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How to Fast and Pray In A Way that Pleases God


What comes to mind when you think of Fasting and Prayer?  Really, let’s do a gut check here…  My first thoughts are ‘No Way, I can’t go all day without eating’. Can I be more honest?  When I felt God prompting me to dig into How to Fast, I sort of freaked out.  Anytime God walks me through something – I end up living it out in a hard way and I did not want to!

So imagine my shock when I began to search scripture for all the rules about How to Fast -and found none.

The Bible does not give us rules for how to fast

We started this series by looking at 5 of the Reasons God Calls His People in a Fast and how there is hope in it.  Next, we saw that God has a lot to say about How Not To Fast, or how we can Ruin a time of Fasting.  And honestly, I started there because God started there.

What I expected was a list of acceptable fasting practices – maybe in Leviticus – to study and try out.  In fact, most of the internet is obsessed with the logistics of Fasting… while God is more concerned with our heart during a fast.

Jesus did tell us how our behavior should be during a fast – humble and indiscrete (See Matthew 6:16-18).  But He doesn’t say Fast from meat, fast from all food, fast from doing such and such…

A Fast is about humbling our heart before God.

Fasting is about giving up the thing I seek for satisfaction in order to draw near to God… allowing God to satisfy us.

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Biblical Fasting does refer to food.

When you think about it, food gives us nourishment, energy to get through the day and can reach a place of satisfaction for most of us.

In the Biblical time, they would have spent a great deal of time preparing food.  We don’t so much with our modern lifestyles.  We can microwave a meal in 5 minutes that would have taken hours for them to make.

Anyway, their focus was giving that time back to God – in prayer and worship. That would have been a lot of time for all of their meal prep and eating.   They also would have allowed the hunger pangs to remind us of our dependency on God and drive them deeper in prayer.

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There are many Types of fasting demonstrated in the Bible.

Where the Bible does not give us rules per say, it does give us examples.  And please notice that God honored every type of fast (where the heart was in the right place) so I see Grace in God’s plan for a Fast.  Also, when people were just following the “rules” they had set about a time of Fasting (and their heart was out of line) God did not honor it.

I love that about God’s desire – Heart before Rules. 

  • A 40 day Complete fast (NO food or water):
  • The Complete fast which could last from part of a day to an entire day to several days or weeks.
  • A Partial Fast:  In 1 example we see they ate fruit, veggies and drank water for 10 days.
    • Daniel and the 3 used this fast to honor God while in captivity. (Daniel 1:12)
  •  The Daniel Fast:  No meat, no tasty bread,  no wine, no oils for his skin (For 21 days) (Daniel 10:3; Daniel 9:3)
    • These would have been things that satisfied Daniel, good food and relief from dried skin (Daniel was older by then and living in a hot dry land).
  • A Fast from Sex
    • We are told husband and wife can decide together to give up sex for a time and reason (1 Corinthians 7:5)

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Not all examples of a Biblical Fast are about Food

The last 2 examples give me an understanding that this 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 (believe me there is an emotional connection) can actually drive me to my knees more intensely!

There have also been times I chose social media fast – that is eyes opening!  Another time I set aside my phone for an entire day – wow was that humbling and revealing!

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A Fast is about a heart posture – not a diet

The reason I chose to give up my phone the last time – instead of a meal – is my habit of turning a fast into a diet…  that is not a right heart posture.  We’ll talk more about those things next week 😉

If your heart is in the right place – and you truly are drawing near to God with a purpose, Fasting in any form will quicken your soul for Him.

A Book that really helped me grasp this was Jen Hatmakers 7 Experiement.

Fasting is about giving up satisfying myself to let God fill me… Allowing God to feed my soul the way Jesus explains it.

John 4:32 “I have food to eat that you do not know about.”

Do you feel that deep need for spiritual food?  Are there things in your life you need God to answer or act on quickly?  Join me on this journey to draw nearer to our Savior.

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comment below “I’m in” and I’ll pray for you as we Answer the Call to Fast together!

In Him



Tiffany Montgomery

Tiffany is a wife and mother who is passionate about Encouraging and Equipping Women through Biblical Discipleship.

136 thoughts to “How to Fast and Pray In A Way that Pleases God”

  1. I’ve been interested in this topic too! Thank you for explaining it. I also stop looking into it because I don’t think I can do it!

