Prayer Is The Most Important Part Of A Proper Fast
It is not merely refraining from food or an action, but it is coming before the Lord in prayer to hear the Holy Spirit speak to you and work in you. The Bible says this on when to pray, on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests . Prayer is communication with God, and it is truly the most important aspect of life. From the Garden of Eden, it has always been Gods heart to have relationship with His creation, and prayer is the vehicle of communication in which that can work. The Father knows your heart in fact, “the Father knows what you need before you ask Him . We can rest assured that it need not be the most stunning words ever spoken to Him He knows what we are trying to communicate. Romans 8:26 shares He can even understand our groans into prayers. The Father desires interaction with His children, and prayer opens the door to just that.
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.
What Are Some Improper Motives For Fasting
To impress others. Jesus taught that religious fasting should be a personal and private matter between an individual and God.Matthew 6:16-18.
To prove oneself righteous. Fasting does not make a person morally or spiritually superior.Luke 18:9-14.
To try to compensate for a deliberate practice of sin. God accepted only fasts that were accompanied by obedience and by heartfelt repentance for any sins committed.
To carry out a religious formality. In this respect, God is like a parent who is displeased when his children express love for him merely out of obligation, not from the heart.
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What Is A Partial Fast
A partial fast is also known as a three-day spiritual fast. We see examples of Daniel and his friends eating veggies, fruit, and drinking water for ten days. They used this fast to honor God while in captivity. Others fasted using different lengths of time and how. This fast could last from part of a day to an entire day to several days or weeks .
Bible Verses About Praying For Others
The Bible gives many examples of people praying for others, and we can learn a lot by studying and meditating on these examples. Here are just a few examples of intercessors in the Bible:
Abraham interceded for the people of Sodom for the sake of his nephew Lot . He memorably started by asking if God would spare Sodom if 50 righteous people were there. From there he boldly but humbly asked about 45, 40, 30, 20 and finally 10, and God answered, I will not destroy it for the sake of ten. Though God did not find 10, He fulfilled Abrahams intent by sparing Lot and his family.
Moses pleaded for Gods mercy for the sinning people of Israel . Moses turned down Gods offer to make a nation out of Moses descendants, and persuasively begged for Gods mercy for Gods names sake.
Daniel begged God for his people . Daniels passionate and meaningful prayer ends with his plea, O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name .
The apostle Peter prayed for the beloved Dorcas, and God even raised her from the dead .
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What Biblical Fasting Is Not
Biblical fasting is not all about food! Not all examples of a Biblical fast or spiritual fast are about food.
The last two examples give me an understanding that to fast and pray is really about replacing things that satisfy us physically with God for a time and specific purpose.
In the past, I have fasted from food and found that to draw me nearer to God in deep ways.
The physical reminder of hunger is a prompt to pray, worship and draw nearer to God. The emotional connection to food can actually drive me to my knees more intensely!
There have also been times I chose social media fast that is eye-opening! Another time I set aside my phone for an entire day to fast and pray wow was that humbling and revealing!
Will You Learn How To Fast And Pray Today
Do you feel that deep need for breakthrough and spiritual food?
Do you need God to answer or act quickly in your life?
Join me on this journey to draw nearer to our Savior. Learning how to fast and pray is more simple than most Christians realize. There is power in this lost spiritual discipline.
To harness that power, you need only decide to begin.
- Choose what you will give up while in your fast.
- Pick a day to begin.
- Select a topic or verse to meditate in prayer over.
- Dont get discouraged if the first fast isnt perfect.
- Keep practicing until you find the right rhythm and God moves.
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Fasting And Medical Safety
According to The Foods and Nutrition Encyclopedia, For healthy individuals, no harm results from short-term fasting. The average healthy person can go without food between 21 and 40 or more days before the body begins to eliminate vital tissue . Consult your physician before beginning any fast lasting longer than three days.
If you have underlying health conditions such as pregnancy, anemia, behavioral disorders or other chronic health problems, you should never fast without consulting a physician first.
