Hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving turkey and traditions yesterday…because today, we are looking at the opposite of the Thanksgiving feeding frenzy. For health reasons, I recently underwent a period of fasting. While fasting, I found my ability to pray with focus and clarity dramatically improved. Searching the Bible for some reference and guidance, I found a number of helpful passages. While the original purpose for the fast was for physical benefit, I found overwhelming spiritual value. I have listed some information and tips you may find helpful in the event you have an interest in combining prayer and fasting.
1) Why should we fast?…because Jesus did. He also was tempted by Satan during His fast. When we begin to let God know we are serious about prayer and fasting, the devil tries to get our mind off the fast. Expect spiritual confrontation from the evil one; he will try to get your mind off prayer and on food.
2) You may choose a Total Fast or a Partial Fast. Total Fast: the denial of all solid food for a period of time. I suggest one day per month to start with. Partial Fast: Leaving out part of a meal. Just have salad and not the rest of the meal.
3) Keep it as private as possible. Only let those who need to know. Family in your house will need to know why you are not eating. The check out person at the gas station does not need to know. The Bible says to not let your face show you are fasting. The act of fasting is between you and God.
4) Ask God to tell you what to do. How long to fast. Stay hydrated: juice and water is a must. Spend the time you would normally be eating in prayer, read the bible, and ask God to speak to you.
5) Find a private place to pray while fasting. Pray for yourself and your relationship with Jesus. Confess your sins and ask forgiveness. The Lord loves a contrite heart. Ask God to search your heart and show you the things that you need to pray about and ask for his help to change.
6) God does not need us to fast. Fasting is for us to draw closer to Him. He is always close to us. Fasting is a time of great spiritual intimacy with your Creator.
7) After your fast, don’t eat a lot. Spend as much time coming off the fast equal to the length of the fast. One day fast – one day slowly getting back to regular eating. Don’t try to make up for the food you did not eat.
Today, pray and ask God if fasting is a discipline He can use to help your growth. If so, make a plan to try it. Click here to share with the Stepping Stones community your thoughts and experience on fasting and prayer.
Dear Father God, I thank You father for this opportunity to take my mind off food and to focus more on You. I confess, Father, that food has taken on too much importance in my life. Help me to view and use food to sustain and grow a healthy body and mind. Help me Father to focus more on You. I pray in the name of the one who empowers me to hear Your voice, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children said – AMEN!
Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.
“Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”