Dear beloved: Immediately after instructing the disciples on how they should pray to the Father in heaven, in the sermon on the mount, Matthew 6:5-15, Jesus then launches into another topic of instruction for them: how you are to fast. This instruction was given to them in conjunction with prayer because that is the way Jesus saw it himself, that fasting and prayer are to be considered as a powerful tandem of weapons for defeating the enemy of our souls, and at the same time moving us forward in the Kingdom of God. Jesus walked this out in His own life and ministry, in Matthew 4:1 then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil, v2 and after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. Soon after this time of fasting and prayer, Jesus launched His public ministry, in the power and strength of the Holy Spirit, Matt 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach and say, "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand."
And so, if this is the example Jesus has set for us, it would be well for us to pay heed and to follow His example by fasting and praying in our own life, to rejuvenate and rededicate our walk with Him, as well as to receive revelation and instruction for future ministry and personal endeavors. He told the disciples, Matthew 6:17 "But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face v18 so that you may not be seen fasting by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you." He repeats the same basic instruction that He gave the disciples when He spoke to them regarding prayer; the Father,who is hidden and dwells in the secret place, will be revealed to you when you fast and pray, and when the Father sees you He will then repay (reward) you for your sacrifice through answered prayer. So Jesus does not offer fasting up as an optional exercise, for twice he says, "and when you fast", implying that we will come to the point of understanding that fasting is a necessary part of walking in the Spirit.
Several years ago I decided to go on a 21 day Daniel fast, to intercede for my family and also to pray for revelation and direction for the ministry. When I got to day 21, I was ready to end the fast, but the Lord spoke clearly for me to go on to 40, He said, "I have more for you than what you have received". So in obedience I decided to go on to 40 days. On the 28th day I received a call from a prophetess of the Lord, a lady with whom I had never spoken before in my life. She proceeded to prophesy 21 different points over my life, my family, the ministry, and open doors the Lord wanted to take me through. My cell phone eventually went dead after one and a half hours of prophetic revelation, and my life was changed for all time. Within weeks after ending the 40 days of fasting some of the points of prophecy began to come to pass, and I quickly came to see that, yes, the Father did have alot more in store for me. The Holy Spirit has taken me into Africa and some of the other places that were prophesied over me, where I, too, have been able to proclaim, " repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!" Beloved, fast and pray as you start the new year, even for just a day or two if you have never fasted before, and your Father, who is in the secret place, will see you in the secret place and repay you. May God bless you as you pray this day, in Christ, Jim www.gathertheoutcasts.com