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NOTES ON OUR FAST-DAY ON TUESDAY

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Evening, August 12, 2018

“When thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly” (Matthew 6:17, 18).


Notice that Jesus did not say, “If you fast.” No, He said, “When you fast.” Fasting seems strange to secular people today. Sometimes an over-anxious mother will think you are going to starve to death if you go a day without eating. Don’t lie to your mother. Just tell her you aren’t eating that meal.

Not everyone should fast. If you have a physical problem you should see a medical doctor before beginning a day of fasting. In our church, you could see Dr. Judith Cagan, or Dr. Kreighton L. Chan. Or you could call them on the phone. Dr. Judith Cagan’s cell number is (213)324-3231. Dr. Chan’s cell number is (323)819-5153. If you have a condition like diabetes or high blood pressure, or something else, you should be sure to call Dr. Judith Cagan or Dr. Chan, or speak to one of them after this service. If they tell you not to fast, you can still spend more time in prayer when we have our fast day on Tuesday. You can join us in prayer without fasting that day.

On Tuesday, August 14, we will have a fast day in our church. None of you has to fast. No one will be checking to see if you fasted. If you fast with us it will be completely voluntary. Do it if you want to. Don’t do it if you don’t want to.

This is the first time we have had a fast day for several months. I was reminded of the need for fasting and prayer by Dr. Elmer L. Towns, the co-founder of Liberty University. The thoughts and comments I will give in this message are gleaned from Dr. Towns’ book, The Beginner’s Guide to Fasting, Bethany House Publishers, 2001. It is a good book. If you want a copy, you can order one from Amazon.com.

There are several kinds of fasts in Dr. Towns’ book. But we are going to have a one-day fast, which he calls a “Yom Kippur Fast.” This was a one-day fast which Jewish believers were required to practice (Leviticus 16:29).

Today, Christians are not required to fast – but we are allowed to fast. Jesus said, “When ye fast” (Matthew 6:16) because fasting is a discipline to build our character and faith.

If you have never fasted it may scare you to think about going without food for a day. But fasting will not hurt you any more than dieting to lose weight. A one-day fast will not harm a normal person who is given the “OK” by a doctor – like Dr. Judith Cagan or Dr. Chan.

A one-day “Yom Kippur Fast” is the best way to do your first fast on Tuesday. You are not required to fast. You do it voluntarily as a spiritual discipline. Don’t worry what others think, because your fast is a personal commitment between you and God. Fasting will help you become a prayer warrior for God.

When you fast on Tuesday, expect resistance. The Devil will oppose you. If you pray for the salvation of others or for your church, Satan will oppose you. Fasting is not easy. So when you start on the adventure of fasting do it with the knowledge that it may be tough. But the rewards will be worth it!

The one-day Yom Kippur Fast was from sundown to sundown in the Bible. If you are going to fast with us for one day you should eat a snack just before sundown (about 8:30 PM). Eat a banana or a small bowl of cereal. The next day don’t eat breakfast or lunch. When the sun goes down on Tuesday we will have a meal for you here at the church. You can eat a snack, like another banana, before you come to church at 7:00 PM on Tuesday. We will have some porridge and a sandwich for you when you get here. Then we will have a few more prayers, and an opportunity for you to give a testimony about your day of fasting and prayer, and I will preach a short sermon.

