I am a very strong advocate of fasting and praying? Why, because I like to go long periods of time with no food and only liquids? ABSOLUTELY NOT! But, as you enter deeper into your relationship with Christ you must apply the below 4-step spiritual formula to your life:
- Prayer + Fasting = Clear Directions
- Clear Directions + Obedience = Faith
- Obedience + Faith = (divine) Alignment
- Divine Alignment + Work = Acceleration
I gave the above equation on Sunday, August 27, 2017, while ministering a sermon at my church entitled, “Season of Acceleration.” As you can see, step one states that Prayer + Fasting is needed in order to receive Clear Directions. Committing to a fast is one of the hardest things to do when it’s for spiritual purposes.
I’ve gone hours without eating before, we all have, but it’s normally not on purpose. Usually, when we go hours without eating it’s because we were too busy or caught up in our day that we simply forgot to eat. But to purposefully not eat for an extended amount of time, you’re constantly aware and reminded of it. Most times when you decide to fast, it ends up being the day they’re providing free lunch on the job or a friend wants to “catch up on life” and treat you to dinner. Funny how those things work out!
Fasting is a sacrifice. It’s to give up one thing in order to replace it with something else. It is to deny yourself of something you do on a regular basis and will struggle with staying away from. Fasting for spiritual reasons in its simplest definition is to starve the flesh and strengthen the Spirit. It requires great self-discipline, self-control, and self-denial to temporarily say ‘No’ to our natural appetites in order to say ‘Yes’ to God. When you give up something that’s a large part of your everyday routine, without a doubt you will long for it, you’ll desire it, and you will miss its presence in your life. For me, and most people, that requires food! Biblical fasting is to give up food and replace it with prayer. Often times people have said to me, “Fasting food isn’t for me. I go hours without eating all the time. Not eating won’t be a struggle for me.” I always challenge them to declare a fast from 6a-6p or 8a-8p with no food and then tell me if it was a struggle or not. Sure, we’ve all gone hours without eating, but was it on purpose?
When you fast, the desire to cheat, end earlier than you initially planned, or reschedule the fast for another day is very common. You may feel physically weak. You will experience headaches or other physical attacks that cause you to think or feel as if you need to eat in order to function properly throughout the day…and that’s where the praying part of ‘Fasting & Praying’ should enter in – they go hand in hand. Praying includes talking to God and reading the Bible. Fasting when accompanied by prayer is powerful. Also, when fasting and praying no one but you and the Lord should know that you’re doing it.
Fasting to Be Seen Only by God
16 “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”
So why fast? Why put yourself through an unnecessary refusal of food when you can just simply pray and receive the answers you’re looking for? The top two reasons I believe every believer should fast is because the Bible tells us to and to hear God more clearly. When you fast (starve the flesh), the desires, thoughts, and longing to eat are never-ending. You’re constantly reminded of how you haven’t eaten and that you’re hungry. When you would usually just grab something to eat, you can’t, so in the place of food goes prayer. The benefits to fasting are endless.
- The Bible tells us to Fast & Pray.
- Simply put, if Jesus did it, you should too!
- To hear God more clearly.
- God honors it.
- For God to intervene.
- It draws you closer to God.
- To experience a deeper praise and worship.
- To receive answers and revelation – God’s vision and will.
- To increase confidence and effectiveness in your prayers. For boldness.
- To destroy strongholds, overcome something, strengthen discernment, and receive your breakthrough (or heart’s desires).
- Long story long, sometimes nothing but fasting will do.
Fasting is a means of bringing the flesh into submission to the Lord so He can strengthen us in our mastery over our own selves. Fasting in the flesh makes us stronger to stand against the temptations of the flesh.
Study to receive an understanding for yourself.
- Matthew 6:16-18
- Mark 9:17–29
- Matthew 9:14-15
- Luke 2:37
- Joel 2:12
- 2 Samuel 12:15-17
- Act 13:3
- Acts 14:23
- Matthew 5:6
- Nehemiah 1:4