The Promised Results Of Following The Doctors Prescription
Now, if we trust God enough to follow him in this prescribed seven-point fast, what will happen in our lives and in our church? These promises are worthy of about seven sermons. But I will mention the categories and pray that God will give you a heart to meditate on them long enough to see the riches.
A Partial Biblical Fast
A Partial fast can also be called a 3 day spiritual fast. In Daniel, we also see believers who ate fruit, veggies and drank water for 10 days to honor God while in captivity.
Please test your servants for ten days, and let us be given some vegetables to eat and water to drink.
The Daniel Fast is a partial fast that has gotten a lot of attention in the past decade. The basic idea behind this fast is to have no meat, no tasty bread, no wine, no oils for his skin, for 21 days.
- I did not eat any tasty food, nor did meat or wine enter my mouth, nor did I use any ointment at all until the entire three weeks were completed.
- So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes.
These would have been things that satisfied Daniel.
The world latches onto the specifics of his fasting because of the power that came and the answers to prayer that he saw but what they miss is that fasting and prayer were his habits.
The Daniel fast was not powerful because of what Daniel gave up, but rather because of the humility of Daniel’s life.
What If You Fail At Fasting
Bill Bright put it this way: It takes time to build your spiritual fasting muscles. If you fail to make it through your first fast, do not be discouraged. You may have tried to fast too long the first time, or you may need to strengthen your understanding and resolve. Keep trying until you do succeed. God will honor you for your faithfulness.
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Fast And Pray For Spiritual Breakthough
We’ve seen 27 fasting and prayer scriptures today. Have you felt a stirring to try your hand at a time of fasting and prayer? Are there hard things in your life that need an extra dose of spiritual power to break through the chains that are keeping you down?
Maybe you felt the stir but you are still unsure of the specific how to’s of fasting. No worries. I’ve written a short book to help guide you through the process of fasting.
In the meantime, I’d love to pray over you. Let me know how I can be praying in the comments.
in HIM, Tiffany
Types Of Fasting In The Bible
Now that weve explored what the Bible says about fasting in general, lets talk about the different types of fasting seen in the Bible, the types of fasting practiced today, and some benefits of fasting.
There are several different types of fasts recorded in the Bible.
- Complete fasts can last from just part of a day to several weeks, but a common length of time was 3 days. During a complete fast, no food or drink is consumed, not even water. When the Bible mentions a fast, this is usually the kind it is talking about.
- Partial fasts are a less extreme type of fast recorded in the Bible. Partial fasts typically involve cutting out only certain foods and/or drinks for a preset length of time. Like with complete fasts, the duration of partial fasts varies, but there is evidence of partial fasts lasting 3 days, 10 days, and 21 days.
- Corporate fasting is also found in the Bible. During a corporate fast, people came together to fast for a common reason. The Israelites practiced this type of fast a lot. They used it to repent of their sins and draw near to God after seasons of rebellion. They used it to seek direction. And they used it to petition for breakthrough in difficult circumstances.
- There are also indications of non-food fasting in the Bible. Some non-food things people fasted in the Bible include sex, lotions, or anything considered unholy .
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Prayer And Fasting In The Bible
Fasting is mentioned throughout the Bible, in both the Old Testament and the New Testament . However, when Christians discuss fasting, two key passages often come up: one from the Old Testament prophet Isaiah and one from Jesus himself. But neither of these passages gives us specifics on how to abstain from food. Rather, both focus on the heart of the person fasting.
In Isaiah 58, God sees the nation of Israel abstaining from food for a day in order to seek help from God: justice for Israel and judgment on those who have oppressed Israel. However, the help does not come, and the people complain.
God turns the tables on Israel, pointing out how the Israelites are oppressing their own people. Employers withhold pay from the workers, and the people act violently toward each other. Through Isaiah, God tells the people that He doesnt want them to go a day without food He wants them to abstain from the ways theyve oppressed one another.
If you do away with the yoke of oppression,with the pointing finger and malicious talk,and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungryand satisfy the needs of the oppressed,then your light will rise in the darkness,and your night will become like the noonday.
