Joel 2:15-16 “Blow the ram’s horn in Jerusalem! Announce a time of fasting; call the people together for a solemn meeting. Gather all the people—the elders, the children, and even the babies. Call the bridegroom from his quarters and the bride from her private room.” (emphasis added)
Today’s scripture reference is an example of a corporate fast. In this particular reference, we see that in certain seasons, children are required to fast. Even the babies were not exempted. While we may choose to exempt our babies, but it is scriptural to encourage your children to fast. As our children deny themselves and wait on God, He will do amazing things through them in the Name of Jesus. In a corporate fast, you MUST go by the rules of the corporate fast. That is, by the guidance of the leadership of the community and not what you choose to do.
The personal (private) fast is different. In a personal fast, you go by the leading the Holy Spirit gave you before you started fasting. For instance, if the Holy Spirit prompts you to fast for seven days and nights without food and water. You say yes, the Holy Spirit just spoke to me and I am going to do it. By day three, with eyes shining, you say did ‘God say seven days without food and water?’ By day four you declare, I am in the New Testament; I am a lover of Christ – I am not the one who killed Jesus. Then you negotiate your way out of the fast. No! that is not the way to go. Once the Holy Spirit has spoken at the beginning, you stick to it till the end.
Luke 2:36-37 “Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married for only seven years. Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer.” Anna’s example is of a personal fast and we see her stick to it till the end. Interestingly, these days a young person loses a spouse and the next thing is to look for another spouse. What about dedicating the rest of your life to Jesus?
It is important to note that whether the fast is personal or corporate, only fasting that is done with the right motive of glorifying God is spiritually effective. Joel 2:12-13 (NIV) “Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity” (emphasis added). Please read Zec. 7:5-6 and Matt.6:16-18. God says, rend your heart and not your garment.
Prayer: Father, please help me to always have the right heart particularly when I wait on You with prayer and fasting, in Jesus Name. Amen!