WHEN YOU FAST AND PRAY ON TUESDAY, YOU SHOULD HAVE A PURPOSE. THE PURPOSE OF THIS FAST DAY IS TO ASK GOD TO USE OUR PLAN OF SATURDAY EVENING GAMES FOR MEN TO BRING IN OTHERS TO OUR CHURCH. IF GOD DOESN’T BLESS THE GAMES NO ONE WILL COME INTO OUR CHURCH, AND THE GAMES WILL JUST BECOME ANOTHER ACTIVITY, A PART OF THE “MACHINERY” OF THE CHURCH, JUST ANOTHER ACTIVITY THAT PRODUCES NO FRUIT. WE WILL HAVE ANOTHER FAST DAY TO PRAY FOR THE NEW ACTIVITIES OUR LADIES WILL HAVE IN A FEW DAYS. BUT I AM ASKING EVERYONE, BOTH LADIES AND MEN, TO FAST AND PRAY ON TUESDAY FOR GOD TO USE THE SATURDAY EVENING GAMES TO DRAW IN NEW PEOPLE TO OUR CHURCH. YOU MAY PRAY FOR SOME OTHER THINGS – BUT THE MAIN PURPOSE OF THIS FAST SHOULD BE FOCUSED ON GOD USING THE SATURDAY GAMES TO BRING NEW YOUNG MEN INTO OUR CHURCH. MAKE THE MAIN PURPOSE OF YOUR PRAYERS FOCUS ON THAT – FOR GOD TO HELP THE MEN TO BRING PEOPLE TO THE GAMES AND THEN TO VISIT OUR SUNDAY SERVICES. FAST AND PRAY FOR THAT PURPOSE. WE NEED THE LADIES TO FAST WITH US FOR THAT PURPOSE TOO.

Remember to start your fast on Monday evening with a small snack, then fast breakfast and lunch on Tuesday. Eat another small snack toward evening, then come to church at 7:00 PM on Tuesday, and we will break the fast together with some porridge and a sandwich.

“When ye fast”... This means that Jesus approved of fasting. Christians are to fast to receive guidance and power from the Holy Spirit. Dr. John R. Rice said, “I know that real fasting...will get the blessing God wants to give us.” Spurgeon said, “We have lost a very great blessing in the Christian church by giving up fasting.” Dr. R. A. Torrey said, “If we would pray with power, we should pray with fasting.” The great evangelist John Wesley said, “Have you any days of fasting and prayer? Storm the throne of grace...and mercy will come down.” My Chinese pastor, Dr. Timothy Lin said, “Our spiritual awareness is often unblocked as soon as we start fasting and praying...This is speaking from my personal experience.”

Take this sermon manuscript home with you tonight. Read this sermon tomorrow as you prepare to start your fast in the evening with a snack. Here are some points to remember when you fast from Monday night until Tuesday evening:

1.  Make your fast a secret (as much as possible). Don’t go around telling people you are fasting.

2.  Memorize Isaiah 58:6 during Tuesday’s fast.

“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?” (Isaiah 58:6).

3.  Read Matthew 7:7-11 carefully several times as you fast on Tuesday.

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:7-11).

4.  Pray for our men to bring in several young men to the basketball game on Saturday, August 18th.

5.  Drink lots of water, about 1 glass every two hours. You can also drink black coffee or tea (without cream or sugar) if you are used to drinking it every day. If you feel “light-headed” you can drink cold Sprite or Seven-up (a glass or two). Do not drink power drinks!

6.  If you have any questions about your health, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, speak with Dr. Judith Cagan or Dr. Kreighton Chan before you fast. Their cell numbers are given earlier in this sermon.

7.  Begin your fast after you eat a snack on Monday evening. End your fast with a light snack on Tuesday evening – then come to church for a light meal at 7:00 on Tuesday night.

8.  Remember to focus your prayers on Tuesday on the success of our men bringing people to the basketball game next Saturday.


You can phone me, Dr. Hymers, at (818)352-0452 any time if you have a problem or a question or phone Mrs. Hymers at (818)645-7356 and tell her to get ahold of me.

I will be praying for you to have a successful time of fasting and prayer! One more thing: If you are working or in school on Tuesday, pray silently from time to time for these requests. Keep this sermon with you on Tuesday so you can re-read the 8 points to remember (above). God bless you all!

Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.
Philippians 4:13

Please stand and sing hymn number 4, “Teach Me to Pray.”

Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray; This is my heart cry, day unto day;
I long to know Thy will and Thy way; Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray.

Power in prayer, Lord, power in prayer, Here ‘mid earth’s sin and sorrow and care;
Men lost and dying, souls in despair; O give me power, power in prayer!

Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray; Thou art my Pattern, day unto day;
Thou art my Surety, now and for aye; Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray.
   (“Teach Me to Pray” by Albert S. Reitz, 1879-1966).


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(END OF SERMON)
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Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Teach Me to Pray” (by Albert S. Reitz, 1879-1966).