What are the things you’ve been praying about for a long time without an answer? Some of mine over the years include the salvation of siblings and a spouse, direction in life, infertility, unity in our church, and revival in our city. Today I will share my 11-step plan: how to prepare for a Spiritual fast for breakthroughs and answers.
Why Learn How To Prepare for a Spiritual Fast?
The power of prayer and fasting can not be overstated. Fasting is a way to pray harder! To draw near to the heart of God in humility you simply set aside something you seek for satisfaction and seek Him. When you need to draw near to the LORD, to seek Him for help, you need to learn how to prepare for a Spiritual fast!
In this series, I invited you to take on this challenge with me. You should know, there are some things you can expect in a time of fasting with God. Wouldn’t it be great to know what to expect and be able to prepare for those challenges? YES!
Consider this article an easy button to help you get to that season of a breakthrough without so many road bumps.
Review What We’ve Already Learned About How To Fast Biblically
A lot of times, when readers ask me how to prepare for a Spiritual fast, they are looking for an easy guide. I hate to say this, but there is no one-size-fits-all fasting guide. Some people thrive on a 3 day Spiritual fast while others don’t see results without 21 days of fasting and prayer.
Which types of Spiritual fasting will be effective for you? You will have to go on a journey to find what is most effective to humble your heart and remind you to pray.
Step 1: Learn How To Fast According to The Bible
How do you prepare for a fast? Before you are ready to prepare, you have to learn what the Bible says about fasting and prayer.
Here is a linked guide through this series on Biblical fasting to help you get your head and heart into the right space for fasting:
- 5 Reasons To Fast: God Calls His People in a Fast with Hope
- 27 Fasting and Prayer Scriptures for Spiritual Breakthrough
- How to fast and pray for a breakthrough
- Things to avoid when fasting and praying
- What are God’s rules for fasting?
- 7 Different Types of Fasting in The Bible
- Add Prayer and Fasting for Marriage Blessing
- 15 Steps To Fast and Pray For God: A Free Beginners Guide
Step 2: Know What to Expect Before Fasting
“When I wept in my soul with fasting, It became my reproach.” (Psalm 69:10 NASB)
How do you prepare for a fast? Arm yourself with the knowledge of what to expect before you begin!
Once you know to to fast according to the Bible, you then need to begin preparing for the physical assaults that will come. Remember, you have a real enemy. He does not want you to learn how to do a Spiritual fast. He would love to see you stuck in your faith walk, struggling with your relationships, and feeling bound up in sin!
Some things you can expect before you even begin fasting are:
It doesn’t matter what is prompting me to fast, I will always consider every excuse imaginable to not fast.
Honestly, our body and mind work in self-preservation mode at times to seek our own satisfaction. It goes against everything we are taught to spend time in self-denial.
Even when I am not fasting from food I struggle. Did you know there are many variations of fasting? Anything that draws your time and attention can be given up for a set time to seek God through the Holy Spirit.
There are way more than 7 different types of Christian fasting, but some of the things I’ve fasted from are:
- Certain food (fast food, sweets, meat, snacks, junk food, fruit juices, etc.)
- Either an absolute fast or some form or intermittent fasting
- Social media
- My phone
- Oh, that one hurt, and it was eye-opening. I didn’t realize how often I reach for my phone throughout the day.
- Try setting aside seven items of clothing to wear for a week and spending that extra time with God.
- Buy things
- Every time there was an urge to buy anything I was reminded to pray
I am in the middle of The 7 Experiment which is a modern twist on fasting. The idea is that anything that we could give up to create more time with Jesus Christ can be a time of prayer and fasting; food, clothes, possessions, media, spending & waste. Wow, that is eye-opening.
And I can think of a reason not to fast from all of those…
“For God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.” (1 Corinthians 14:33 NASB)
Life will begin to be crazy as I near the day I set aside for fasting. It happens every time!
- My husband will become annoying.
- The kids start some crazy new thing that drives me nuts.
- Really hard things start happening.
Just a warning 😉 I’ve heard so many others say it is the same for them. Just be prepared!
What To Do Before Spiritual Fasting?
So you know there will be excuses and chaos before you start fasting for Spiritual renewal! What can you do before starting your time of fasting and prayer to be prepared?
Enlist a friend for accountability.
Mark the calendar.
Let your family know.
Step 3: Accountability to Prepare for a Biblical Fast
That’s right, accountability can help get ahead of all those issues. If I have told a friend I am fasting, I know she will ask me about it. So I have to get over the excuses and just start!
If I have told a friend, made a plan, and marked my calendar, I am far more likely to follow through on the time of fasting rather than putting it off.
Accountability helps overcome the excuses issue.
And the chaos… well, it can’t be overcome completely. BUT, if your family knows what is coming, they can at least be mindful. If you are irritable they can offer grace. If the dryer stops and a tire pops and the kids accidentally cut the sheet on their bed within a few hours, they will not be as aggravated.
In fact, I’ve found that when everyone knows what’s going on we can sometimes laugh at the enemy’s attempts to aggrevate growth!
