Seeking the Lord for Breakthrough - Fasting
These are the notes for the first session of the teaching series Seeking the Lord for Breakthrough. It gives an introduction to this critical time of prayer and fasting we have entered into in January, continuing through the month, and it also goes into foundational teaching concerning fasting, primarily instruction from Daniel 9. Set your heart to seek the Lord with a whole heart in this critical time. You can hear the full message given under Media/Audio Messages.
Introduction - We believe that we are in a critical season and the Lord is calling us into an extending time of personally and corporately seeking Him for spiritual breakthrough and alignment with His Kingdom purposes and will. God is calling us to come up higher and ascend into a new place in the Spirit, so that we can be positioned to partner with Him in a greater measure. We are biblically responding to the Lord's stirring with a season of prayer and fasting.
I. Two Main Purposes of this Season:
1. Personal Transformation - The Lord has said that this a time to get our house in order and to move forward. God is releasing revelation and grace to get free in our body, soul, mind and spirit - to love and serve Him with all we are in wholeheartedness. God wants to bring order and life to every area of our person.
Galatians 5:17 "For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things you please."
In relation to the things of God, our bodies with all their appetites, make wonderful servants but terrible masters. It is necessary to keep our flesh in subjection. Derek Prince says this: "Fasting deals with the two great barriers to the Holy Spirit that are erected by man's carnal nature. These are the stubborn self-will of the soul and the insistent, self-gratifying appetites of the body. Rightly practiced, fasting brings both soul and body into subjection to the Holy Spirit." Fasting changes us, not God. We cannot earn anything from God, but we can remove the barriers that exist in us that hinder the work of the Holy Spirit in our life. Fasting and prayer is a provision God has given us to help us to access places in God and breakthrough that we otherwise couldn't access. Fasting energizes the good things of the Spirit, and diminishes the negative things of our flesh.
Mark 9:29 "This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer and fasting."
Fasting intensifies prayer and helps to bring the deliverance and victory we are believing for!
2. Corporate Breakthrough - God has decreed that there will be a Holy Spirit outpouring in this area and He is stirring His people that we are in the season to see it manifest. One of the great signs that God is about to do something new and bring a shift in His purposes is that He stirs His people to seek Him together - in prayer and fasting. All over this area God is doing this and giving zeal to His people and leaders to seek His face. We cannot produce this by our own will and strength - God is initiating something right now and calling us to cooperate. God gives conception to what He wants to birth, and then stirs His people with the birth pangs and the desire to bring the push through corporate and united prayer and fasting. The promise and the stirring alone is not enough to bring the breakthrough - we must push with greater intensity and fervency.
Daniel 9:3 "So I set my face unto the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes."
Daniel is a picture of the end-time prophetic church. Daniel's response to discerning that it was time for God to move and fulfill His promise was not to sit back, but to aggressively set his face to seek the Lord with a whole heart. Like Daniel, there comes a time when the response needed is to set our faces and seek the Lord until the breakthrough comes.
II. Instruction from Daniel
1. We are seeking God's face. This is not a religious exercise, but a heartfelt yearning for God and for more of Him and a release of His will and purposes. God promises satisfaction to the hunger and thirst of His people.
Joel 2:12 "Return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, weeping and mourning; and rend your heart and not your garments."
2. We are confessing our sin. Fasting, sackcloth and ashes were the evidence of mourning for sin and self-humbling. Daniel was by all means a righteous and god-fearing man, yet we see a clear picture of him repenting of his sins and the sins of God's people. The Lord will comfort those who mourn.
Daniel 9:20 "Now while I was speaking and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel."
3. We are releasing an open heaven. Prayer and fasting moves the heavens and angels are released to bring revelation and breakthrough. We are energizing the fiery servants of God for victory.
Daniel 9:23 The angel Gabriel said, "At the beginning of your supplications the command was issued and I have come..."
4. We are encountering God's love. In the midst of Daniel seeking the Lord he is told by Gabriel that he is greatly loved and treasured by God. God wants His love and affections to overflow our hearts and minds in this season of seeking His face. God's face reveals His favor, pleasure and blessing.
Daniel 9:23 Gabriel said to Daniel, "I have come to tell you, for you are greatly loved."
5. We are receiving understanding. Realms of revelation and insight concerning our lives, our callings, God's Word and also His end-time Kingdom purposes are imparted through the grace of prayer and fasting.
Daniel 9:22 Gabriel said, "O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you insight and understanding."
III. Practical Considerations
1. Seek God in the specific ways in which He wants you to fast. It will be different for all of us. Consider the areas of food and drink, but also seek God about fasting media, entertainment, the use of your money and material resources. Be encouraged to put aside as much regular activities (meals, social, media) as possible to seek the Lord in extended times of prayer, worship and the Word. He will respond to you desire.
Matthew 5:6 "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied."
2. There is nothing unhealthy about fasting. All legitimate doctors encourage fasting to cleanse the body of toxins and give it rest. Don't be deceived and let fleshly weakness in fasting deter you from going forward. There is grace available to fast, but that doesn't mean you are going to be traversing the heavens the whole time. Fasting includes with it voluntary weakness in the flesh, to experience a greater measure of strength in the Spirit. You will potentially experience times of weariness, or a bad mood, or a headache...press through.
2 Corinthians 12:9 "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness."