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The IMPACT Bible Study for this evening (with Pastor Gary Noble): The Power of Prayer and Fasting!

The next IMPACT Bible Study Lesson is titled: “FASTING – Fasting in the Old Testament.”

Pastor Gary Noble: The Power of Prayer and Fasting!

(Slide # 1)
The Power of Prayer and Fasting
(Slide # 2)
Matthew 17:15-16; 19-21 (KJV)-
15 Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and
sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.
(Slide # 3)
16 And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.
(Slide # 4)
19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?
(Slide # 5)
20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as
a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it
shall remove;…
(Slide # 6)
21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.

(Slide # 7)
Matthew 17:21 (AMP)- [But this kind of demon does not go out except by prayer and
(Slide # 8)
Matthew 17:21 (WYC)- but this kind is not cast out, but by prayer and fasting.
(Slide # 9)
We don’t need more faith. We need less doubt/unbelief.
(Slide # 10)
Three Ways to Fight the Devil
(Slide # 11)
Ephesians 6:16- Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench
all the fiery darts of the wicked.
(Slide # 12)
Matthew 17:20- “…If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this
mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove;…
(Slide # 13)
James 5:16 (ESV)- “…The prayer of a righteous person has great power…
(Slide # 14)
Daniel 10:2-6; 10-13 (AMP)-
In those days I, Daniel, had been mourning for three entire
(Slide # 15)
vs. 3- I ate no tasty food, nor did any meat or wine enter my mouth;

(Slide # 16)
vs. 10- Then behold, a hand touched me…

(Slide # 17)
FIVE POINT STATEMENT: There are definite times when we will need to ask God for
a special touch.
(Slide # 18)
I Kings 19:4-5; 7-
4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness,
and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that
he might die;…
(Slide # 19)
5 And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched
(Slide # 20)
7 And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him,
and said, Arise…
(Slide # 21)
Hebrews 1:14- Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for
them who shall be heirs of salvation?
(Slide # 22)
Matthew 4:11- Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and
ministered unto him.
(Slide # 23)
Daniel 10:11(AMP) –
11 So he said to me,… I have now been sent to you.”…
(Slide # 24)
Daniel 10:12(AMP)_ _
12 Then he said to me, “Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first
day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before
your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words.
(Slide # 25)
Prayer and fasting moved God to send Daniel some heavenly help.
(Slide # 26)
Daniel 10:13(AMP)_-
13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was standing in
opposition to me for twenty-one days. Then, behold, Michael, one of the chief [of the
celestial] princes, came to help me,…
(Slide # 27)
Genesis 3:1-4- Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God
had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the
(Slide # 28)
2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
(Slide # 29)
3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of
it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
(Slide # 30)
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

Click to download this lesson: “Fasting in the Old Testament.”


  1. In a culture where the landscape is dotted with shrines to the “GOLDEN ARCHES” and an assortment of “PIZZA TEMPLES”, fasting seems out of place, out of step with the times – Richard Foster, The Celebration Of Discipline, p. 47
  2. As we begin to deal with subject like fasting, We do so with some hesitation for several reasons:
    1. It is a very EMOTIONAL and VOLATILE subject
      1. Views about fasting usually go to extremes
        1. “Some have exalted religious fasting beyond all Scripture and reason, and others have utterly disregarded it.” — JOHN WESLEY
        2. Some consider fasting unnecessary, undesirable, and therefore to be ignored
        3. Others think fasting is to be bound as a matter of faith (like baptism)
      2. It touches upon a matter very personal to us: FOOD!
        1. Many people are very dependent upon food 1/ Not just for survival 2/ But for dealing with anxiety, depression, boredom, etc. 3/ Rather than eating to live, they live to eat
        2. It is like preaching on gluttony or smoking, it often touches on raw nerves
    2. It is an UNTRADITIONAL subject
      1. You rarely hear sermons on this subject
      2. One person found in his research that not a single book was published on fasting among some brethren from 1861 to 1954
  1. But the Scriptures have so much to say about fasting…
    1. The list of Biblical persons who fasted becomes a “Who’s Who” of Scripture:
      1. Moses the lawgiver
      2. David the king
      3. Elijah the prophet
      4. Esther the queen
      5. Daniel the seer
      6. Anna the prophetess
      7. Jesus the Son Of God
      8. Paul the apostle

— Richard Foster, p.48, ibid.

  1. There is more teaching in the NT on fasting than repentance and confession!
  2. Jesus taught more on fasting than on baptism and the Lord’s Supper!
  3. What would account for this almost total disregard for a subject so frequently mentioned in Scripture?
    1. FIRST, fasting has developed a bad reputation as a result of the excessive ascetic practices of the Middle Ages – Foster, ibid.
    2. SECOND, many have simply concluded that fasting was a Jewish custom, of no value or need in the Christian age
    3. THIRD, we have been convinced through constant propaganda that if we do not have three large meals each day, with several snacks in between, we are on the verge of starvation (we eat, not because we NEED to eat. but because it’s TIME to eat) – Foster, ibid.
  4. Because the Bible has so much to say about fasting, it is only right that we consider what it says. As we do so, I have several REQUESTS:
    1. Please withhold judgment until you have heard all the material – cf. Pr 18:13
      1. Let’s be “SPELUNKERS” and not “ENGINEERS” with the Bible
      2. I.e., explore and follow what is there instead of rearranging what is there to fit our designs
    2. Don’t be hasty in drawing conclusions or applying what you hear – cf. Pr 14:29
    3. If you have any additional information, questions or viewpoints, please feel free to share them with me – cf. Pr 11:14

[In this lesson, then, we shall take a look at “Fasting In The Old Testament”, beginning with… ]

      1. Lev 16:29-3123:26-32Num 29:7
      2. This was the only fast commanded by the Law, to be observed on the tenth day of the seventh month
      3. Though not called “fasting”, the phrase “afflicting one’s soul” was understood to refer to fasting
        1. Cf. Ps 69:10 (“chastened my soul with fasting”)
        2. Cf. Ac 27:9 (where the term “Fast” refers to the Day of Atonement)
      4. The use of the phrase “afflict one’s soul” to refer to fasting suggests a PURPOSE of fasting:
        1. To have an affect on the SOUL (not particularly the body)
        2. The goal of such affliction or chastening we shall notice later

— People often fasted without specific commandment in time of distress; some were communal affairs while others were acts of the private individual

  1. Israel fasted at Bethel in the war against the Benjamites – Judg 20:26
  2. Also at Mizpah in the Philistine war – 1Sa 7:6
  3.  THEY FASTED WHEN LOVED ONES WERE SICKDavid fasted and wept for his son while the boy was ill – 2Sa 12:16-23The psalmist also mentions fasting for his enemies – Ps 35:11-13
  4.  THEY FASTED WHEN LOVED ONES DIEDThe men of Jabesh-gilead fasted seven days for Saul – 1 Sa 31:131 Chron 10:12David and the people fasted for Saul and Jonathan – 2 Sa 1:12
  5.  THEY FASTED WHEN THEY SOUGHT GOD’S FORGIVENESSMoses fasted forty days because of the sin of Israel – Deut 9:15-18Ahab fasted to be forgiven – 1Ki 21:17-29Nineveh fasted at the preaching of Jonah – Jonah 3:4-10Daniel fasted as he confessed the sins of Israel – Da 9:3-5The general fast at the communal reading of the Law by Ezra was an act of penitence – Neh 9:1-3
  6.  THEY FASTED WHEN FACED WITH IMPENDING DANGERJehoshaphat fasted when threatened by Edom – 2 Chron 20:3Ezra led a fast when seeking the favor of God toward his return from exile (a journey fraught with danger) – Ez 8:21Nehemiah fasted when he heard of the state of Jerusalem – Neh 1:4The Jews fasted when they heard that Haman had obtained the king’s decree against them – Esth 4:3Esther and Mordecai fasted before she went before the king – Esth 4:16
  8. During and after the Exile special fasts were observed on the days the calamities had befallen Jerusalem
    1. The tenth of the fifth month was the burning of the Temple – Jer 52:12,13
    1. The second day of the seventh month was the murder of Gedaliah – 2Ki 25:23-95Jer 41:1ff
    1. On the tenth day of the tenth month was the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem – 2Ki 25:1
    1. On the ninth day of the fourth was its fall – 2Ki 25:3,4

