SCRIPTURALLY... THE TRUTH
There's nothing in the Word tells you to have a 40 day fast. Not a thing. Nothing in the world telling you to fast unless God would tell you.
And so I told him, during Christmas week and the next few days now, after tomorrow, well…go kinda fasting and praying, and see which way the Lord will lead us.
[Note: Fasting is not a popular subject. It has never been a popular subject. In fact this is a subject that has been taken very lightly by the majority of Christian people. Many tend to brush it off as something that is not for our days, and they have never attempted to fast even once in their entire Christian life. They practically shun it. On the other hand, there are those extremists who stress so much on the importance of fasting as if it is the only way to a supernatural Christian life.
Men of God throughout the Bible fasted often. The prophets, the apostles, even our Lord Jesus, fasted. During the Grace Age, men like Polycarp, Irenaeus, Luther, Wesley, and many others testified of the blessings they obtained from fasting. Bro. William Branham also fasted. However, he was against the fanaticism and the hypocrisy of people fasting for glory and stressing too much on what one could achieve from a forty-day fast and so forth.
Many of the followers of William Branham reject fasting because of some false teachings by certain preachers. They quote the following verses of Scriptures to support their belief that the Bridegroom — Jesus Christ — has returned in this generation in Word form and therefore there is no need to fast.
“And they said unto him, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink?
And he said unto them, Can ye make the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them?
But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days." (Luke 5:33-35)
However, there is a fallacy in their interpretation of the above verses. Jesus was referring to His physical body and not His Spirit being taken away from his disciples. Also, the act of eating and drinking is a physical act and not a spiritual one. (Read the sections on “The Second Advent of Christ ” and “The Bride Age”.)
“Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” (Psalm 37:4)
Few Christians do delight themselves in the Lord as they should. In Biblical time men fasted and repented whenever they sinned against the Lord or when their hearts were far from God so that they might regain the favor of God. In the book of Joshua chapter 7, we read of an account of how Achan sinned against the Lord by keeping the “accursed thing” which God had warned the children of Israel not to keep (Josh.6:17-19 cf. 7:20-21). Achan's sin brought disaster and shame to the camp of Israel, a defeat in the battle at Ai where 36 men were killed. Joshua, not knowing the reason for the defeat, rent his clothes and, together with the elders, prostrated before the Lord until the evening when the Lord revealed unto him the cause of their defeat by the men of Ai. Here is a man who delighted himself in the will of God. He sought God to find out the cause of the failure of his men to defeat their enemies whom God had promised to deliver into their hands. Joshua did not just pray before the Lord; he immediately fasted and sought God. He and the elders prostrated themselves before the Ark the moment they learnt of the defeat (probably sometime after the early morning, as most of their battles were fought in the early morning). They did not eat. They did not get up to do anything. They just lay their face to the ground before the Lord to seek Him for the answer.
Joshua and the elders were quick to seek the Face of the Lord regarding the condition of Israel as a people because of that incident. What about the True Church of the Living God today? I am not talking about Christendom as a whole, neither am I talking about the Endtime Message churches of which many are still very Babylonish in their faith. But I am talking about each true local church as a unit (module) of believers. Every local church is sovereign in itself. The elders and the worshippers must be of one mind and with one accord profess the same faith, for they are all one in the same body, locally. If one member of the body suffers, all suffer together; and if one member of the body rejoices, all rejoice together. Read 1 Corinthians 12. Hence, would not the elders of the church do what needs to be done when the church is sinking low, and that in so doing obtain the mind of God as to its need(s)?
God will never forsake His people. James, in his epistle chapter 4:8-10, said:
“Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double-minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.”
Certainly, to delight oneself in the Lord is a joy that's unspeakable and full of glory. And the quickest way to draw nigh to the Lord is to fast, to deny one's body of its desire for food and other carnal desires, and to seek the face of God with prayers. Many Christians have the notion that going to a fellowship, having Bible study, and being involved in other Christian activities are enough to build up their Christian faith. True, many Christians never live above the physical and natural realm throughout their lives as “Christians”. Their lives are full of sickness, diseases, failures and defeats from day to day, week to week, month to month, and year to year. Such a life could never bring glory to the Lord; it could only bring reproach.
Truly, Bro. Branham said that we had to have enough faith for the Rapture but then we hardly had enough faith even for healing (cf. The First Seal, page 128). I believe many Bible believers are either without the revelation of the Word which they claim to believe or they are not converted to the Word. Read John 2:23-25; 8:30-32,43,45-47 cf. James 2:14,19-20; Matthew 7:21; Ephesians 2:10. A truly converted believer manifests the life and the work of the Spirit of God within him.
Though prayers bring about a nearness of the presence of God, it could not draw a believer close to God as quickly as fasting, together with prayers, could. However, the most important thing in fasting is the act of self discipline. Gluttony exists in many forms in one's life — mentally or physically. Gratification of the taste buds with all sorts of food, especially unhealthy food, destroys many lives. Many believers have the idea that by offering a prayer of sanctification over the food they eat, they could freely indulge in any junk food that they crave for. They are no different from a smoker or a drunkard. Many eat themselves to sickness and death.
We desire and look forward to the day that our vile bodies would be transformed into incorruptible and glorious bodies. But as true born again Bible Christians what are we doing with our mind? Paul said, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom.12:2). There is no transformation — and there will not be a transformation — if we do not renew our mind and if our old man does not “die daily” (cf. Rom.6:6; 1 Cor.15:31). Therefore, think soberly!
Fasting helps build our self discipline and compels us to concentrate on the spiritual things of the Lord. When we bring our body under our subjection, we will have victory over carnality. Amen.]