Opens Our Hearts To Spiritual Revival
We kindle Holy Spirit fire as we fast and pray. We become change agents and intercessors for the broken and hurting during a fast. Our hearts are revived and refreshed spiritually because of it.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalemand to the end of the earth, .
Empowerment flows when we pray and fast. We are that much more able to press into the greatest commission of allgaining souls for an eternal harvest, .
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,
When You Fast Part : Spiritual Benefits
I was four days into my fast. On the night before I was to share the gospel and my testimony before a large crowd, I lay in bed, soaking in the manifest presence of God. It was like I could hear Him breathing. The veil between heaven and earth was wide open on this night, and I found myself able to neither speak nor move, but simply lay there in pure ecstasy and holy dread. God was speaking, but I didnt know exactly what He was saying the words were purely spiritual and not of this world. I felt warmed and sustained by a power far beyond anything Ive experienced from any food or controlled substance. I was in the presence of God, and filled with God, and I knew He was going to speak powerfully the next morning.
So far in this series, we have examined the miraculous physical benefits of fasting , helpful tips on how to fast successfully, and the fact that fasting from food is not optional to the genuine follower of Christ. Today, we turn our attention to the spiritual benefits of fasting. Besides physical cleansing and restoration, what does fasting do for us spiritually? Why is it so transformative?
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Dont Think Of White Elephants
Without a purpose and plan, its not Christian fasting its just going hungry.
When your empty stomach starts to growl and begins sending your brain every feed me signal it can, dont be content to let your mind dwell on the fact that you havent eaten. If you make it through with an iron will that says no to your stomach, but doesnt turn your minds eye elsewhere, it says more about your love for food than your love for God.
Christian fasting turns its attention to Jesus or some great cause of his in the world. Christian fasting seeks to take the pains of hunger and transpose them into the key of some eternal anthem, whether its fighting against some sin, or pleading for someones salvation, or for the cause of the unborn, or longing for a greater taste of Jesus.
How Does Fasting Kill Off Evil Desires
Okay, back to fasting. When we fast, we learn to say no to the bodys most basic and powerful desire: for food. Simply put, if you can gain control over your bodys basic desire for food, you can learn to control your bodys desire for anything. I often put it this way: once you learn to say no to food, lust is no problem. Mastering the highest level of spiritual discipline gains you instant mastery over the lower ones. Nothing teaches our flesh to submit to the Spirit more powerfully than fasting. Fasting breaks spiritual bondages! It is a bitter death-blow to the flesh, and once the flesh is mastered by fasting, it no longer has control over us. It stops being our default reaction. We are free to live unto God.
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The Real Purpose Of Fasting
In verses 5 to 8, we see the purpose of the fast, and what it will achieve if done correctly
to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
Emphasis here is on us as individuals, undoing their heavy burdens, and the wickedness that they have held onto.
After we have fasted to improve ourselves. Only then are we supposed to follow up with acts of kindness such as feeding the poor and clothing the hungry.
All this is what leads to a reward with the Most High i.e. Eternal life!
Fast And Pray: Spiritual Fasting Is Physical Fasting
Spiritual fasting is physical. It involves denying your body its basic need of food. This is what makes the practice a fast and not just a practice of spiritual meditation or contemplation.
Denying the basic physical need for food is important. The idea is to deny your body its physical needs in order to move the focus away from your body and toward your faith and spirituality.
The physical act of denial is an act of faith. First, to yourself, then to your higher power or place within your spiritual paradigm. Fasting is an act of discipline and self-control. Spiritual fasting is how you practice your ability to manage the desires of the flesh. Spiritual fasting for health is how you remove those basic earthly things to create space for your higher power. This basic act of humility is important for the work ahead of you: your faith.
Further, the discipline of fasting is also a path toward improving your body. Fasting can help you lose weight. See our post onperiodic fasting to learn how you can use healthy fasting for a period of time to improve your overall health.
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Will You Practice Spiritual Fasting For Breakthrough Today
Knowing that Spiritual fasting leads to breakthrough and awakening is sadly not enough most days. Fasting is outside the normal cycle of life and so you need a plan to make it happen.
