What To Expect After A Time Of Fasting
God may have re-directed your prayers during the fast and you may be frustrated because the answer He gave -or the direction He pointed you in- was not what you set out to find.
Its important to let go of the expectations of God. His ways are just so much higher than ours.
Ive found that I have to be persistent in fasting and praying to get the answer I need or to beg God to help me understand and embrace the answer He gave.
Let me share an example:
A few years ago I was sure there was no hope for our Marriage. My prayer was God change him. I began fasting and praying over it. I was so aggravated that each time I would fast God would reveal sin in my life a sin I wasnt aware of.
God seemed to be completely ignoring my prayer to change my husband. After months of this, I finally changed my prayer to
God show me what you want to do. And help me want to want Your will in our life.
That is still my prayer today. God has shown me so much sin I praise Him for being patient with me and my stubborn resistance to change. Now my prayer is to be near God and walking on the path He has for me whatever that is submitted to His Will and His Time.
If you need help guiding your prayer time check out The Strategic Prayer Journal in The HopeJoyInChrist Shop!
What To Expect During A Fast
Aggravation, Frustration, and Intense Irritability.
Denying yourself things you enjoy is no fun. Self-denial will cause sinful tendencies to stir and rise up inside of you. It always does for me.
I find I have a temper and will be tempted to yell at my kids and snap at my husband for example.
The beautiful part of Fasting is seeing the hidden sin dealing with it and walking away closer to freedom from it.
That alone will stir us closer to God unless we justify it, ignore it and choose to not deal with it. Resist that temptation. Let the Time of Fasting work healing into your soul
What The Scriptures Say About: Fasting
When your stomach begins to growl halfway through fast and testimony meeting, you probably do not think of fasting as rejoicing, yet this is the way fasting has been scripturally defined: âVerily, this is fasting and prayer, or in other words, rejoicing and prayer.â Rejoicing means to express joy, and joy is the reason for manâs existence. Fasting, then, is an activity that brings us back to the state of being for which we were created.
Our ability to rejoice on fast Sunday or at any other time we choose to fast is dependent on a number of things. One of these is our purpose in fasting.
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What The Bible Says About Spiritual Fasting
- General Biblical Studies, Interdenominational Christian Training Center
In the Old Testament, God commanded Israel to observe several designated times of fasting. For New Testament believers, fasting was neither commanded nor forbidden in the Bible. While early Christians were not required to fast, many practiced prayer and fasting regularly.
Jesus himself affirmed in Luke 5:35 that after his death, fasting would be appropriate for his followers: “The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days” .
Fasting clearly has a place and a purpose for God’s people today.
Add Fervent Prayer To Your Fast
With your mind, heart, body, and soul, put your all into your prayer and fasting. To compel results, you need to focus all your strength on drawing closer to God.
Here is the scripture to confirm this:
James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
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Fasting As A Spiritual Discipline
Fasting has been part and parcel of the Judeo-Christian tradition for millennia. Scripture is replete with examples of people who fast for a variety of reasons.
Old Testament saints fasted at times of mourning and national repentance. They fasted when they needed strength or mercy to persevere and when they wanted a word from God . However, fasting was no magical guarantee that God would answer as the intercessor wanted. King David fasted when he wanted God to spare the life of Bathshebas child, but the child died .
Fasting was a normal practice for the Jews of Jesus day. Jesus began his ministry with a forty-day fast. He also practiced fasting before healings and to overcome temptation. But he did not hold his followers to a strict regime of fasting .
The New Testament church sometimes fasted when it sought Gods will and needed the grace and strength to remain faithful to Gods work. There were also fast times linked to times of worship .
In many Christian traditions fasting is an important part of preparing to embrace a particular liturgical season. During Lent, fasting reminds the of how Jesus gave up everythingeven his lifefor us.
Scripture also gives a variety of warnings about fasting for the wrong reasons or with the wrong attitude: When people do not live as God desires they should be prepared for fasting to accomplish nothing . Fasting is not for appearances. It does not make anyone pious or holy, and it does not earn points with God .
Plan What Youll Do Instead Of Eating
Fasting isnt merely an act of self-deprivation, but a spiritual discipline for seeking more of Gods fullness. Which means we should have a plan for what positive pursuit to undertake in the time it normally takes to eat. We spend a good portion of our day with food in front of us. One significant part of fasting is the time it creates for prayer and meditation on Gods word or some act of love for others.
Before diving headlong into a fast, craft a simple plan. Connect it to your purpose for the fast. Each fast should have a specific spiritual purpose. Identify what that is and design a focus to replace the time you would have spent eating. Without a purpose and plan, its not Christian fasting its just going hungry.
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Some Questions To Help Plan Your Fast:
- How are you experiencing Gods invitation for you to enter into a fast?
- What are you seeking Gods face about? What do you want clarity about?
- God, as I prayerfully enter into this time of fasting, I ask that you would reveal to me
- What kind of fast do you believe God is inviting you to undertake?
- How long do you hear God inviting you to fast for?
- What time are you setting aside to spend with God?
- Is there a passage of scripture that you feel God is inviting you to use to focus your meditations?
- Are you inviting others to fast with you? Who? Why?
- Have you chosen one or two individuals to provide guidance and to help you keep focused and committed? Who?
About Pastor Dan
Daniel has been a seeker his entire life, seeking a deeper relationship with Abba Father. He has served as pastor for American Baptist churches in New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. His passion is to “help people encounter God in the midst of their everyday lives.” He writes with a transparency intended to allow others to see the struggles that lead to healing and life. Daniel currently serves as Spiritual Formation Catalyst for A Place in the Conversation.
