What is fasting? Stated simply, biblical fasting is refraining from food for a spiritual purpose. When you eliminate food from your diet for a number of days, your spirit, soul, and body become uncluttered by the things of this world and amazingly sensitive to the things of God.
During the years that Jesus walked this earth, He devoted time to teaching His disciples the principles of the kingdom of God. In the Beatitudes, specifically in Matthew 6, Jesus provided the pattern by which each of us is to live.
He made it clear that fasting, like giving and praying, was a normal part of Christian life. As much attention should be given to fasting as is given to giving and to praying. Could we be missing our greatest breakthroughs because we fail to fast?
Matthew 17:21, "This kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting... tells us that there are some spirits in a person, region, or nation that cannot be overcome without fasting. Many believers struggle with certain limitations that they cannot seem to break through.
“Cry aloud, spare not; Lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell My people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins. 2 Yet they seek Me daily, And delight to know My ways, As a nation that did righteousness, And did not forsake the ordinance of their God. They ask of Me the ordinances of justice;
They take delight in approaching God. 3 ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?’
“In fact, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, And exploit all your laborers. 4 Indeed you fast for strife and debate, And to strike with the fist of wickedness. You will not fast as you do this day, To make your voice heard on high 5 Is it a fast that I have chosen, A day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush, And to spread out sackcloth and ashes? Would you call this a fast, And an acceptable day to the Lord?
6 “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not hide yourself from your own flesh?
8 Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. 9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’
“If you take away the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, 10 If you extend your soul to the hungry And satisfy the afflicted soul, Then your light shall dawn in the darkness, And your darkness shall be as the noonday. 11 The Lord will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
12 Those from among you Shall build the old waste places;You shall raise up the foundations of many generations; And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.
13 “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, From doing your pleasure on My holy day, And call the Sabbath a delight, The holy day of the Lord honorable, And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, Nor finding your own pleasure, Nor speaking your own words, 14 Then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
"When the Philistines learned that David had been made king of Israel, they mobilized all of their forces against him to attack and enslave him, but David heard the news and moved to his fortified place. Then the Philistine army moved in and spread out across the entire valley. So David sought the Lord in prayer. He asked 'Should I go fight these Philistines? Will you give them over to me?' The Lord replied, 'Yes, go ahead! You can certainly count on me to give you the victory!' So David went out and defeated them. Then David said, 'I watched the Lord break through my enemies like a mighty flood.' So he named the place 'The Lord Broke Through!'" 1 Chronicles 14:8-11
"After this, 3 enemies joined forces against Judah. Messengers told the king 'A vast army is coming against you!' Alarmed and afraid, King Jehoshaphat resolved to seek the Lord. Then he proclaimed a FAST for everyone. So ALL of people came together to seek help from the Lord. They came from everywhere to seek God." 2 Chronicles 20:1-4
While a rabbinic scholar might occasionally claim that a suggested interpretation of a biblical or talmudic text came to him in a dream, the habit of Jacob of Marvege (13th century) of using information conveyed to him in dreams as authoritative in law was extremely unusual.
After fasting and employing other techniques, Jacob would present halakhic (Jewish legal) queries to heaven, to which he received replies in dreams. These replies are recorded in Jacob’s work entitled Responsa from Heaven.