Step 4: Take A Spiritual Inventory And Physical
As you prepare your heart for fasting, it can also help to take a Spiritual inventory. This is a time to be real with God and yourself about the condition of your heart. Be open to what He wants to do in your life. It may be different than you expect at first, but, Y’all, we can trust Him!
There are so many types of fasts that can help God’s people seek His face and grow in their spiritual life. This is a personal decision based on the purpose of your fast and your personal experience.
An inventory can help you determine the period of time you need to set aside. How many days of prayer will get your Spiritual focus humbled and seeking Him desperately? Getting into the presence of God and seeking Him with your whole heart is something only you can determine. The power of fasting is the humility and hunger that it cultivates!
A Spiritual inventory can help you settle on the type of fast God is prompting you personally.
Equally as important is taking a physical inventory. You know your physical starting point. Can you tolerate a normal fast or would longer fasts cause physical harm? Being honest about your health condition and talking with your doctor about any medical conditions that can be negatively affected by fasting is critical! It is really a first step for those with health concerns.
Fasting from food will produce physical discomforts where the hunger pains prompt you to pray to your Heavenly Father. With God’s help, that physical hunger helps you see your spiritual needs!
For some giving up all solid food for more than a meal will be too much. Others may choose smaller meals leaving out certain foods. Some will choose vegetable juices and brown rice.
There is much time spent preparing food each day. The early Church would have spent a lot more and so that time spent in prayer brought about great change. For us, it may be more beneficial to give up Social media for the day to create a heightened awareness of HIS presence.
This is true especially if you have an eating disorder or are tempted to use fasting as a form of weight loss!
Just be wise when you plan your time of fasting. Regardless of what you fast, drink plenty of water, and pay full attention to what your body is saying. Spiritual preparation is important, but physical preparation is equally important for a successful time of fasting and prayer!
Step 5: Know What to Expect During a Fast
Now that you know what could happen before you ever begin fasting let’s dig deeper. The enemy will not just stop trying to keep you from starting your time of fasting. Nope. He will make it difficult every day you are fasting as well.
What can you expect during a fast?
- Intense Irritability
Related Post: How To Stop Killing Unity in The Church
Aggravation, Frustration, and Intense Irritability
We learned how to fast according to the Bible earlier in our series. It is all about denying yourself things you enjoy. Nothing about self-denial is fun. Self-denial will cause sinful tendencies to stir and rise up inside of you. It always does for me.
I find I have a temper and will be tempted to yell at my kids and snap at my husband for example.
The beautiful part of Fasting is seeing the hidden sin – dealing with it (sometimes seeing it for the first time) – and walking away closer to freedom from it.
That alone will stir us closer to God… Unless we justify it, ignore it, or choose to not deal with it. Resist that temptation. Let the time of fasting work healing into your soul!
What Do You Do During A Spiritual Fast?
Knowing in advance that you will come face to face with the worst parts of your character can be an advantage. No, seeing your sin is never fun, but at least you know it is coming!
What can you do when you begin to see that irritability, frustration, and aggravation emerge?
- Look deeper.
- Process what is really at the core.
Step 6: Pause to Learn How to Prepare for Fasting in the Bible
Learning how to prepare for a Spiritual fast has taken years of practice and failure. One thing I realized early on is that I have to pad in space to pause while fasting.
One of the first times of fasting and prayer I was part of was a full day. We served, we studied, and we walked, it was a full day. At the end of the day, I was so exhausted I fell into bed and was asleep before I set an alarm.
Throughout the day I was a bear to be around. I hurt my best friend. There was no time to reflect.
Plan For Down Time
After several failed attempts at fasting, I realized my mistake was overscheduling myself so I wasn’t thinking about missing the food rituals as badly.
To fix this I switched to a media fast. I ate healthy foods instead of any junk and I used the time I would have listened to the radio, or watched TV to prompt me to pray. I also planned a few times where there was completely free time into my day.
Now, I didn’t stick to some rigid schedule, but that buffer allowed me to shift things as needed. Free time allowed me to think about what was pushing my buttons. I was able to ask myself some questions to help me process the sin God was revealing.
- Why did I yell at my daughter?
- What about her attitude set me off?
- How could I have been that angry at my husband’s comment?
- Had I really forgiven him the last time this issue came up?
With pause time padded into days of fasting, you can dig deeper. When you dig deeper you can see the sin God wants to address. You can get to the root of that sin and find a breakthrough!
Step 7: Have a Prayer Journal To Prepare for A Spiritual Fast
Even with unplanned time in the days of fasting, you can still get busy and forget to dig deeper. That is why I love a prayer journal. LOVE! Honestly, I love a journal in general. I forget so much, but if I write it down I remember better. It helps to have a journal on hand for just that purpose.
Also, I get distracted so easily. To help me stay focused in prayer I use a prayer journal. If you need help guiding your prayer time check out The Strategic Prayer Journal in The HopeJoyInChrist Shop!
