I am beyond thrilled with the season that we are entering, and I am convinced that God desires to immerse us in His presence. Wednesday, March 6th will be the kickoff to our corporate 40 days of fasting. Pastor Jack Hayford, an incredible leader in the Body of Christ, describes “Fasting” as a kind of feast and a celebration in spiritual dynamic that frees us into a fresh and new connection with Jesus Christ. Let me share some thoughts with you concerning this meaningful practice.
Fasting is scriptural: The Word of God makes it clear that fasting is an instrument of spiritual power, a key by which bonds of evil are broken and God's counsels are received and established in the affairs of man (Isaiah 58:6-8; Mark 9:29; Acts 13:2, 3).
Jesus taught fasting: By His own word and example, Jesus taught fasting and said that in the era following His earthly ministry, it would be a part of the disciplines of His people (Matthew 4:2, 6: 16; Mark 2:20). The Bible does not suggest that fasting is to be thought a means of earning God's favor or of improving one's status with God. Therefore, we do not fast as a religious or a superstitious exercise, hoping to gain God's special attention or tip invisible scales of blessing in our direction. We believe every good thing that comes from God is a gift (James 1: 17) and is the product of His grace, not of human endeavor (Ephesians 2:8, 9).
The Objective of the Fast
In prayer, I along with servant leaders in our church, have felt the Lord's purpose for us in this fast is fourfold;
The reasons for this are:
1. There is a purging and purifying of the Body the Lord wants to accomplish. Fasting is a means of physical cleansing in the physiological realm, and we believe the Lord is prepared to work in a special way to purge certain things from our lives as we wait on Him during days of fasting and prayer. Open the Word often, it cleanses (John 15:3). In prayer, confess sin and give place to cleansing (1 John 1:7). As Daniel and his companions refused the diet of the world around them and proved God's superior workings in their own lives (Daniel 1), let us come with fasting before God and expect a purging from dead works and ways (2 Timothy 2:20, 21).
2. Because the spiritual battle is presently one of special crisis at the local, national and international points.As a congregation we live with a sense of biblical assignment to give priority to intercessory prayer for these issues, knowing that peace is contingent upon such prayer (1 Timothy 2:1-3). With a fast, we are mounting an offense in the arena of the invisible, fully confident that prayer for breakthrough can change the tangled problems of political, economic and military conditions throughout our world. Furthermore, our passion for the local issues within El Dorado County compels us to contend for our law- enforcement, first responders, as well as with our civic leaders and schools. With simple faith we are calling upon God to strike down evil and to manifest His justice, give leaders grace and wisdom, release people from oppression and overthrow the confusing works of flesh and evil.
3. Because there are family members and personal friends who need salvation and spiritual release.One of the most moving episodes in the ministry of Jesus is the deliverance and healing of a father's son through the Savior's power. The disciples wondered at the work Jesus did and asked why they were unable to master the demonic power involved, as they often had by the authority Jesus had given them. Jesus answered, "Because this kind (of demon) does not come out except by prayer and fasting"(Matthew 17; Mark 9). Similarly, we understand the Holy Spirit to be saying that our prayer and fasting is ordained to be a means by which a new surge of grace will begin to enter circumstances that seem hopelessly bound up by both human and demonic devices. The promise sounding forth is that a new wave of evangelism and miracles are ready to break out across our county and the earth. Our fasting and prayer is focused on seeing breakthrough move into our homes, our families and our circles of relationships.
4. We stand in partnership with our sister-churches in our region who are contending for the kingdom of God to be fully evident in our region. It is our calling at Bayside Church of Placerville to cast a panoramic-Biblical vision for all who planted at our church to grow into becoming a kingdom people not just church people. The kingdom is bigger than the Church! The church is part of the kingdom and as a result we do not compete with other churches but rather we are called to partner with them in seeing the kingdom break forth! During this fast we will be praying for other churches and pastors in our region that the Lord would continue to work in a powerful way through their ministry.
I will follow up this letter with a letter on how to observe the fast. I want to finish this with one more thought: “During this Fast let’s get out of the BOX and into His Kingdom!”
Seeking His Kingdom with you,
Bayside Church of Placerville