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 and pray, I sort of freaked out. I imagined fasting would be hard and that the bible would be filled with rules and regulations I could never follow. So imagine my shock when I began to search scripture for all the rules about How to Fast -and found grace. Today we will see how easy it is to begin fasting in a way that will please God!
How to fast and pray for a breakthrough – God’s Way
We started this series by looking at 5 of the Reasons to 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 practices on how to fast and pray- 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.
The only hard and fast rule for fasting came from Jesus. Jesus told 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 or all food or from doing such and such…A Fast is about humbling our hearts before God. Fasting and praying is about giving up the thing you seek for satisfaction in order to draw near to God… allowing God to satisfy you. Click To Tweet
What is the purpose of a fast?
A Fast is about humbling our hearts before God. Fasting and praying are about giving up the thing you seek for satisfaction in order to draw near to God… allowing God to satisfy you. This prayer guide is filled with scriptural prayers to say while fasting.
What does the Bible Say about Fasting? Most 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 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, Biblical fasting was focused on 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 them of their dependency on God and drive them deeper in prayer. If you lived then and were learning how to fast and pray you would have given up food for a period of time.
There are many types of fasting in the Bible or types of Spiritual Fasting.
Where the Bible does not give us rules per se, it does give us examples of many types of fasting in the Bible (Spiritual Fasting). And please notice that God honored every type of fast (where the heart was in the right place) so I see Grace in a fast that pleases God. 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. To fast and pray is about the heart – not the rules.
But really, How do you Fast and Pray?
A Fast and Pleases God – God’s desire – places the heart before the rules. As you plan a time to explore the power of prayer and fasting, write down the purpose of your fast.
- Do you need to fast and pray for a breakthrough? Write it down. If you need help, check out these 5 of the Reasons to Fast
- Next you determine which type of spiritual fasting will work for you.
How do you begin fasting?
There are so many fasting and prayer scriptures but 5 main examples that you can use as a fasting and prayer guide.
Please be advised: It is wise to discuss the practical side of your plans to fast and pray with your doctor. If you have a medical condition you will want to choose A Non-Food Fast
- 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.
- This was the most common in the scripture so I’ll just list a few. (Esther 4:16; Joel 2:12; Ezra 8:21-23; Jonah 3:5-9)
- A Partial Fast (also called a 3 day spiritual 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 Non-Food Fast
- 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)
- A Fast from Oils
- Daniel is our example of this as well (Daniel 10:3; Daniel 9:3)
- A Fast from things that satisfy you or entertain you
- In modern times this could be TV, social media, spending money, etc.
- A Fast from Sex
Not all examples of a Biblical Fast (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 (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 to fast and pray – wow was that humbling and revealing!To fast and pray is really about replacing things that satisfy us physically with God for a time and specific purpose. Click To Tweet
When we add scripture we can develop Powerful prayers during fasting.
Adding scripture to our Prayers help them become strategic and powerful which is why I’ve pulled over 100 verses that you can use to Pray for Support, Unity and Financial Blessings. Download them below to add to your time to fast and pray!
To Fast and Pray is about a heart posture – not a diet
The reason I chose to give up my phone in my list time to fast and pray – 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 Experiment.
Fasting and prayer 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.
Comment below “I’m in” and I’ll pray for you as we answer the call to Fast and pray together!
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