The Paradigm of Fasting


Adapted from Mike Bickle's Teachings 

  1. We are going to look at types of biblical fasting...the first six are not going to be comprehensive at all but I want you aware of them because I want to change your mind set and know of the different options. 
  2. Many people only think of one kind of fasting and they are not even exactly sure what it is. 
  3. There are actually a number of different categories and we will look at seven different ones and only to put the seventh one in context....the bridegroom fasting.
  4. That is the real one we are focused on because that is the kind of fasting that I believe will be the most primary in the generation that the Lord returns.
  5. All seven of these are valid in the New Testament and were not invalidated by the New Covenant, they are still used, but they are not the primary...they are now secondary. The first type of fasting in the Old Testament is still a New Testament reality.

 B. To avert individual/national crisis. 


  1. There are several paradigms that are key in the Old Testament and this is probably the most prominent Old Testament paradigm... it is focused on stopping a negative crisis from happening. 
  2. There are individual crisis of a certain nature, there are national crisis that were averted in the Old Testament. "So they gathered together at Mizpah, drew water, and poured it out before the LORD. And they fasted that day, and said there, "We have sinned against the LORD." And Samuel judged the children of Israel at Mizpah." (1 Samuel 7:6) They were in sin a battle was forming of the enemy against them and the next day was dooms day so they operated in that fast. 
  3. It was two fold fast of repentance but more than that it was because calamity was coming tomorrow to the nation. It had two different focuses repentance/ calamity.  "So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three-day journey in extent. And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day's walk. Then he cried out and said, "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!" So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them." (Jonah 3: 3-5) 
  4. The whole city of Nineveh fasted and the Lord withheld judgment, the crisis that was coming to wipe out the city and the nation. 

 C. Fast to experience the power of God in personal ministry. 


  1. This is one that is common to is a fast to experience the power of God in personal ministry.... a very important kind of fast much more prominent in the New Testament. 
  2. The fasting to enhance the anointing of God upon our personal ministry. Jesus said, "This kind i.e. of demonic bondage does not go out except by prayer and fasting. "However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting." ( Matthew 17:21) 


D. Fast for Corporate revival. 

 1. John 4:35-38 is a very interesting passage where Jesus is talking about the harvest being plentiful. 

 a. He is talking to the twelve and He is sending them to reap the plentiful harvest in verse 35. "I am sending you to reap that which you have not labored in. Others have labored and you have entered into their labor." Others had labored for the harvest that was going to break out in the book of Acts. 

 2. The two primary others would have been John the Baptist, Anna, and of course the Lord Himself. 

 a. Those were the three primary laborers in the New Testament that we can identity. 

 b. There was a group that did the work and paved the way for the breaking through of revival in Israel. 

 c. The twelve were going to enter into work that was already finished. It was not just the finished work of the cross because we have had the finished work of the cross for 2, 000 years and that does not guarantee revival today. 

 3. On the basis of the finished work of the cross, prayer and fasting, in the will of God it opens up these power surges that we call revival of which multitudes get saved in short periods of time. I want you to connect to the idea that their is a labor for the harvest to be reaped and it is not always reaped by the one who labors and goes before. 

 5. John the Baptist was martyred in his early 30's , Jesus was going to be killed very soon and Anna had already died and there were others as well. There was a man named Philo from North Africa a very well known mystic. Philo from Alexander who lived at the same time as Jesus did and John the Baptist but was in North Africa. A man deeply devout with the Old Testament and he raised up a community of men and women who were committed to prayer and fasting like unto Anna. They were laboring in north Egypt....they never enter into the story line that is focused on the nation of Israel but they were hundreds of people if not thousands. Jesus says, "Yes you have entered into the labors of others." There is a labor for revival and Anna carried that night and day in the temple. "and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day." (Luke 2:37) Philo in Northern Egypt and Alexander. John the Baptist in Matthew 11:18 c. Jesus said he came neither eating nor drinking....he came in a fasted lifestyle laboring in prayer for the nation of Israel. 

 E. To express sorrow or mourning. 

 1. David talks several times in Psalm 38 though he does not actually use the word fast, he describes the fasting related to sin. 

  2. Psalm 69:10 was a zeal for God and mourning over his own personal short comings. 

 3. Two different things were happening in this psalm...there were short comings, his own sorrow over sin but there was zeal for the break through of God. 

 4. Ahab did this...a wicked king He actually came under the conviction of sin and fasted because of his own sin... it did not last but bought him some time for a moment and God gave him a window of grace because he fasted over his personal sin.  He did not fast to earn forgiveness...the fasting over personal sins causes us to intensify our prayer in a seriousness over our sin. 1 Kings 21 5. A lot of times we sin and cannot find Godly sorrow. Fasting intensifies our prayer and awareness of the gravity of sin in our lives. 2 Corinthians 7:10 

  "For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death." (2 Corinthians 7:10

 F. Corporate sin over a nation or city. 

 1. 1 Samuel 7:6; Nehemiah 9; was sorrow of sin over a city a nation. 

 2. This is very important kind of fast either personal or corporate. 

 G. A fasting over personal loss...the death of a loved one. 

 1. David did it three different times at least. 

 a. He fasted over Jonathan when he died in 2 Samuel 1:12

 b. Abner was murdered 2 Samuel 3:35, was to be a political ally with David and join his team but was murdered by one of David's men and David went into grieving and fasting. 

 c. David's illegitimate son from the immoral relationship with Bathsheba 2 Samuel 12:16-23, he fasted 7 days. The prophets said the baby would die but David said, "Maybe yes --- maybe no! I know God He might not die!" 