If you are longing for breakthrough in an area of your life that prayer and Bible study alone have not brought to you yet, a time of fasting may help.
Maybe you felt the stir but you are still unsure of the specific how-tos of fasting. No worries. Ive written a short book to help guide you through the process of fasting.
A Beginners Guide to Pray and Fast: Taking Spiritual Warfare to the Next Level by Tiffany Montgomery. Get your copy and start the journey to spiritual breakthrough today.
For more on Spiritual Fasting, check out Tiffanys book.
In the meantime, Id love to pray over you. Let me know how I can be praying in the comments.
Fasting Can Strengthen Your Resolve
If youre struggling with a decision or trying to discern the ever-present question, What am I doing with my life? integrating fasting with prayer will give you that boost in dissolving distractions. By denying the body just a little bit were far more clear-headed and able to be mindful. This puts us in a better mental space to be in touch with our spiritual needs, and, as a result, it makes us more confident in our decisions.
Fasting is a good safeguard for the soul, a steadfast companion for the body, a weapon for the valiant, and a gymnasium for athletes, St. Basil the Great explains. Fasting repels temptations.In war, it fights bravely, in peace it teaches stillness.
And its this stillness where we can find the clarity we so desperately crave.
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Fasting Brings Spiritual Clarity
Fasting humiliates our tendency to rely on the natural world and forces us to live from the spiritual. As a result, Gods voice becomes clearer. Fasting is a great way to gain clarity for an important decision.
When I read Scripture on a fast, the Word speaks to me with so much more power, urgency and, again, clarity. Its like a veil is lifted and I can see the mysteries of Scripture more clearly than before. As I noted in part two of this series, I learn to feed on the Scriptures and gain real nourishment from the Word. I learn to crave the Living Food rather than the dead food of this world .
Its easier to see where and how God is working when fasting. It becomes more natural to live, move, and perceive in the spiritual realm when we are actually living a spiritual lifestyle. Our fleshly nature is bridled and no longer clouds our spiritual perception.
Ive probably spent less than 10% of my total lifetime fasting, yet Ive probably received over 80% of my visions and direct words from God during or as a result of a fast. I dont want to create unrealistic expectations of supernatural phenomena, but there is no question fasting causes ones spiritual senstivity and submission to skyrocket. Ask anyone who has fasted unto the Lord for a length of time, and theyll tell you the same thing.
How To Begin Your Fast
How you begin and conduct your fast will largely determine your success. By following these seven basic steps to fasting, you will make your time with the Lord more meaningful and spiritually rewarding.
STEP 1: Set Your Objective
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.
STEP 2: Make Your Commitment
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 up front:
- How long you will fastone 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.
STEP 3: Prepare Yourself Spiritually
STEP 4: Prepare Yourself Physically
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What Is Spiritual Fasting And How Long Should I Do It
The length of the fast depends on you. But the whole point is that the fast must be hard. If you make it too easy, then you are not really doing anything at all. God knows your heart and when you are faking the funk. He will respect someone who fasts for 3 days and it was hard for them over someone who fasted for a week and it was easy.
Therefore only you can decide. Be fair to yourself, be fair to God, & do not try to take your lunch break an hour late and call that a fast. A fast must be intentional, what you are giving up needs to be intentional, and the length of time needs to be intentional. This is not a situation where you just forgot to eat and so now you are fasting. NO. Because aside from NOT eating there are actual things that you are doing during a fast to get closer to God. Also, check out my video for more on spiritual fasting, and dont forget to subscribe to my channel.
Fasting Can Foster A New Sense Of Satisfaction
Finally, fasting can also foster a new sense of satisfaction. The world we live in today has more pressure than ever before.
You probably have the drive to compare yourself to other people. You may compare yourself to other people at work. You may look at social media compare yourself to other people and this manner. You may even be comparing yourself to siblings, friends, and other people who you think might be more or less successful than you. You dont have a lot of time to actually sit there and be satisfied with everything you have done so far.
Fasting provides you with an opportunity to gain this sense of satisfaction.
