The Guillens were a bright,
young, cheerful couple--cheerful despite the fact that their
daughter was born with a large lump on the side of her neck. The
child was beautiful, but the massive growth drew attention away
from her pretty features.
Along with our church, they
prayed diligently for her healing. Yet their prayers, including
ours, did not seem to avail.
Then one day I received a call
from this couple. "Pastor, our little girl is healed! The
growth is gone!" The next day they shared their wonderful
testimony with our church. With my own eyes I could verify this
healing. There she was. Perfectly healed! No trace of the growth
The thing that impressed me the
most was not the healing, but HOW the healing took place.
This was the Guillens'
"The Lord laid upon our
hearts to fast for our daughter. We didn't know much about
fasting but we did it anyway. Our daughter began to complain that
her neck was hurting. Soon she was screaming in pain. The soft
growth turned hard. We were concerned, but we knew God had called
us to fast for our daughter, and we knew she would be healed. One
morning we noticed that the growth was a little smaller. The next
day it shrank more. Finally, the growth disappeared
The thing that struck me the
most about this testimony was the Guillens' fast. I'm convinced
that their fasting produced the healing.
There are some problems too
large for our faith alone to handle. This is when we need to
fast. Fasting enlarges the capacity for faith. Faith does not
come by fasting, but fasting can open your heart wider to receive
more faith. Faith comes only by hearing God's Word, but fasting
can make you more sensitive to listening to God's Word. The
result is more faith.
Fasting is a dirty word among
us American Christians. We don't like to hear sermons on it...but
deep down inside we know it is important.
Few understand the link between
power and fasting.
After failing to drive out an
evil spirit from a boy, the disciples asked the Lord why they
were unable to cast it out. Jesus answered, "This kind of
spirit can come out only by prayer and fasting " Prayer
alone could not heal this boy; it would take fasting, too.
Someone may ask, "Tom,
what is the point of fasting, since fasting doesn't change
It's true that fasting does not
change God, but neither does prayer. God is always the same
before and after we pray. Yet no one would suggest that we stop
praying. Prayer, after all, causes God to do things for us that
He would not have done without our praying. The same is true of
fasting. Prayer with fasting will accomplish much more than
THREE KINDS OF
Before we consider why fasting
works, we should first understand the different kinds of fast.
The first kind is a
"complete fast." A complete fast is described in Esther
4:16: "...Do not eat or drink for three days, night or
day..." A complete fast is abstaining from both food and
water. Notice carefully that Esther proclaimed a complete fast
for three days and nights. You should never go on a complete fast
for more than three days. Three days is the limit, because you
cannot go without water for more than four or five days.
The second kind of fast is a
"regular fast." This is when you abstain from only
food. You may drink as often as you like. Some find it helpful to
drink juices. You can maintain a fairly long fast this way.
The third kind of fast is a
"partial fast." This is found in Daniel 10:2-3:
"At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice
food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at
all until the three weeks were over." Daniel said that he
ate no choice food. This means he ate, but not tasty foods like
enchiladas, tacos, chile rellenos, and all those good foods we
like to eat. This is why Daniel could fast for three weeks--a
long time. We should not attempt a lengthy fast without some
The only fasts that were longer
were supernatural fasts. Moses on Mount Sinai, Jesus in the
desert are the famous fasts we think of. But these were
supernatural fasts, and we should not attempt these on our own.
Why does fasting work? The
answer is found in understanding how God answers prayer.
Ephesians 3:20 clues us in:
"Now to him [God] who is able to do immeasurably more than
all we ask or imagine, ACCORDING TO his power that is at work
This scripture does NOT promise
that God answers our prayers immeasurably more than what we ask.
It only says that God is ABLE to do more than what we ask or
imagine. The key phrase to understanding this scripture is the
phrase "according to."
The words "according
to" suggest that prayer is answered in proportion to
something. That "something" is "God's power that
is at work within us." In other words, God will answer your
prayers according to the amount of power that is currently at
work within your spirit. God uses the power working within you to
answer your own prayers!
If there is little power
working in your spirit, then God does little for you. If there is
a lot of power working in you, then God does a lot for you. It's
The key to answered prayer is
having power working within your spirit!
What does this have to do with
Very simply this. Your spirit
and your flesh are in opposition to each other. One will win and
gain control and the other will lose and forfeit control. Either
your flesh wins or your spirit wins. If your spirit wins, then
you become stronger in spirit. This will enable more spiritual
power to work within you. The result is obvious: your prayers are
And how does your spirit get
strength? The same way your flesh gets strength. By catering to
Your reborn spirit gets
stronger when you furnish what the spirit desires. Your spirit
desires the Word of God, prayer, holiness, Christian fellowship,
etc. The more you give your spirit these things, the stronger the
spirit will become. The same is true with your flesh.
The primary desires of the
flesh are food, water, sleep--yes, even sex. Satisfy these
cravings, and the body will want more.
The flesh gains strength when
it gets what it wants. We call this result "habit." A
habit is formed by repeating a behavior.
Let me illustrate. I have
developed a certain habit of taking a nap at about two in the
afternoon. At around that time I get sleepy. The ironic thing
about this is that if I don't get my hour's nap I still feel
refreshed at around three--as if I had taken my nap.
I have realized that my body
has developed a habit of getting sleepy at this time because I
have catered to it by giving it sleep. At times I have broken
this habit and not taken a nap because I had too much work to do.
After a few days of going without a nap my body no longer gets
tired at two.
We can develop habits such as
eating at a certain hour, sleeping at a specific time, smoking at
a designated period, and so forth.
The reverse is also true. The
flesh loses strength when it does not get what it wants. This is
where fasting can aid you in defeating the power of the flesh.
Fasting deprives the flesh of
its desires, thereby crippling its strength.
Fasting causes the flesh to
lose ground. Add prayer to fasting, and you can readily see the
result: The flesh loses ground while at the same time your spirit
Imagine your flesh and spirit
are in a race against each other. Every time you do something for
them, they move forward. So here you are. You pray, read the
Word, go to church--and as a result your spirit moves forward.
Yet at the same time you feed your body food as usual. So your
flesh races forward, keeping up with your spirit. This goes on
continually in most people's lives. And we wonder why we are not
making spiritual progress--growing in faith, love, grace, and
What's the solution? FAST.
Fasting makes your flesh go backwards, while praying will rocket
your spirit forward, leaving your flesh way behind.
Finally, let me mention one
important thing about fasting. YOU WILL GET HUNGRY!
People sometimes are surprised
to find how hungry they get when they fast. Even Jesus got hungry
when He fasted.
This is when Satan will come to
tempt you to get off your fast. He'll say, "Now, why are you
fasting? Isn't it to get your mind on God?! Well, what are you
thinking of right now. F-O-O-D!!! This fast is not doing you any
good, because your mind is on eating. I tell you what. Give your
body a "Big Mac" and I'll let you read the Bible and
pray twice as long."
Oh, those thoughts will be so
enticing. But don't fall for them. Your ravishing appetite is
only proof of how strong your flesh has become. The devil will
fight you for the first three days. This is how long it takes for
the body to lose most of its hunger. When this happens, WATCH
OUT! There is no greater spiritual high than breaking the hunger
barrier. And you will break it, if you will last longer than
Your body becomes liberated
after three days of fasting. Your spirit is free to worship God
without the hindrance of the flesh. Your spirit is transformed
like "Arnold Schwarzenegger," ready to
"terminate" the works of hell and reach into heaven to
effortlessly pull down every blessing belonging to you!