To Express Love And Worship For God
Fasting can show, as John Piper says, that what we hunger for most, we worship.
How should we equip ourselves when God calls us to declare a holy fast? Here are some things to consider as you prepare for fasting:
Pray and confess your sinsA necessary step before fasting is to humble yourself before God and confess your sins . Prayer should be our sustenance throughout the fast, but it is imperative we begin the fast with a contrite heart.
Turn to ScriptureSpend additional time meditating on Gods Word, before and during the fast.
Keep it secretFasting is unbiblical and even spiritually harmful when we do it to show off our spirituality or when we focus more on our own fasting than on the clear needs of others . Dont boast about your fast tell people you wont be eating only if necessary. Fasting should not be done when imposed for false motives .
Prepare your bodyFasting, especially for days or weeks, can have unexpected and even detrimental effects on your health. There is no scriptural warrant for harming yourself to undergo a fast. Be sure to consult a doctor before starting any fasting regimen to make sure you can fast in a healthy manner.
Fasting is an appropriate bodily reaction to the grievous state of our soul. If it is done correctly you can expect many results, including growing closer to God, feeling more solidarity with those who suffer, and increasing self-control.
Spiritual Preparation For Fasting And Prayer
In preparation for this special time with God, cru.orgs guide to fasting urges that you examine your heart. Ask God to help you see your brokenness clearly so that you can confess your sins and repent. In Scripture, God frequently calls upon people to repent of their sins before listening to their prayers.
You can look to King Davids example in Psalm 66:16-20:
Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for me. I cried aloud to him, and he was extolled with my tongue.If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.But truly God has listened he has given heed to the words of my prayer.
Blessed be God,
How Long Should You Fast For God
The length of the fast also depends on what you are fasting. If you are fasting both food and water, you shouldnt fast for more than two or three days. Furthermore, if you are abstaining merely from food, you can fast for longer. Some people will fast from food and water but will drink juice to maintain energy.
Opening Our Hearts To Receive Gods Voice
Distractions are what prevents us from hearing Gods voice. When we fast we remove some of those distractions. Without these distractions we can completely and unequivocally give ourselves up to God. Especially when we are unable to make certain decisions fasting gives us the required clarity. In this state, we wont be bound by the desires of the flesh.
The Importance Of Prayer And Fasting In A Crisis
Life changes moment by moment during a crisis, but God never does. He is sovereign. He is not surprised by crises, and knows what tomorrow will bring. Gods heart is moved by prayer. As our thoughts run rogue alongside ever-changing media reports and exploding social media feeds, the challenge to take captive every thought is overwhelming.
Prayer and fasting are critical in a crisis, bringing our minds and hearts back to focus on the One who is always in control, even when our world is reeling. God doesnt answer our prayers the way we think He should because He loves us, and He knows what is best for us, wrote Billy Graham. We see only part of the picturebut God sees the whole. This is why we must seek Gods will when we pray, and not just our own. Created in His image, each person innately craves a close connection to God. The sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross allows believers to now come directly to God with the pleas of our hearts. We are promised that prayer is powerful, told to pray continually, and that prayer moves the heart of God.
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Preparing For The Fast
The normal fast involves abstaining from all forms of food, but not from water, and commonly lasts 24 hours, from sunrise to sunrise. If you are fasting for the first time, you might begin by missing a meal or two. Over time, you can build up to a full day or more.
Begin by refraining from solid food, but drink liquids. Water is the best, since soft drinks are not good for the digestive system, and coffee and tea stimulate the nervous system. Before beginning a fast, it is best to eat lightly and cut back on caffeinated drinks. During the first few days of a multi-day fast, it is common to experience headaches as the body withdraws from caffeine.
If you are planning for an extended fast , you should prepare mentally and physically by cutting down on food intake one week before the actual fast, taking on a vegetarian diet to control cravings for food. Reduce your intake of beverages like coffee, tea and soft drinks as well.
Drink plenty of water.
Why Do We Need To Pray And Fast
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This week I taught my congregation from the passage in Marks gospel chapter 9:14-29. In this passage, we see that the disciples were unable to cast out a demonic force and everyone came rushing back to Jesus to take care of the problem.
You will see that there are 2 major forces in play here in the deliverance of this child from this demonic possession. They are belief and intimacy with God.
Both of these forces are intertwined with one another. The more intimate you get with God the more you are able to believe because your experience tells you that God is reliable and trustworthy.