When you complete your fast, you are going to feel renewed. You will be filled with energy like you havent been in a long time. You will have completed the detox process. You will have given praise to the higher power that has allowed you to come so far. You will also realize that the small absence of food was nothing in comparison to what you have gained. Your spirituality has increased, you had a chance to speak with a higher power, and you got to experience everything that your body is able to handle. Even though you have not eaten for a day or more, your body kept on ticking.
Clearly, there is a litany of benefits that you will enjoy if you fast on a regular basis. Do not overlook the spiritual benefits, as they go hand-in-hand with the physical benefits of fasting.
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Spiritual Fasting Around The World
Knowing how to spiritually fast in line with your particular faith is key to do it safely and effectively.
Whats so interesting is that fasting is found in all religions and spiritual practices. It seems to be universal to spiritually connected and inquisitive people everywhere.
Below we will explore fasting found in different beliefs.
Christianity Mentions of fasting can be found throughout the Bible. Probably the most famous fast in the Western world was the one that was taken on by Jesus Christ when he fasted for 40 days and 40 nights in the desert before being tempted by Satan.
Other notable fasts of the Bible were done by Moses, David, Ahab, and the disciples of John the Baptist.
There are so many denominations within the Christian belief and each one observes its own rules regarding fasting. The guidelines set forth can be complex and differ greatly with some denominations being more serious about fasting like Orthodox sects but all generally observe Lent, Ash Wednesday, and Good Friday.
The seriousness of the fast during Lent again differs by sect and the devoutness of the practitioners. Some will abstain from food for the entire 40 days, others may forgo meat on Good Friday. It all depends.
For some, like the Roman Catholics, the rules around fasting are much more relaxed and may mean staying away from meat on observed dates or eliminating the intake of certain foods for a period of time.
The most important date for practicing Jews to fast on is Yom Kippur.
Guidelines For Fasting From Food
- Dont fast when you are sick, traveling, pregnant or nursing. People with diabetes, gout, liver disease, kidney disease, ulcers, hypoglycemia, cancer and blood diseases should not fast.
- Dont fast if you are in a hurry and are fasting for immediate results regarding some decision. Fasting is not magic.
- Listen for a nudging from God to fast.
- Stay hydrated. Always drink plenty of water and fluids.
- If you are new to fasting, begin by fasting for one meal. Spend the time with God that you would normally be eating.
- Work up to longer fasts. Dont attempt prolonged fasts without guidance. Check with your doctor before attempting long periods of fasting.
- If you decide to fast regularly, give your body time to adjust to new rhythms of eating. You may feel more tired on days you fast. Adjust responsibilities appropriately.
- Begin a fast after supper. Fast until supper the next day. This way you miss two, rather than three, meals.
- Dont break your fast with a huge meal. Eat small portions of food. The longer the fast, the more you need to break the fast gently.
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Why Do People Fast And Pray
“Fasting and prayer? Didn’t those go out of style decades ago?” The woman who said this to me was a godly woman, a woman who had been in the church all her life, and a woman intent on obeying the Lord. She knew her Bible. She was very serious in her questions.
Yet for some reason, she had concluded — at least subconsciously — that fasting and prayer were no longer intended for believers in today’s world.
The truth is, fasting and prayer are for today! In fact, now more than ever!
The combination of fasting and praying is not a fad or a novelty approach to spiritual discipline. Fasting and praying are not part of a human-engineered method or plan. They are not the means to manipulate a situation or to create a circumstance. Fasting and praying are Bible-based disciplines that are appropriate for all believers of all ages throughout all centuries in all parts of the world.
Through the years, I have learned that many people in the church have never been taught about fasting and prayer, and many have therefore never fasted and prayed. As a result, they don’t know why fasting and praying are important, what the Bible teaches about fasting, or how to fast. To many, fasting sounds like drudgery — or a form of religious works. To others, fasting sounds extremely difficult. People tend to stand in awe at reports of those who have fasted for several weeks. When I hear about such fasts, I no doubt think what they think: If I fasted that long, I’d die! I couldn’t possibly do that!