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!
God Opens Doors For You With Fasting And Prayer
How can you experience the blessing of open doors? God is sovereign and frequently resists our simple and sometimes self-serving formulasespecially if they are an attempt to manipulate how or when He will act. However, since His character never changes, it is possible to glean from Scripture what God expects of us when we desire to walk through open doors of unexpected blessing.
Here are three principles to remember.
1.The Holy Spirit can speak to us individuallyand He doesbut in the New Testament it is far more common to witness a fresh burst of Gods unfolding plan when Gods people were fasting and praying together. So, as you fast and pray, join with other like minded and devoted believers and fast and pray as a group. Its amazing what God does when we unite.
2.Rick Warrensaid it bestits not about you! The unexpected open doors that ultimately bring you the most satisfaction are those which bring the most glory to God. Thats what you want isnt it? Arent you tired of the false promises of a me centered faith? Expect and pray into the open doors which further the gospel of Jesus and accelerate His mission through you. You will experience far more of Gods best when you focus on His agenda.
If you have rarely or never fasted before, seek some practical guidance, start from where you are, then pray and believe. Ask God to use you as never before as the doors begin to open!
This article on fasting and prayer originally appeared here.
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.
Recommended Reading: How Much Do I Eat During Intermittent Fasting
Fasting And Prayer Catholic Prayer And Fasting
In the catholic church we usually fast during lent, which begins on ash Wednesday and ends on good Friday. During this period, we give up something we enjoy eating and proceed to give what we saved from not indulging in our habits.
During this period we fast to pause and hit reset on our spiritual life. We deny the flesh to strengthen the spirit. Excluding the Eucharist fast , the catholic church has two forms of penitential practices;
A Biblical Pattern For Fasting And Prayer
A prayer summit, involving a handful of key leaders, opened unexpected doors as the leaders were worshipping, fasting and praying. Paul and Barnabas, and three;other gifted and significant leaders, had been in the midst of a genuine city-wide spiritual awakening in Antioch for well over a year. Hungry to know the steps they were to take next, they pulled away from the day to day ministry to hear from God.
The Holy Spirit spoke to them clearly and gave them a vision and a direction they had apparently never considered before. At least 10-15 years had passed since the Resurrection had occurred, and since the Great Commission had been issued, but no one had made any substantial efforts to reach the Gentile world yet. While the devoted team fasted and prayed, however, a new door suddenly opened. The Spirit clearly directed them to spread the gospel to Gentiles
That unexpected open door led to what we commonly call Pauls first missionary journey . The world was permanently changed out of that prayer meeting when a new door opened as Gods people fasted.
Recommended Reading: Why Should I Do Intermittent Fasting
What Does Prayer Do For Fasting
Fasting and prayer are often linked together . Fasting without praying isn’t fasting. It is dieting or deprivation. The only reason to fast is to make space for you to seek the Lord with greater urgency. Instead, we pray when we were supposed to be eating. Use the hunger pangs to remind you to remind yourself you hunger for God. In other words, fasting gives us more time for prayer and prayer helps tear down walls, utter us into spiritual breakthroughs, destroys chains, and gives us clarity of Gods answers that we seek!
When Jesus returns, fasting will be done. It is a temporary discipline for this life and age to connect our hearts to Christ and prepare us for when we will encounter Him face to face. When he does return, he will throw a glorious feast and there is a place at the table for each of us . Until then, we fast.;
Prayer For Aid In Fasting
Lord, Hanging as a vine upon the Wood,O Christ our Savior,You have made the ends of the earthto drink from the wine of resolve.Therefore do I cry aloud:I am darkened always by the vicious drunkenness of sin;Give me to drink from the sweet wine of true faith,and grant me now the strength, O Savior,to fast from sensual pleasures,for Your are good and love mankind. Amen.
You May Like: How Fasting Affects The Body
What Are The Benefits Of Fasting And Prayer
Fasting is a very common practice in all religions. When you combine fasting with prayer, it is a more disciplined approach towards attaining a sinful life. What is fasting? Fasting is the complete abstinence from food and sometimes water. Fasting along with prayer is more of a spiritual fasting which helps us to connect with God and brings us closer to him.
