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Fasting For Spiritual Breakthrough Lesson 10: The Esther Fast Elmer Towns
Esther  4: 16 - 16
THE ESTHER FAST

While the disciples had many successes in their public ministry with Christ, on at least one occasion, they encountered an individual with a spiritual problem they were unable to resolve. Recognizing the unmet need in the life of a family, Jesus stepped in to rescue the situation. He cast out a demon and restored a young boy to his right mind. Puzzled and confused, the disciples wondered why they had been unsuccessful in their attempts to do the same. "This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting," Jesus responded (Mark 9:29).

As Christians, we are engaged in spiritual warfare against an enemy that is stronger than us. But as great as our enemy is, God is greater. We can experience spiritual victory when we depend upon God to fight on our behalf. One of the weapons God has given us to use as we engage in spiritual warfare is the discipline of fasting. In this chapter, we will study the Esther Fast to discover how fasting protects us from the Evil One.

Date:
Fasting Through Many Dangers
(Pages 157-162)

Towns writes, "Taking a stand for Christ can be costly." What are some of these costs faced by Christians today? Which of these costs have you faced personally?

Towns writes, "Most Americans, including many Christians, do not believe in evil forces or demonic spirits." Why do you think many American Christians struggle with accepting the reality of evil spirits at work in our world?

How does the Esther Fast differ from the rite of exorcism?

Towns writes of two instances of apparent protection from the Evil One, once in Hollywood, California and once in Haiti. How do you feel when you read these accounts? Have you had similar experiences in your life?

How is the Esther Fast similar to the final petition of the Lordís Prayer, i.e., "Deliver us from the Evil One"?

It has been said that although the name of God does not appear in the story of Esther, the hand of God is evident throughout. How did God protect Esther from a significant threat to her peace and security and that of her people?

Date:
Prescription for the Esther Fast
(Pages 162-169)

Towns identifies nine steps involved in observing the Esther Fast. Use the following questions to walk through these steps in the context of your own Esther Fast.

Describe the danger you are presently facing.

What is the source of this danger?

What is the nature of your personal battle?

Under Godís authority, how will you respond to the enemy?

For what specific requests will you pray during this fast?

What limitations in your situation may be untouched by the fast?

Who have you enlisted to fast with you in this matter?

What victory strategy has God given you during your fast?

What pieces of spiritual armor are you using? . . . or lacking?

How has God protected you during your fast?

Date:
Practicing the Esther Fast
(Pages 170, 171)

For whom do you intend to fast for spiritual protection?

How significant is the spiritual attack? Who is fasting with you in this matter?

What specific problem are you hoping to address in the Esther Fast? Be as specific as possible in expressing your purpose in fasting.

Are you willing to abstain from this fast if God makes it clear your problem is not related to spiritual warfare? If He chose to do so, what would it take to convince you God wanted you to consider other possibilities?

As you begin fasting, what will be the character of this fast? From what foods are you abstaining? When will you begin and end this fast? How often do you intend to repeat this fast?

A Word of Prayer
Heavenly Father, I am in a battle I cannot win alone. I not only need Your help, I need You to fight this battle for me. Intervene in those areas over which I have no control and protect me from attacks I cannot withstand. Strengthen me to endure the conflict You choose to allow me to face and show me Your way of escape in each situation I encounter. Watch over and protect my family and others who have engaged the Enemy with me. Grant us a victory that will bring glory to You and allow for the advancement of Your agenda in the world today. Lord, as I follow Your leading in my life and observe the Esther Fast, show me the things in my life that hinder You in accomplishing Your purposes and give the enemy an advantage. Deliver me from the Evil One. In Jesus name I pray, amen.

Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?

Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward.óIsaiah 58:6-8

Is it possible Christians could be guilty of the same wrong approach to fasting practiced by Israel?

Perhaps God has a particular fast He chooses for us at particular times in our life. If that is the case, it is important that we fast the fast(s) God chooses for our lives. As we conclude our study of the disciplines of fasting, letís reconsider each of the nine fasts and determine which need to be practised on a regular basis in our life.

What is the purpose of the Discipleís Fast?

How significant is that need in your life at present?

Is Godís chosen fast for you at this time? (Circle one)
YES NO UNCERTAIN

What is the purpose of the Ezra Fast?

How significant is that need in your life at present?

Is Godís chosen fast for you at this time? (Circle one)
YES NO UNCERTAIN

What is the purpose of the Samuel Fast?

How significant is that need in your life at present?

Is Godís chosen fast for you at this time? (Circle one)
YES NO UNCERTAIN

What is the purpose of the Elijah Fast?

How significant is that need in your life at present?

Is Godís chosen fast for you at this time? (Circle one)
YES NO UNCERTAIN

What is the purpose of the Widowís Fast?

How significant is that need in your life at present?

Is Godís chosen fast for you at this time? (Circle one)
YES NO UNCERTAIN

What is the purpose of the St. Paul Fast?

How significant is that need in your life at present?

Is Godís chosen fast for you at this time? (Circle one)
YES NO UNCERTAIN

What is the purpose of the Daniel Fast?

How significant is that need in your life at present?

Is Godís chosen fast for you at this time? (Circle one)
YES NO UNCERTAIN

What is the purpose of the John the Baptist Fast?

How significant is that need in your life at present?

Is Godís chosen fast for you at this time? (Circle one)
YES NO UNCERTAIN

What is the purpose of the Esther Fast?

How significant is that need in your life at present?

Is Godís chosen fast for you at this time? (Circle one)
YES NO UNCERTAIN

What is/are Godís chosen fast(s) for you?

Looking Ahead
We began this series of studies on the disciplines of fasting noting it was one of the disciplines God has established to achieve spiritual breakthroughs in our life and the lives of others about whom we care deeply. We have considered together nine different biblical fasts and how each can produce significant spiritual results in our life. Now we are faced with several options.

For some, this study of the disciplines of fasting has merely been an interesting study. As a result of this study, they have received a greater understanding of this topic of Scripture.

For others, this study has resulted in unique experiences as perhaps for the first time they have experienced this spiritual discipline in their life. These experiences may have resulted in spiritual victories which may be a source of encouragement to themselves and others in the years to come.

Then there are others. As they have worked through these studies, they have begun developing a spiritual discipline which will continue to grow in the years to come. For them, the disciplines of fasting are now a growing part of their Christian life.

As we conclude this study series, take a few minutes to look ahead in your own life. What role do you want this spiritual discipline to have in the years to come? That is a decision only you can make.

If you have never really accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, would you do it right now? Do not delay or put it off. If you would like to receive Christ by faith, pray this simple prayer in your heart:

Dear Lord, I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I believe Jesus died for my sins on the cross, and rose again the third day. I repent of my sins. By faith I receive the Lord Jesus as my Savior. You promised to save me, and I believe You, because You are God and cannot lie. I believe right now that the Lord Jesus is my personal Savior, and that all my sins are forgiven through His precious blood. I thank You, dear Lord, for saving me. In Jesus name, Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, God heard you and saved you. I personally want to welcome you to the family of God. Please contact me at eltowns@liberty.edu and tell us about your salvation experience so that we can rejoice with you.

****
For more information about the study guide Fasting For Spiritual Breakthrough, please go to www.elmertowns.com.
 
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