The Israelites were merely putting on a show of fasting for God without truly following Him.
Likewise, when Jesus instructs His followers on how to fast, he tells them not to do so for show.
The Bible is full of examples of people who have abstained from food to seek God:
Fasting Day 1: Fasting For Healing
This is a guest post by Melinda Malloy. You can read more about Melinda below.
Have you felt overwhelmed, discouraged, or hopeless due to sickness or some other type of physical pain or suffering? Maybe doctors have given you a diagnosis that weighs heavily on your heart. Have you considered that fasting and praying for healing is Gods will?
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to break the chains of wickedness, to untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free, and to break every yoke? Then your light will appear like the dawn, and your healing will come quickly. Your righteousness will go before you, and the LORDs glory will be your rear guardThe LORD will always lead you, satisfy you in a parched land, and strengthen your bones. You will be like a watered garden and like a spring whose waters never run dry .
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Should Christians Still Fast Today
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
Jesus did not command fasting, but it was a normal occurrence in His earthly time, and it would have made sense to His followers to take up this practice as a spiritual discipline. Fasting is not just for food, but food is widely used in different types of fasting. Fasting from food should be progressive and can be full or partial. Sam Storms, in his Crosswalk.com article, What Christians Need to Know about Fasting, lists the following different types of fasts: a partial fast, abstaining from a particular food a liquid fast, abstaining from all solid foods an absolute fast, abstaining from all food and liquids, and a supernatural fast, as in Moses refraining from eating or drinking for 40 days.
Fasting could be refraining from Netflix, spending the time it takes to binge a whole season in prayer or dedicate the same amount of time in prayer as our weekly screen time report reveals. Put thought into what you are abstaining from, and your fast can be short, intermittent, or longer. Theres not one type of fast that fits all its important that the fast is between you and God rather than a group fad youre joining.
Biblical Reasons To Fast
The Bible is full of Scriptural references on fasting. Many times, the Bible is clear that it enhances our faith. We see strong Biblical characters who participated in the act of fasting. It is also made known to the followers of Jesus, that there is a reward for those who fast with a humble heart before the Lord. Let us look at why Biblical characters fast, how it strengthens Gods people, and how Jesus is heavily involved in fasting throughout the Bible.
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Give Ourselves And Satisfy The Soul Of The Afflicted
Finally, in this fasting we are called not just to give food, but to give ourselves our souls and not just to satisfy the stomach of the poor, but the soul of the afflicted. Verse 10: And if you give yourself to the hungry, and satisfy the desire of the afflicted . . . This is one of the messages of this weekend with John Hayes: ministry to the poor is not merely giving things. It is giving self. Its not just relief. Its relationship.
Let’s Go Back To The Basics
What is fasting?
The first mentioning of fasting was in the old testament. Many different kinds of Biblical fasts took place according to how the Spirit of God led the people. In Biblical times, fasting would only involve the abstinence of certain or all foods and/or water in order to spend dedicated time to prayer and reading God’s Word.
What were / are the motives behind fasting?
Fasting can be regarded as an act of desperation for a move of God. In the Bible, the people who were led to fast needed something from God such as: divine wisdom, guidance, repentance, salvation, or victory in battles. Fasting told God, “I need You” and “I can’t do this without You.”
Today one may fast for the same reasons as listed above. People want their family to turn to Christ so they sacrifice a material value in their life to spend time with God for salvation to happen. Many people simply fast to be closer to God. There’s nothing wrong with that. Fasting certainly will bring you closer to the Father, through time in prayer and reading and studying His Word. The Holy Spirit alone can give you the power and desire to start and complete a fast. Your eyes always have to be on Jesus and not on your own efforts otherwise, the fast would be in vain.
Examples of Old Testament Fasts:
In Exodus 34:28, Moses fasted 40 days and nights without food or water. This resulted in hearing from God and writing the Ten Commandments.
Examples of New Testament Fasts:
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