Its a common belief amongst many that fasting is a difficult process. But in reality, it is indeed;a simple and an extremely powerful act which can be practiced by all. Fasting can be for a short period or can be for long durations and both have their benefits.
In many religious scriptures fasting has been mentioned as a common practice. Fasting along with prayer is a humble surrender to god. Fasting is a voluntary and an individual commitment and through prayer you devote yourself to god. As per ancient scriptures, fasting and prayer is a natural process to express your belief. The body and the mind is in sync with each other and therefore it becomes a natural process to respond to a sacred calling. Your hunger for seeking God can be fulfilled when you fast along with prayer.
Fasting is one of the scared ways to reconnect with God. Prayer along with fasting has great benefits and the same is illustrated below.
What Is Fasting In The Bible
We can conclude that by command of God and by scriptural example, fasting is a tool that a Christian may use to seek a closer relationship with his or her Creator and petition God for help, guidance and a humble heart that is yielded to His will.
While fasting is an excellent tool for spiritual growth, those with diabetes or similar serious health conditions would be wise to seek professional advice before attempting to fast.
Fasting is related to prayer, Bible study and meditation, so you might find it helpful to read our related articles on these subjects.;Study more about the spiritual benefits of fasting in our article The Fast That I Have Chosen.
About the Author
Tom Clark married his lovely wife, Mary, in 1985. They have three grown children and four grandchildren. Tom was ordained a minister in 1989 and has served congregations in Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Kansas, Minnesota and North Dakota. He currently pastors the Bentonville, Van Buren and Mena, Arkansas, congregations of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association.
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.
Prayer For Fasting And Praying
As I enter into this period of fasting, I invite you in. Lord, come into my heart, come into my mind, renew me in new ways. You are my Lord, King and Savior. You are perfect, you are amazing and good. Lord, I am none of those things. I confess that I am sinful, that I am ugly in my sin and without you, I am lost. Forgive me, Lord, for the ways I have not put you first. Forgive me for not letting you reign over me.
Lord, this is what this time of fasting is all about , to take me off of the throne of my own life and to put you on the throne where you belong. I know I will be hungry for food, I pray as I am hungry that you would satisfy me with your Word. I know I will get tired, I pray as I am tired that you will strengthen me and Sustain me in your grace, Father. For every hunger pang I experience, directs my gaze not down to my belly but up towards you. For I know that I cannot live on bread alone, but every Word from you.
Help me Father, that I may enter this time of fasting and prayer with a heart of joy and a mouth that praises your goodness. Give me all the advantages of this spiritual discipline and keep me humble. Thank you Lord for your great, unending, all consuming love for me. I love you, Father. Amen.
Read Also: What Can I Eat Fasting
The Benefits Of Fasting
While the physical impact of fasting is real, the spiritual benefits of fasting are undeniable. Any fast undertaken must be done with spiritual wholeheartedness and wisdom when dealing with our physical body; we must count the cost honestly and honor the temple of the Holy Spirit. Whether we are partaking or abstaining, everything should be for the glory of God.
Be At Peace With Yourself
Fasting and prayer can bring you a deeper understanding and acknowledge of how much we value worldly pleasures. These pleasures also stoke our egos. In the Islamic faith, fasting is the time to abandon ego and inculcate self-restraint. It is also a reminder of ones fortune in being able to eat whatever and whenever we want. By fasting we are sharing the pain the the suffering of the millions in this world who dont have food and water.
Unlike Islam, fasting is not mandatory in Hinduism. It is more a spiritual practice to purify the mind and achieve Gods grace.
Read Also: How To Lose Belly Fat Intermittent Fasting
Prayer For Breaking A Fast
God, the time of my fast is coming to an end.
Thank you for giving me the strength to carry this out. I have grown in strength and in my relationship with You. I know I could never have done this by my own power.
As this time of restraint finishes, lead me in my next steps. Help me move slowly and gently back into a regular pattern of behavior. Help me not to go crazy with pent-up desire but instead, move with grace and intention.
I trust Your guidance, Lord.
In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.
