Fasting and Prayer
Prayer by itself is a powerful way to communicate with God and receive answers to what troubles our hearts. Fasting and Prayer is even that more effective! Why? The Word of God tells us clearly that there are some things that we will only receive a breakthrough if we would fast as well as pray for them.
Isaiah 58 :6“Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke?”
Matthew 17:14-16,20-22 (NKJV)”And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.”So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief;for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
1 Corinthians 7:5 “Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
Daniel 9:3 “Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.”
Prayer and Fasting in the bible is used to give breakthrough on things that are difficult to overcome with just prayer alone.
The Biblical Fasting is outlined in Isaiah 58, God shows us what this fast does. It loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke. Not only that but God also tells us in the same chapter of Isaiah the heart attitude that we should have when we enter a fast.
“Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast.
Shout aloud! Don’t be timid.
Tell my people Israel of their sins!
2 Yet they act so pious!
They come to the Temple every day
and seem delighted to learn all about me.
They act like a righteous nation
that would never abandon the laws of its God.
They ask me to take action on their behalf,
pretending they want to be near me.
3 ‘We have fasted before you!’ they say.
‘Why aren’t you impressed?
We have been very hard on ourselves,
and you don’t even notice it!’
“I will tell you why!” I respond.
“It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves.
Even while you fast,
you keep oppressing your workers.
4 What good is fasting
when you keep on fighting and quarreling?
This kind of fasting
will never get you anywhere with me.
5 You humble yourselves
by going through the motions of penance,
bowing your heads
like reeds bending in the wind.
You dress in burlap
and cover yourselves with ashes.
Is this what you call fasting?
Do you really think this will please the Lord?”
So we see through these scriptures on fasting God’s displeasure when we do it as an external show but continue to live a life that shows we have not changed or repented of our sins. True fasting involves our heart. It looks at our motives and it is true penance to God.
Before you start your fast be sure that your heart is in the right place with the Lord by confessing your sins. This is between you and God so unless this is a church wide fast it should be something you do in private.
Different Types of Fasting and Praying in the Bible
We know of a couple different types of Bible Fasting and their results
- Daniel Fast – (Daniel 1:12-14, 17)“Please test us for ten days on a diet of vegetables and water
,” Daniel said. “At the end of the ten days, see how we look compared to the other young men who are eating the king’s food. Then make your decision in light of what you see.” The attendant agreed to Daniel’s suggestion and tested them for ten days.God gave these four young men an unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect of literature and wisdom. And God gave Daniel the special ability to interpret the meanings of visions and dreams.
- Esther Fast – (Esther 4:16-17; 5:3; 7:3-4)“Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will do the same. And then, though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king. If I must die, I must die.” So Mordecai went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him.Queen Esther replied,Then the king asked her, “What do you want, Queen Esther? What is your request? I will give it to you, even if it is half the kingdom!”… “If I have found favor with the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my request, I ask that my life and the lives of my people will be spared.For my people and I have been sold to those who would kill, slaughter, and annihilate us. If we had merely been sold as slaves, I could remain quiet, for that would be too trivial a matter to warrant disturbing the king.”
The plot against the Israelites in the book of Esther was completely overturned and the pit that the enemy dug for them, he fell into it himself!
Please keep in mind that if you are on medication or if you are a diabetic you must use wisdom as to what you are able to do.
Here are some suggestions for fasting for God if you can’t do the Esther or the Daniel Fast.
- You can fast a meal instead of all meals
- You can refrain from consuming alcohol
- You can also refrain from technology – i.e the computer, television, your phone
- You can fast meat
- You can also fast sun up to sun down, so you would eat from 6AM – 6PM
- You can stop eating sweets, chocolates.
- Basically this should be something that would be noticeably missing from your daily life if you stop doing it. It should be a sacrifice. Don’t fast something you won’t miss.
Fasts should be goal oriented. So you need to write down before you start the areas where you need your breakthrough. This will ensure that you receive a clear answer on these items and you are not going astray in your focus.
How long should you fast? Make a set time as a part of your goal. 1 day, 3 days, 1 week, a month? This will be up to you and whether or not you received an answer to your prayers.
Everyday while you are saying your prayers you should be focused on the goal. Look up all the scriptures that are related to what you are struggling with and pray through them.
We know that you will receive answers from the Lord during this time and fully experience the power of prayer and fasting. This model of fasting is good to do during Lent and as a part of the Lenten Season