  2. Thanks for this article fasting makes more sense to me now I’m on a journey drawing closer to God and this article helped and explained things on fasting I had questions about thank you and may God bless you abundantly.

  3. Yes think that is me I need to grow more in him for him a brake bad habits in my life,thank you for your guide true this

  4. I’m in! I desire a more intimate relationship with Christ, and have realized my heart might not be in the right spot during fasting.

  5. I need some answers quickly
    I need to know how to ask God so that he hears me. Sometimes I don’t think he hears my prayer, but I will continue to pray.

  6. Thank you so much for educating me more on fasting. Thank you also for the scripture references that I can look up.

  7. Hello, I’m Jannette, first I want to thank you for the Oracle. My Church will be , beginning a fast starting on the 24 to the 26 for several reasons. I can6do a complete good fast because I take meds that require me to take with food. I don’t feel l thought about doing the fast by sustaining from sweets like any kinds of cakes, cookies,etc. , and meat. I’m in , pray for me and my family please and thank you. Can you please respond by email. Thanks

    1. I can relate Jannette. I have a medical condition that says I can not fast an entire day… but I can give up a kind of food! I am praying for you now. The Lord Brought Jeremiah 29:11-14 to mind. 11 For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.’

  8. I am in! I really need Godly intervention in a situation I know only God can change and by fasting I am putting my trust in Him aknowledging that only He can change this and also to show how much I trust Him.

  9. I’m in! Maybe not a food fasting at first, but definitely a fast from other things that are too close to my heart!

  10. I’m in. For a while now I’ve wanted to fast but wasn’t sure how to go about it. I thought of fasting social media and after reading this I am more convinced. Thank you so much for sharing this, God bless you.

  11. I’m on board with this definitely! I am in desperate need of the Lord’s direction and provisions. Rent and bills are piling up and I don’t like worrying and stressing about it because it takes my focus off of trusting God and His word and promises. Please pray for the Talbert family. We are believing the Lord for a financial miracle, my husband Gerald a fulltime job with benefits, a home church to grow in with our children where we can be fed the word of God, and to pay our rent for June and July 2018.

  12. Thank You,I need this right now,seems like I can’t stay focused on my walk with the Lord,so many distractions,worry and anxiety being the strongest,I need prayer and fasting,for the right reasons,bless you.Ms. Hunt.

  13. Thank You so much for this eye opener there are some bad habits in my life that I have been fasting and praying about for quite a while now I can see clearly why I wasn’t getting the results I was anticipating. I’m in. Please pray for the Burnett family especially my two sons that they will be saved .Amen

  14. Awww….this article just came in handy!
    Thank you so much for sharing, I have been fasting since July 4 with my prayer partner and friend till tomorrow July 6th. We are looking to God for answers and I am a strong believer that God answers prayer. Fasting; especially not eating food is not easy but can be done by the grace of God!!
    Please pray for me that God comes through for my friend and I.
    Thank you so much!

  15. I’ve fasted during Lent or abstained from certain things or foods. But, I haven’t been able to do it for awhile. It really takes a deep commitment. I’d like to return to this. Please pray that I do. I have so many unsaved family members and children who have walked away from the Lord.

  16. God is so amazing! I haven’t fasted in years and then it was only a few times. This past Sunday our sermon was on Matthew 11(?) on prayer and fasting and it really spurred me to try fasting again on a regular basis. I prayed tonight for God to give me tips and the first time I got on Pinterest tonight this was the very first thing that popped up. We have an awesome Father. I’m in!!!!

  17. Today as I woke up I told myself that I was going to fast, then because I am breastfeeding doubt came im and I told myself I would just align myself to prayer for the day and it doesn’t matter whether I eat or not because I don’t want to feel guilty or feel like I’ve failed God.Thank you for this article as it shed light on my situation. Please praye for me I need a breakthrough in my newly established family and marriage. I will be praying for you as well, God bless.

  18. I’m in I really need things to shift. I am seeking success as a nail tech and loving myself so God can bless me with my husband I am ready to be happy and healthy and loving. So much hurt in my heart and I feel stuck. This article has helped me decide I definitely need to fast. i feel the same about food I don’t want it to be a diet. Thank You

  19. I’m in too. This article has helped me to see that I can do a fast too. I have wanted to draw closer to Him for a long time, but keep getting distracted and didn’t know where to start for a fast. Thank you.

