It’s possible to go through a season of fasting feeling sluggish as if you’re not advancing in the Spirit or hearing from God. Anyone who has tried fasting over the years probably knows the feeling.
Fasting doesn’t need to be like driving in that old clunker that burns oil and always overheats. There are easy ways to turn your fast into a Lamborghini that is quick and responsive, making your season of fasting rewarding, fulfilling, encouraging, purifying, and exuberant. I call these the ways to super-charge your fast, found in Nehemiah.
Now in the twenty and fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, and with sackclothes, and earth upon them.
And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers.
And they stood up in their place, and read in the book of the law of the LORD their God one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and worshipped the LORD their God.
Let’s look at the seven principles from this account.
1. Get together with other Christians.
During times of corporate fasting, the church needs to assemble more. The pastor needs to schedule extra prayer meetings, so people are encouraged and feel they are part of a bigger cause.
I mentioned before that it’s also important to go to prayer meetings if you’re on an individual fast. You will appreciate the energy and anointing you receive to help you keep going.
It’s even a good idea to meet with other Christians in your neighborhood. Whatever you do, stay plugged in with other believers.
2. Get separated.
The Israelites cut themselves off from any non-believing influence. This doesn’t mean you should cut yourself off from co-workers, friends, or unsaved family, but that you deliberately, willfully purpose in your heart to focus on God and stay away from non-believing influences. This may mean a person, a television show, a radio program, certain magazines, the internet, or books.
Your spirit is especially open during a time of fasting. You are more sensitive not only to godly forces but to unclean forces. If you allow something in that is impure, it will have a deeper effect on you.
It’s impossible to avoid going to work or driving down the street for the duration of a fast, but you can put a guard over your eyes and control your thoughts and mentally block things out that get in the way of what the Lord is doing.
3. Confess your sins.
Confession is like putting a gasoline additive into your tank to burn out the junk that builds up in the engine. The apostle John wrote:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
—1 John 1:9 (NIV)
There’s nothing better than the clean feeling fasting gives you in your spirit. During times of fasting, we see things in our lives that we need to confess. Name them specifically to the Lord. You will feel so free!
4. Confess the sins of past generations.
Why would we want to dig up the sins of our forefathers? Because some people are saved but not delivered. Some people love God but are in bondage. I believe that there are things called generational curses that are passed down.
Have you noticed how certain problems afflict certain families for generations? Heart trouble, anger, crime, drug use, obesity, and gluttony. These sins become generational curses that the devil uses to trip up each new batch of children.
We may not even know the sins of past generations, but we should confess that we come from a line of sinners and then, through the blood of Jesus, reverse that curse. Daniel, the prophet, did this. He laid himself out before the Lord and confessed the sins of his forefathers just as if he had committed the sins himself.
I believe that we can also confess the sins of our president, governors, and mayors. There’s power in acknowledging sin, even if we didn’t “do” the sin.
5. Spend extra time in God’s Word.
They stood where they were and read from the Book of the Law of the LORD their God…
—Nehemiah 9:3a (NIV)
The people in Nehemiah’s day gave themselves constant exposure to God’s Word while they fasted.
If you want to super-charge your fast, spend more time in the Word. Listen to recordings of the Bible or preaching. Let your open spirit absorb all the rich nutrients of God’s Word.
6. Confess the Word of God.
…and spent another quarter [of the day] in confession.…
—Nehemiah 9:3b (NIV: brackets added)
This is different than acknowledging sin. It’s to confess what God says is true. It means verbally affirming the Word of God. For example, say, “I’m an overcomer by the blood of the Lamb and the word of my testimony.” Or “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Speaking with faith like that will get you through the times when your body feels weak.
Worship is heart-to-heart communion with God. Jesus said true worshippers worship the Father in Spirit and truth. Never will your worship soar like when you’re fasting! You will have confessed your sins, confessed your forefathers’ sins, been filled of the Word, gathered with other believers, and put off anything that would contaminate your mind. That’s a recipe for super-charged worship!
These seven tips will get you out of a rut and onto the road. They will put a 300 horsepower engine on your fasting times, and you will advance faster than you ever imagined. Essentially, fasting does one thing: It places us in a position to receive from God. It doesn’t earn his favor or get his attention. It doesn’t produce faith, but it does put a razor’s edge on the faith we already have.