  1. THE PURPOSE OF FASTING…Some fasting was a natural reaction to grief over the loss of a loved one (like the men of Jabesh-gilead and David)But more often, fasting was done to purposely:”afflict the soul” – Lev 23:26-32“chasten the soul” – Ps 69:10The purpose of such affliction or chastening was to “humble” the soul (Ps 35:13), and not for any affect it might have on the bodyEvidently, they felt that by so humbling themselves they would more likely incur God’s favor – cf. Ezra 8:21-23Is 57:1566:1-2So they would fast when they needed:Forgiveness for sin (Moses, Ahab, Daniel)Their loved ones restored to health (David)Protection from danger (Ezra)Deliverance from their enemies (the Israelites)Because they were seeking God’s favor, FASTING WOULD ALMOST ALWAYS BE ACCOMPANIED WITH PRAYER
    1. The NORMAL means of fasting involved ABSTAINING FROM ALL FOOD BUT NOT WATER
      1. Sometimes the fast was but PARTIAL – a restriction of diet but not total abstention – cf. Da 10:2-3
      1. On rare occasions there was the ABSOLUTE fast
  4. As in the case of the people of Nineveh, who also included the animals in their fast – cf. Jonah 3:5-10
  5. As in the case of Queen Esther – Esth 4:16 (cf. Paul, Ac 9:9)
  6. The absolute fasts of Moses and Elijah must have had divine assistance – Deut 9:91Ki 19:8

    • A fast might be for ONE NIGHT – Dan 6:18
    • The fast of Esther continued for THREE DAYS, day and night, which seems to have been a special case – Esth 4:16
    • David fasted SEVEN DAYS when his child was ill – 2Sa 12:16-18
  • WARNINGS CONCERNING FASTING…Fasting CAN EASILY TURN INTO AN EXTERNAL SHOW AND CEREMONIAL RITUALISM; when it did, the prophets spoke out against itThe most vigorous attack against such fasting is made in Isaiah 58The people complained that they had fasted and God had not seen – Isa 58:3aBut they had not been fasting for the right reason (to be heard by God) – Isa 58:3b-4In contrast to simply an external display of bowing one’s head like a bulrush and spreading sackcloth and ashes, the Lord would rather they:Loose the bonds of wickednessLet the oppressed go freeShare bread with the hungryBring the poor into one’s houseCover the naked

— Then they should be heard in their prayers – Isa 58:6-9

  • I.e. fasting without true repentance defeats the purpose of fasting: to have your prayers heard by the Lord!
    • The same point was made about the ceremonial fasts that had been added by the Israelites to commemorate certain occasions – Zech 7:1-14
  1. The people wanted to know if they should fast on the special occasions as they had done – Zech 7:1-3
    1. The Lord responded that the fasts had not be done for Him – Zech 7:4-6
    1. They should have instead done the will of the Lord – Zech 7:7-10
    1. But because they did not, the fasting in the past was of no value – Zech 7:11-14


  1. At this point we have not tried to establish whether fasting is for Christians today
  2. Rather, we have just considered the practice of fasting as found in the O.T., to have a better understanding of why people of God fasted
  3. What have we learned?
    1. Only one fast was specifically commanded in the O.T. (The Day Of Atonement)
    2. But people often fasted when they wanted God to hear their prayers
      1. The purpose of the fast was to humble themselves by “afflicting their souls”
      2. Believing such humiliation would be pleasing in God’s sight (and it often was)
    3. However, fasting was fruitless…
      1. When it was done for the wrong reason
      2. When it was done without true repentance
    4. We have also seen that there were no set principles concerning the length or nature of fasting

In our next lesson, we shall look at fasting as found in the New Testament