  20. I will fast for a closer relationship with Jesus. I want to have a pure heart & only look for Him for comfort & knowledge. Thanks for reminding me, it’s not a “diet”. But I enjoy social media more than food & shopping so I feel the time I spend online or in a mall could be time spent worshiping our Lord & Savior
    Thank you & God bless

  21. I’m in! My son (now in 8th) and I just started homeschooling for the first time. It is not going how I imagined it would lol and we are butting heads big time. Needing prayers over this for certain! I have not done a fast in nearly a decade, so I’m very eager to give this a go!

    1. Wow, just starting out Homeschooling is a HUGE adjustment! I will be praying with you as you start this journey. Butting heads is a common part of homeschool life. We had to find lots of rewards to make homeschooling super fun. We love and for some of that. And youtube is a great help because so much of elementary curriculum have videos to correspond. We have enjoyed the Liberty Kids walk through The American Revolutionary War. They are very factual and make the culture and time come to life.

  22. Greetings! Let’s be clear here. You did the right thing by searching the scriptures. Because Jesus did say in john 5:39 search the scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. So with that being said did you pray for help and guidance from god before you searched the scripture. Jesus did it before he fasted for 40 nights and 40 days. You said you’ve searched it and found nothing about fasting. LIE!! Do you think god is that incompetent that he wouldn’t know that people like you would says this? After all he did create all life right? Becareful what you say because you could be forefilling a prophecy. Example Romans 1:25. They changed the truth of god into a lie. Be careful what your saying and the info you provide. Thus why god ordained apostles preachers and teachers and priests etc. Dont be upset with me these are gods words. Rather look at it this way your prayers (if you were honestly praying) is now be answered with full truth and knowledge. As for the scripture you claim doesn’t exist. Here is it and may the lord continue to walk with you in this journey of life. Peace be unto you. Happy scripture study to you. Matthew 6:16-18. Now go do it as instructed and please our awesome god. Enjoy. Amen.

    1. I hear your point, Jermain. I have to say it’s been a while since someone accused me of not actually praying… I’m going to just focus on the fact of the scripture you provided. Jesus does tell us we are to fast. He tells us in Matthew (just as you point out) how our behavior should be – humble and indiscrete. Fasting should be between the person and God – not on public display. He is so clear about that. The point of this was that He doesn’t lay down a legalistic list of foods to abstain from or activities to prescribe to during a fast. Fasting in our 21st Century culture is not going to look the same as it did in Jesus day. They spent most of their day preparing the food – giving them so much more time to pray and so many more reminders of their need – no utter dependence upon God to answer their prayer. We need (or I should say I need) more of a prompt than the 30 minutes of cooking time and 10 minutes of eating time I miss while Fasting. Hunger pangs are a good reminder, but I was still seeking more.

      Thank you for clearly showing I had missed something. I welcome that kind of comment. It is encouraging to see others in the Word – we can certainly all learn from each other (as Iron sharpens Iron). Praying you are blessed today Jermaine. (You’ll note I updated the piece for clarity!)

  23. I am in. It has been awhile since I completed a fast in it’s entirety and I think part of it is I make it so structured that I miss out on the joy of abiding in Christ. I thank you in advance for touching and agreeing with me that in the next fast, not only will I complete it but I will grow more in God

  24. I’m in. I am renewing my relationship with God especially through fasting and this is really helpful. May God bless you.

      1. Hello Tiffany. Thank you for this! It’s obvious you’ve spent time in the Word and before the throne of grace. I’m in!! May God bless you more!

  25. I’m a local pastor in a jungle village of southern Thailand. Your point about Fast open my eyes.
    Now our food is social networks .We spend more time on our smartphone than spending time with God.
    Thanks so much and may the Lord bless you.

  26. Girl, this post is awesome. I love the idea of fasting and the feeling after a fast. But I’ve struggled with food all my life. So sometimes I just don’t fast because I need to maintain my mental health. What you said about its about giving up what satisfies you to be fed by God. I mean, the way you said it, I haven’t heard it said that way before. I feel like something shifted in me today. This imparted a whole new outlook on fasting. Its less about food deprivation and more about looking to be satisfied by God. Its so simple but it hit me today in a new way. Thanks a million, Tiffany!

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