So lets look at this passage and then I will show you how they tie together.
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What Are Other Types Of Fasting
The most common type of fast is fasting from food for a period of time, but are there other types?
TV/Movie Fast: You can take a break from a weekly favorite and use the time to pray or read the Bible. Is there a small group at church that you’ve thought about joining but it’s during the time your show is on? Do you spend your Saturday binging Netflix when you could take some time to mentor someone God has placed on your heart? This is also a good time to evaluate how much of your time is spent watching TV and whether you need to cut back to make time for other priorities.
Social Media Fast: This is becoming one of the more common fasts in our culture. Do you need to take some time away from the noise and refresh? Log out of your accounts, delete them from your device for a period of time, and just spend that time being present with God. Pray and listen. Spend some time in nature soaking in His beauty. Spend some time alone worshipping God.
Secular Music Fast: Instead of listening to Top Hits on the radio, you can choose to listen to the Christian radio station for a period of time. Pop in a CD of your favorite worship leader when you’re driving to work. Listen to a Christian podcast or audiobook. You can even turn the stereo off completely and spend that time in prayer. You’ll be amazed what this little change will do for your life.
What Does The Bible Say About Fasting And Prayer
There is no such thing as a fast without prayer. A fast without prayer is just going hungry and youre accomplishing nothing at all. While fasting is not necessary for salvation it is essential on your Christian walk of faith and highly recommended. In fact, Jesus expects us to fast.
Fasting will help you have a more intimate relationship with Christ. It will help you to overcome sin, bad habits, and help open your eyes to things that are displeasing to God in your life. Fasting and prayer is a time to separate yourself from your regular patterns and from things of the world and come closer to the Lord.
There are so many benefits and reasons for fasting and so many ways to do it. Find out the best way for you. Find out the reason for your fasting and how long you plan on doing it for.
I challenge you today to fast. Dont do it to try to brag and appear spiritual. Make sure your motives are right and do it for the glory of God. Humble yourself before the Lord and commit to Him.
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Strengthening Your Prayers Through Fasting
9. Matthew 17:20-21 And He said to them, Because of the littleness of your faith for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, Move from here to there, and it will move and nothing will be impossible to you. But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.
10. Ezra 8:23 So we fasted and earnestly prayed that our God would take care of us, and he heard our prayer.
The Secret Benefit Of Fasting
Executive Editor, desiringGod.org
Were prone to think of fasting in negative terms. Its understandable. Fasting is abstaining. Its going without food and drink, or some other otherwise good gift from God. Perhaps the reason so many of us fast so infrequently is because we think of fasting mainly as what were going without rather than what were getting.
But Christian fasting is not only going without. It is not simply abstaining. The goal of Christian fasting, in fact, is not going without but getting. Our abstaining always serves some greater end and purpose some eventual gain, not loss. Christian fasting is abstaining for the sake of some specific Christian purpose, or it is not truly Christian.
Jesus did not waffle as to whether his church would fast. When you fast, he said not if . They will fast, he promised . And so the early church fasted , and for two millennia Christians have fasted. And when we have done so in truly a Christian way, the end result has not been loss but gain. But in order for Christian fasting to become a spiritual feast, we have to rehearse its purpose and benefits.
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The Principles Of Biblical Fasting
There are two main overriding principles related to prayer and fasting in the Bible.
First, biblical fasting is going without food. The noun translated “fast” or “a fasting” is tsom in the Hebrew and nesteia in the Greek language. It means the voluntary abstinence from food. The literal Hebrew translation would be “not to eat.” The literal Greek means “no food.”
I know people who say they go without television or movies, and they call these “fasting” times. I’m not opposed to that definition of fasting-fasting does imply that we are giving up one thing in order to replace it with something else, and in the Bible sense, specifically to replace it with prayer. But in the main, I believe fasting has to do with our abstaining from food. Second, biblical fasting is linked with serious seasons of prayer. The more seriously we approach prayer and fasting, the more serious the results we will experience.
I sometimes hear people say, “I’m giving up chocolate” and they regard this as a type of fasting. I think this is a rather frivolous approach. The first and foremost purpose of a biblical or spiritual fast is to get a breakthrough on a particular matter that one lifts up to the Lord in prayer. A spiritual fast involves our hearts and the way in which we relate to and trust God. It relates to discerning and receiving strength to follow through on what God might reveal to us about circumstances in our lives or a direction we are to take.
What Is The Daniel Fast
Daniel abstained from meat, bread, wine, and oils for his skin for 21 days .
