily email reminder.  

For more information, read “The Power and Joy of Biblical Fasting” by Bill Elliff. Copies can be ordered at www.billelliff.org 

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