The Journey Continues
When Should You Fast
A common question many have when it comes to fasting is: When should you fast? In Isaiah 58, God explains some of the reasons for biblical fasting, and others are modeled throughout the Bible, as well. Some of these include:
Ultimately, you should be led by the Spirit before entering into a fast, and you should always have a purpose for doing so. If the Holy Spirit has been pressing on you to fastdo it!
There are many rewards for spiritual fasting, but they are private rewards between you and God. Being spiritually proud of the fact that you are fasting will destroy everything you are trying to accomplish.
In fact, in Matthew 6:16-18, Jesus says, When you fast, dont make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
As you study the Bible, you will discover three specific rewards of fasting: Fasting subdues your flesh, fasting brings revelation, and fasting leads to deliverance. Learn more about each reward below.
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What Biblical Fasting Is:
Biblical fasting is not eating with spiritual communication in mind. How do we know this? Because Biblical fasting always occurs together with prayer in the Bible ALWAYS. You can pray without fasting, but you cannot fast without praying. Biblical fasting is deliberately abstaining from food for a spiritual reason: communication and relationship with the Father.
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Dr. Tim Muehlhoff is a professor of communication at Biola University in La Mirada, California where he teaches classes in family communication, interpersonal communication, apologetics, gender, and conflict resolution. Tim and his wife, Noreen, are both on staff with Biolas Center for Marriage and Relationships where he is a co-host of The Art of Relationship podcast.
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In Preparation Of Fasting
Is God inviting you to fast, and if so why?
Why are you fasting? Is it for spiritual renewal, for guidance, for healing, for the resolution of problems, for special grace to handle a difficult situation? Ask the Holy Spirit to clarify His leading and objectives for your prayer fast. This will enable you to pray more specifically and strategically.
Through fasting and prayer we humble ourselves before God so the Holy Spirit will stir our souls, awaken our churches, and heal our land according to 2 Chronicles 7:14. Make this a priority in your fasting.
Pray about the kind of fast you should undertake.
Jesus implied that all of His followers should fast For Him it was a matter of when believers would fast, not if they would do it. Before you fast, decide the following upfront:
- How long you will fast one meal, one day, a week, several weeks, forty days
- The type of fast God wants you to undertake
- What physical or social activities you will restrict
- How much time each day you will devote to prayer and Gods Word
Making these commitments ahead of time will help you sustain your fast when physical temptations and lifes pressures tempt you to abandon it.
Make time to prepare yourself spiritually
The very foundation of fasting and prayer is repentance. Unconfessed sin will hinder your prayers. Here are several things you can do to prepare your heart:
Prepare yourself physically
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How To Start Fasting
Fasting is hard. It sounds much easier in concept than it proves to be in practice. It can be surprising how on-edge we feel when we miss a meal. Many an idealistic new fast-er has decided to miss a meal and only found our belly drove us to make up for it long before the next mealtime came.
Fasting sounds so simple, and yet the world, our flesh, and the devil conspire to introduce all sorts of complications that keep it from happening. In view of helping you start down the slow path to good fasting, here are six simple pieces of advice. These suggestions might seem pedantic, but the hope is that such basic counsel can serve those who are new at fasting or have never seriously tried it.
Fast From Something Other Than Food
Fasting from food is not necessarily for everyone. Some health conditions keep even the most devout from the traditional course. However, fasting is not limited to abstaining from food. As Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, Fasting should really be made to include abstinence from anything which is legitimate in and of itself for the sake of some special spiritual purpose.
If the better part of wisdom for you, in your health condition, is not to go without food, consider fasting from television, computer, social media, or some other regular enjoyment that would bend your heart toward greater enjoyment of Jesus. Paul even talks about married couples fasting from sex for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer .
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Have You Been Avoiding The Spiritual Practice Of Fasting Youre Missing Out On The Power Of A Biblical Fast Find Out How With These Three Rewards Of Fasting
Whenever you think of fasting, does your flesh grab your shirt collar and run the other way? Its uncomfortable to be hungry! But did you know fasting is a powerful spiritual tool that can change your life? The rewards of fasting are what beckon us to embark on a biblical fast.
There are times for all of us when the day-to-day business of life and the constant demands on our bodies seem to get in the way of our hearing from God and operating in the spirit realmand the rushing stream of Gods power is reduced to a trickle in our lives.
There are times when simply pressing into God through more time in His Word and in prayer will reopen the flow of the supernatural in your life. But, at other times, you need something morea time dedicated wholly to Him.
The Bible tells of many powerful times of spiritual fasting, including the following:
- Moses fasted while preparing to receive the Ten Commandments
- Elijah fasted when he was in physical danger from Jezebel
- Esther fasted for the safety of the Jews
- Daniel fasted when he needed revelation and an answer to prayer
- Jesus fasted before embarking on His earthly ministry .
What Do You Usually Read While Fasting Suggestions For What To Read
Again, this varies from fast to fast so I cant give a blanket suggestion for what to read or study. This should be up to the Holy Spirit, so ask Him what He wants to teach you during your fast, and study Scripture around that. You can also read other books or commentaries by reliable Christian authors and theologians on the topic while studying Scripture yourself.
For me personally, when I do my twenty-one days of fasting at the beginning of the year, I study Scripture passages that go along with whatever word or theme He put on my heart for the year. I also go through the first section of The Mind of Christ by T.W. Hunt and take notes and do the exercises he has in that section. Ive done this for a while now and Im always amazed at how the Lord grows me in so many new ways no matter how many times I go through it.
But for other fasts that the Lord calls me to, I read or study whatever He leads me to. I encourage you to pray and ask the Lord what Scripture He wants you to study and meditate on during your fast. If He’s calling you to a fast, then there’s a reason for it, so He can lead you to a passage that will speak to whatever He’s planning to show you/teach you during your fast.
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