These would have been things that satisfied Daniel, good food, and relief from dried skin. He abstained after being captured and brought to Babylon. It was likely the royal food was not kosher according to Daniels customs. When Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah, and other young Israelite men were taken into Nebuchadnezzars service, they were to be given food and wine from the kings table while undergoing a three-year training program. But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way .
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What Is Spiritual Fasting
Spiritual fasting is to deny your body its physical needs so that moves your focus from the physical to the spiritual .
In simple terms, it is fasting for spiritual growth because it helps you to grow closer to God and is often a regular part of prayer life.
All throughout history, there were seasons of feast and famine. The body and soul naturally went through times of hard work and lack and times of ease and abundance.
However, today in western culture, we have 365 days of abundance. Our diet is not dependent on weather, season or location.
We can eat all kinds of foods anytime we want. We can have Chinese food at midnight if we so desire.
However, with all this abundance of foods comes a greater need for self-control. We must decide on the kinds and amounts of food that are appropriate for a healthy lifestyle.
But even with a healthy standard for eating, we most likely wont experience famine without choosing it. Our bodies were designed to experience both feast and famine. We feast to celebrate. We fast to transform.
How Do You Fast And Pray Biblically
While Biblical fasting refers to food. There are a number of ways to fast. Remember, the point is to connect with God on a deeper level. A Fast is about humbling our hearts before God. Fasting and praying are about giving up the thing you seek for satisfaction in order to draw near to God allowing God to satisfy you. The length of time and what youre fasting from depends on what you sense God pressing you to do. How long you fast is entirely up to you and the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
Youll want to put yourself on a schedule. Set aside ample time to be alone with the Lord. Listen for His leading. The more time you spend with Him, the more meaningful your fast will be.
Begin your day with praise and worship. Read and meditate on Gods Word. Invite the Holy Spirit to work in you and ask to be mindful of his presence. Pray for Gods vision and empowerment to do his will.
Return to prayer and Gods Word. If possible, take a short prayer walk. Journal what you sense God speaking to you.
Get alone with God and seek Him. Spend time in intercessory prayer for your community and our nations leaders, for the worlds unreached millions, for your family or other needs.
The Importance Of Intimacy With God Shown By Prayer And Fasting
The second force in the deliverance of the child was what I call intimacy with God. Prayer and fasting were never meant to be religious exercises. They were meant to be methods of communication and acts of affection.
Again I want to show you why I believe this way based on the Greek text.
- Prayer. The Greek word here is Proseuche which means prayer addressed to God, a place set apart or suited for the offering of prayer, a synagogue, a place in the open air where the Jews were wont to pray, outside the cities, where they had no synagogue, such places were situated upon the bank of a stream or the shore of a sea, where there was a supply of water for washing the hands before prayer.
I want to emphasize here that not only did the word mean to address something to God but also to set apart a place for where those prayers are offered.
That doesnt mean you need to build a little shrine in your home, but it does mean that you get away to a place of privacy to pray and give your undivided attention to that prayer. When you set apart a place to get alone with God it shows that your communication with God is important to you.
It is more than just rattling off a want list or just praying for others. It shows you planned ahead.
- Fasting. The Greek word here is Nesteia which means a fasting, fast a voluntary, as a religious exercise, of private fasting.
When is the last time you gave up something you wanted or needed as an act of love towards the Lord?
Fasting And Prayer Sharpens Our Focus When We Need It Most
Prayer and fasting exist alongside each other as important practices in the spiritual lives of Gods people. Their purpose is to draw us closer to God by sharpening our focus. We eliminate distraction, choosing instead to focus on God. Fasting, removing something from our lives intentionally for a period of time in order to dedicate that space to God, is just as important as prayer. Fasting in our modern world can include exchanging time on digital platforms to sit with God in prayer.
No crisis can stop us from obediently working for the Kingdom of God, but it may look different than were used to. God is faithful to go before us. Taking time to pray and fast allow us to hear more clearly Gods directives in times of crisis.
God is still littering our lives with blessings and miracles, but we will remain stuck in the doldrums of fear and worry if we are not intentional with our thoughts and actions. Sin separates us from God. When the temple curtain tore upon Jesus death, Gods forgiveness rained down upon all of humanity. However, it is up to us to accept His gift, through Christ, and confess our sins daily with an attitude of repentance. Sin kinks our connection with God. Confession and repentance clear the channels of communication.
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