"Now, therefore," says the Lord, "turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning." —Joel 2:12
Our nature has two sides: the flesh side, and the spirit side. We feed the flesh side pretty consistently—usually a minimum of three times a day, with liberal snacks in between. But we are not usually as consistent about feeding our spirit.
Fasting is a way to deny the flesh and strengthen the spirit. If you fed your spirit as consistently as you feed your flesh, you would be spiritually fat. Fasting reverses the usual process—it starves the flesh and feeds the spirit.
Fasting was not just an Old Testament discipline.
Isaiah told the people they weren't fasting the way God wanted them to. "In the day of your fast you find pleasure" (Isaiah 58:3). In other words, they sought pleasure when they should have been focused on God. It would be like taking a day to fast but spending the entire day watching TV. Our flesh craves entertainment, but the purpose of a fast is to put the flesh in its place and seek God.
When you fast, and spend time in prayer and reading God's Word, your spirit becomes stronger and stronger, and the hold of the flesh is weakened. We then find ourselves having victories in our spiritual battles.
Fasting was not just an Old Testament discipline. God is calling His people to fast today. Our world is in desperate trouble. We who love God need to deny our flesh, seek His face, and strengthen our spirits for battle.
Father, we desire to turn from our sin that You would manifest Your grace
and mercy toward us. Help us to seek You with all of our hearts
—fasting and mourning before You for our nation
and for our families.