The Act Of Worshipping
Fasting is not a replacement for faith in Jesus. It is a servant of faith in Jesus. Fasting is a way of saying with their stomachs and their whole bodies need, want, and trust Jesus. It is a way of saying that Christians are not going to be enslaved by food as the source of their satisfaction. This is one form of worshipping.
Food is a gift from God, and believers glorify God with it in two ways, not just one way. They feast on it with gratitude for Gods goodness, and they also forfeit food out of hunger for God himself. When feasting, Christians gladly taste the emblem of their heavenly food: the Bread of Life, Jesus Himself. Both feasting and fasting are worship for Christians. They both magnify Christ. Of course, both have their peculiar dangers. The danger of feasting is that we fall in love with the gift, and the danger of fasting is that we belittle the gift and boast in our willpower, our discipline.
At its best, Christian fasting is simply a heartfelt, body-felt exclamation point at the end of the sentence I love you, God. I need you more than I need food and drink, more than I need my life.
Also Check: What Is The Advantage Of Intermittent Fasting
The Bible Has Much To Say About Fasting
Often verses we read of men and women in the Bible going into deep war or decision in prayer, it is accompanied by fasting. One of the most famous fasts is the one performed by Daniel in the Book of Daniel.
Daniel 9:3-5 shares, So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.;I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and;keep his commandments,;we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. Daniels heart ached for his country, so he took a vow of a fast from certain foods and remained deeply in prayer. It continues on in the book that an Angel comes to see Daniel, and the Angel shares that he left the exact moment Daniel started praying. Remarkably, it took twenty-one days for the Angel to get past the forces of Darkness to reach Daniel. This is evidence that from the first moment we commit to a fast, the Lord hears us. He is always working in action to come near to us, and to send help.
Why Fasting And Prayer As Christian Spiritual Discipline Should Be Combined
For fasting to be effective it must be accompanied with prayer. The Greek word Proseuche means prayer addressed to God. The Hebrew word Palal suggests the act of intercession and supplication.
Fasting therefore should not be simply a non-eating exercise. According to research, fasting does have many health benefits, such as weight loss, reduced cholesterol as well as it helps to lower blood pressure. Fasting, must be combined with prayer, otherwise fasting will become a health-conscious activity to reduce weight loss etc. Therefore, fasting and prayer are important Christian spiritual disciplines that are applicable to every Christian.
For example, Daniel prayed to the Lord, in fasting, sackcloth and ashes, because of the desolation of Jerusalem. So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes . Davids prayer and fasting were a heavy plea, requesting God would show mercy upon the people because of their sin and turning away from God; We have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled, we have turned away from your commands and laws .
Also Check: How Long Do You Fast With Intermittent Fasting
Connecting With The Father
Father, purify my heart, that I would be focused on You and You alone as I surrender to You in me. If I rely on anyones approval but Yours, make it obvious so I can turn that part of my life to You again. As I start my secret life with You, cultivate our relationship and make it something incredible! Amen.
Preparing For What Is Next
In nature, October typically launches a significant change in weather conditions. Shorter days, cooler weather, and the changing colours of leaves all signal that we are transitioning from one major season to another. And before you know it, you will be preparing for Christmas by filling an Operation Christmas Child shoebox !
Jesus used the weather in another analogy, Then Jesus turned to the crowd and said, When you see clouds beginning to form in the west, you say, Here comes a shower. And you are right. When the south wind blows, you say, Today will be a scorcher. And it is. You fools! You know how to interpret the weather signs of the earth and sky, but you dont know how to interpret the present times.
Do we know how to interpret the present times? Do we understand what season we are in, according to Gods plans and purposes as described in the Word of God? May we be wise in our understanding of the present times and how to prepare for whats to come.
Do we understand the signs of our times? Do we understand what season we are living in at this time of history? Do we perceive what is coming next and how to prepare for it?
Our prayer theme for the month of October is;Preparing For What Is Coming Next. Together lets ask God to show us the signs of the times and how to interpret the present season and prepare accordingly. Because Jesus Christ is He is calling the whosoever will, He is preparing His bride, and He is coming for His church!