Step 8: Know What to Expect After a Time of Fasting
After you finish your time of fasting you may be surprised that there is still more to be done. That is why a 3 day fasting and prayer guide wouldn’t help you. God is not predictable. You may have gone into this time of fasting looking for one answer only to come out with a new plan completely.
What can you expect after a time of fasting?
- Unexpected answers
God will almost certainly re-direct your prayers during the fast. You may be frustrated because the answer He gives, or the direction He points you in is not what you set out to find.
It’s important to let go of the expectations of God. His ways are just so much higher than ours.
““For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.” ( Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV)
I’ve found that I have to be persistent in fasting and praying to get the answers I need. Other times, I find myself begging God to help me understand and embrace the answer He gave.
A Personal Example of Redirection
Let me share an example:
A few years ago, I was sure there was no hope for our marriage.
My prayer was, “God change him.”
I began a 7 day fasting and praying plan over the problems in our marriage. Every Monday I would fast until Midday for 7 weeks, praying fervently for change. Each time I would fast God would reveal sin in my life – a sin I wasn’t aware of.
I was so aggravated that He wasn’t changing my husband.
God seemed to be completely ignoring my prayer to change my husband. After months of this, I finally changed my prayer to:
“God show me what You want to do. And help me want to want Your will in our life.”
Over the years, God has shown me so much unconfessed sin in my own life that I was completely unaware of in the beginning. I praise Him for being patient with me and my stubborn resistance to change.
Now my prayer is to be nearer to God and walk on the path He has for me… whatever that is. I long to be submitted to His will and His time.
Answers and Directions Come From Fasting
“This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.” (1 John 5:14-15 NASB)
I am writing this in a season of fasting for other things. Why do I keep fasting? Because God answers prayers. I write at HopeJoyInChrist because I’ve seen God answer so many prayers!
Yes, fasting can be hard, aggravating, and unexpectedly revealing. But after God deals with my sin, He often answers my prayers. It is beautiful to see God answer! Loved ones saved, marriage resorted, and clear direction in life and ministry are just a few of the answers to my most recent prayers!
God answers prayer!!!!!!!!!!
Step 9: Prepare For The Next Time of Fasting
Part of learning how to prepare for a Spiritual fast is knowing that one often leads right into the next. Yes, learning how to start a Spiritual fast is about embracing the habit of fasting.
The more I see how to prepare for fasting in the Bible the more I see that the heroes of our faith practiced fasting as a way of life. It was a Spiritual discipline they valued. I mean, we get into fads like the Daniel fast, but Daniel would just have called it a great way to humble himself with fasting! They regularly if not weekly or monthly took time to fast and seek God’s face.
So when you finish your time of fasting and see that Christ Jesus redirected you or gave you unexpected directions or answers that didn’t quite make sense, it is a good idea to start again.
Related Post: Benefits of Fasting Bible Verses
Step 10: Add Scripture To Your Prayers
There are many ways to prepare for a time of fasting and prayer. I find it necessary to create a list of things in my prayer journal. That list may begin as a list of struggles I am facing. During each time of fasting, I add to it the areas of sin God reveals that I can’t easily set aside.
Then I search for Scripture about those things. When we add God’s Word to our prayers they become strategic and powerful.
I’ve pulled over 100 verses that you can use to pray for support, unity, and financial blessings. Download them below!
Step 11: Turn Scriptures Into Prayers
It helps to set aside time to find Scriptures about whatever I need to focus on praying over in my next time of fasting. I often pad that time onto the end of my daily quiet time. 5 minutes each morning goes a long way.
The alternative is excuses… Yep. I can easily feel overwhelmed when I think it could take an hour or more to find the verses. Then I can make excuses to not begin finding them. So break the overwhelming time into smaller batches to ensure it gets done!
Once you have the verses, spend time writing out certain verses as prayers. Praying Scripture is powerful. But again, life gets busy and you may lose the journal or not have it with you.
If, however, you have written the prayers out, you could snap a picture of them and have them on your phone. You could make them your screen saver. Find a way to have them on hand. The most powerful prayers you pray are the ones you actually pray. Make a plan to make this easier!
What’s Next Now That You Know How To Prepare for a Spiritual Fast?
You’ve seen my 11 step plan today about how to prepare for a Spiritual fast.
- Learn How To Fast According to The Bible
- Know What to Expect Before Fasting
- Accountability to Prepare for a Biblical Fast
- Take A Spiritual Inventory
- Know What to Expect During a Fast
- Pause to Learn How to Prepare for Fasting in the Bible
- Have a Prayer Journal To Prepare for A Spiritual Fast
- Know What to Expect After a Time of Fasting
- Prepare For The Next Time of Fasting
- Add Scripture To Your Prayers
- Turn Scriptures Into Prayers
What will you do now that you know how to be prepared for a time of fasting for a Spiritual breakthrough? There are many different types of fasts to help you grow in your spiritual life. You have to make a personal decision based on the purpose of your fast and your personal experience to find the right fast!
If you enjoyed this you would also like these Posts:
- How to Fast and Pray in a Way that Pleases God
- Be a Biblical wife to an Ungodly Husband
- 40-Days to Be Still and Know God more
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