Lessons on Prayer, by Witness Lee

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Second, fasting is man’s indication that he stands absolutely on God’s side. In the chapter concerning the prayer of warfare we said that prayer is man declaring in the universe that he is standing on God’s side to oppose Satan. Fasting is a sign of the absoluteness of such prayer. Today, in order to show his absoluteness concerning a certain matter, a man may fast a long time. If you can be praying for a certain matter and can also be eating, it reveals that you are not absolutely standing on God’s side. It demonstrates that your attitude is still not firm enough. So, brothers and sisters, as you pray, do not fast lightly. Always keep in mind that in fasting you are saying, “Here is a great and important matter, and in this matter, my attitude, my intention, is one hundred percent, absolutely standing on God’s side to oppose God’s enemy.”


Third, the basic meaning of fasting is to renounce one’s lawful rights. There is nothing in our human life that is more legitimate than eating. Following the creation of man, the first thing God did for man was to arrange the matter of eating. In Genesis 1, after He created man according to His image, God immediately ordained the herbs and fruits as food for man. Therefore, man’s eating is lawful. By his fasting, man indicates that in order to receive and bear an important matter he renounces his most legitimate right.

Since fasting is the renunciation of our lawful right, we also must learn to give up our legitimate rights in many other matters. If we are not willing to put aside the enjoyments of our life as we fast, then such fasting is meaningless. The Lord Jesus’ life matched His fasting, because while living as a man on the earth, He gave up many lawful rights. The entire life of the Lord Jesus was based on the principle of fasting. He renounced His lawful rights and forsook His reasonable enjoyments, so that although He did not fast daily, He lived every day in the principle of fasting.


Fourth, fasting also indicates that man does not care for himself, not even for his life. Eating is most crucial to human existence. Without eating, man will starve to death. Hence, to fast is to use your life as a pledge. In fasting you are saying, “I want this matter to be fulfilled even at the cost of my life. I am fighting for it with my life.” Sometimes people working in an organization may argue about something and use their staying or leaving as a pledge. In essence, they say, “If you agree with me, I will stay; if not, I will leave.” Keep in mind that fasting is fighting for something with your life. You are, in effect, maintaining the attitude that you would rather die than let this matter pass by. You would die in order that this matter might be carried out. Thus, if we pray for a certain burden, and within our heart we still consider our future, our destiny, or our life, then we may pray, but we do not need to fast. If you really want to fast and pray for a certain matter, you need to maintain the attitude that you are putting your life aside. This is in accordance with what the Apostle Paul said, “Neither count I my life as dear unto myself” (Acts 20:24). When Paul was on his way to Jerusalem for the last time, all along the way believers warned him, saying, “When you get there, you will surely be bound with chains and encounter danger.” They besought him to such an extent that Paul, being unable to bear it, answered, “What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 21:13). This is the principle of fasting. In fasting, you not only renounce your rights, but you also give up your life. Therefore, when we sometimes feel that our fasting is meaningless, it is because we are merely manifesting an outward indication, while inwardly we are still the same. Fasting means that a certain matter is pressing upon you to such an extent that you have to fight with your life and that you would rather die than allow this matter to go by lightly. You will prove this matter to God even unto death. When you have such a strong feeling, your fasting is meaningful.

(Lessons on Prayer, Chapter 19, by Witness Lee)