 2. It is this sorrow that destroys the normal appetites... 

3. it is grieving over the lost and is the same logic because the sorrow over sin is negative but the bridegroom fast is not sorrow but Longing that takes over our appetites... 

 4. We want to enter into the embrace of the bridegroom even more than our physical appetites. It has a greater hold on us. 

 H. The desire for God . 

 1. Sorrow over sin is negative...the desire for more of God is positive but it is the same intense desire...stronger...I do not mean it alleviates physical appetites entirely but has a precedent over them. 

 I. Preparation for a Divine assignment.

 1. Nehemiah 1:4, they were going on a very perilous journey and they all fasted. 

 2. God commanded them to return from Babylon to go back to Israel and they said, "There are bandits and evil men all over the country side," of this 700 mile walk and they had a lot of gold. They fasted! 

 "So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven." (Nehemiah 1:4) 

 3. Ezra 8:21, was the same thing they said, "Lord we need to go the way to go...we need to have your protection and direction. 

"Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions." (Ezra 8:21) 

 4. Paul and Barnabas in the city of Antioch were fasting and praying because of a new missions endeavor for divine assignment in Act 13:1-2. 

 "Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, "Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." ( Act 13:1-2.) 

 5. Act 14:23 before the elders were to launch into this new mandate before the Lord they all came before the Lord in prayer and fasting. 

 6. The preparation to receive specific supernatural direction/wisdom and revelation. 

  a. More than just protection and preparation for a new endeavor we want to break into the realm of understanding of what is going on before us right now. 

  b. Daniel fasted for 21 days to have a breakthrough of divine information. Daniel 10:2-3 7. Acts 13:1-2; Acts 14:23; could also be assigned to getting divine information about that journey. We can fast and receive divine information in very powerful ways. 

 J. The bridegroom fast. 

 1. Matthew 9:14-15, is the pinnacle of fasting.....the new paradigm of fasting that Jesus introduced. 

 2. Fasting in the grace of God...the highest experience of fasting....Jesus introduced it. 

 3. He put it in relationship to Friends of the Bridegroom in verse 15....the disciples of John the Baptist, he was the first friend of the Bridegroom. That is a title used two times in the scripture on two different occasions. 

 a. First John the Baptist called himself a friend of the Bridegroom in John 3:29 and then some months later Jesus called his twelve disciples friends of the Bridegroom. 

 b. Both times Friends of the Bridegroom is related to this fasting grace. John's disciples asked Jesus why His guys did not fast because they did as John's disciples and he taught us to fast but Your disciples do not and Jesus by a question introduces a whole new paradigm of fasting. 

 c. "Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast." 

 "Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?" And Jesus said to them, "Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast." (Matthew 9:14- 15) 

 4. He is relating the mourning to a bridegroom not a national disaster, not the judgment coming upon the nation but the mourning of the losses of the embraces of the bridegroom that they have grown accustomed to. 

 5. They were so accustomed to the presence of Jesus he loved them 

 a. he liked them 

 b. they enjoyed him 

 c. they felt close to God 

 d. they were in the realm of the power of God all the time 

 e. they were so accustomed to His power and wisdom and his enjoyment with their them.....they just took it for granted. 

 6. Jesus says, "When I am gone...the very remembrances of my former embraces, the nearness I had with them will cause them to long, to languish in their heart to enter into that through the Holy Spirit that they had with me in the flesh." 

 7. They were only going to have that intimacy through the Spirit....He said, "They will mourn." Instead of mourn put the word lovesick or the wound of love. 

 8. Jesus could have said, "They will be wounded by desire...and through the Holy Spirit they will recover the same intimacy they had with me in the flesh." It is an entirely different kind of fasting and not related to the other dimensions. 

 9. The purpose of this fast is to increase our spiritual capacities to freely receive or experience more of Jesus in our hearts. 

 10. This kind of fasting increases our spiritual capacity to freely receive.....this was not an earning thing but to freely receive and experience more of Jesus in our hearts. 

 11. This fasting enlarges our capacity and we could receive more, this fasting has a catalytic dimension accelerates we receive it faster. 

 12. This type of fasting also increases our depth and penetrates us deeper and lasts longer. 

 a. We want more of Jesus, a larger quantity, and we want it to touch us deeper and last longer and we want it to come faster. 

 b. Fasting accelerates this grace in our life and we will look at this next week.

 13. There is a 3-fold focus to this fasting... 

 a. it enhances intimacy with God 

 b. it enhances the revelation of God's beauty c. it opens up the realm of God's mystery...of God's secrets. 

 14. The deep regions of God's heart He will give them under the banner or face of the bridegroom God ....he will give them to the heart that the lovesick the one that cannot live without them.....He will give this anointing. 

 15. We will talk about 7 distinct rewards ..... Jesus says, "I will reward you openly." I have 7 distinct rewards and you could have any number of them of which our heart enters into this lovesickness...this mourning ....He says, "I cannot live without it, " and the Lord says, "In that case I will give it to you."

 16. It is not to avert natural is not even to bring is not a mourning over is longing for the embraces of the bridegroom of which the Lord awakens desire for just a little bit and that awakened desire thrusts us forth into a world of increased desire for God. 

 17. A little bit of revelation makes us insatiably hungry for more. 

 18. The rich get richer in the Spirit if they follow their desires