Daniel 10:2-3-In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled. NKJV
This is a repost from “How to Bring Spiritual Release”! For some reason, this is my most popular post. At the beginning of the year, in most churches, they call a time of fasting and praying, and since this is read so much throughout the year, I decided to repost it.
I was asked to do a teaching on the rewards of fasting. I can tell you now, I was not thrilled with the topic. Although I have seen some amazing things happen as a result of fasting and praying, lately, I had just lost my focus on this particular discipline.
I know in part it is because we would fast every year for 21 days in January and I celebrate both my birthday and my anniversary during that time. At first, it was not a big deal, but as the years have passed, I lost my inspiration for fasting and it had become something that I did because I was in leadership. Unless of course, I had a situation that I knew would only change with fasting and prayer. (So all hope and inspiration weren’t gone!)
What charged my soul was the revelation that “physical obedience brings spiritual release!” Now I didn’t get this on my own. I heard Jentezen Franklin preach on fasting and praying and he mentioned it in his sermon. Then I studied it out and came away from it charged and delivered from the “bah humbug” of fasting and praying.
Fasting and praying are first physical, then spiritual. When we fast and pray we are physically involved in the activity. My physical body is involved in eating, so it is also involved in not eating. My physical body is needed to pray as I use my mouth to commune with God, or even walk and pray. But the Bible also speaks of the power of physically obeying God and getting spiritual results. In this blog, we’ll briefly look at both!
In the book of Exodus, Moses was told by God to go to a rock, strike it with the rod, and water would come forth!
And the Lord said to Moses, “Go on before the people, and take with you some of the elders of Israel. Also take in your hand your rod with which you struck the river, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.”Exodus 17:5-6 NKJV
Moses obeyed and water came forth! Not just a fountain of water but a spring of water that provided enough water for the people, their animals, cooking, bathing, laundering, and whatever else they needed it for at the time. Now if you don’t agree that was a spiritual release, go and strike a rock and see if you get water! Had Moses failed to believe that striking the rock would bring water, he would not have struck it. And of course, there would have been no spiritual release of the flow of water.
This situation in the Old Testament was a type and shadow of a New Testament event. Jesus’ crucifixion. He was struck on the cross and the living water that flows from Calvary today is truly a spiritual release. In Philippians 2:7-9, Paul wrote,
“But (He) made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name.”Philippians 2:7-9 NKJV
Note: I added the (He) for clarity’s sake.
Jesus’ act of physical obedience of dying on the cross brought spiritual release to mankind; it brought our salvation. But it also caused Him to be highly exalted and given a name that is above every name. That act of obedience changed the course of mankind providing spiritual release even today.
Another example of physical obedience bringing spiritual release is found in Peter’s interaction with Cornelius.
While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are seeking you. Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.”Acts 10:19-20 NKJV
Peter was Jewish to the marrow of his bone. In a vision, God told him to eat meat that was unclean, and he refused to eat. Then God told Peter that what He had called clean, Peter was not to call unclean. This was done to prepare Peter to go to Cornelius’ home.
Peter obeyed God and went to see Cornelius. The spiritual release that took place was the salvation of Cornelius and his entire household, and the release of the baptism of the Holy Spirit with tongues.
Not only was this great spiritual release a result of Peter’s obedience, but it was also a result of Cornelius’ fasting and praying.
So Cornelius said, “Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your alms are remembered in the sight of God.Acts 10:30-31 NKJV
Cornelius had spent time fasting and praying. As a result, he and his entire family not only received salvation, but they had their personal Pentecost in his Gentile home.
Another example of fasting and praying bringing spiritual release is found in Daniel. In Daniel 10 we learn about what we call the “Daniel Fast”. Daniel fasted for 21 days, eating nothing pleasant.
I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.Daniel 10:3 NKJV
The Hebrew word for pleasant in this verse is “hamad”. In verse 11, the angel calls him “Daniel, a man greatly beloved”.
And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.” While he was speaking this word to me, I stood trembling.Daniel 10:11 NKJV
This word beloved in Hebrew is the same word “hamad” that Daniel used when he said he ate no “pleasant” bread.
Daniel’s physical obedience of fasting, and we infer praying based on his lifestyle, caused a spiritual release in his life. As he gave up that which was pleasant, he became pleasant to the Heavenly Father. For me, this was a powerful eye-opener.
It’s not as if I didn’t know the power of fasting and praying, but for some reason, the connection that Daniel gave up that which was pleasant and was regarded by God as beloved, or pleasant, spoke to my heart. Not only did God call Daniel pleasant, but He sent an angel with a message for him about his prayer concerns. That’s a spiritual release!
One example in my personal life of fasting and praying, that I didn’t mention in my teaching happened several years ago and I have never forgotten it. As I was seeking the Lord because I just wanted more of Him, He manifested Himself to me. I was asleep and I dreamed. In the dream, I was worshipping Him when His Glory filled the place I was in. The cloud was so thick that I could hardly see myself in the midst. In the dream, He said, “I have anointed you.” I woke from the dream and I was truly in the Presence of the Lord. His Presence was so thick I got up from my bed and went to worship Him. This dream impacted my life.
Fasting and prayer can be a religious experience for us. It’s easy to just do it! But when we fast and pray God’s way, we see Him release spiritual power that cannot be denied! Wonderful Jesus!!