Whenever someone hears or reads about Prayer & Fasting, there are usually 2 types of responses. One, “I’ve always wanted to do that, I’m in. What do I need to do?” Or, “That sounds really difficult, I don’t know if I could do that.” My hope is that by the end of this blog post, you will strongly consider implementing the spiritual discipline of prayer & fasting on a regular basis.
So let’s address the reason “Why?” we should even consider attempting something challenging like Prayer & Fasting. Prayer is an obvious spiritual discipline and one that most Christians understand should be part of our daily lives but we all usually admit, “I could pray more.” So knowing that we do pray or want to more is a given.
There are two main reasons why we should fast regularly as a spiritual discipline. The first is that it proves our complete and utter dependence upon God. To deny ourselves anything and put God as our #1 priority is always best. So abstaining from food proves that our primary focus is a spiritual one and that The Lord takes precedence over everything else in our life. The second reason is as a Christian, it is or should be our goal to model our life after Christ. Jesus fasted regularly.
In Matthew 4, Jesus fasted for 40 days & nights. Then a couple chapters later in Matthew 6, He teaches on prayer & fasting. “When you pray….” “And when you fast…” They are both expected and they always go together. Fasting without focused prayer is just self-induced hunger and God is WAY more interested in our heart than our pious acts (See Isaiah 58).
One time, I attempted a seven day, water and juice only spiritual fast. In the past the longest fast I had done was three days and it proved to be a landmark in my life. So, I was excited to see what spiritual breakthroughs I would experience with seven days. Well, on day four my wife came home to find me gorging myself on the living room floor with a buffet style feast all around me.
Now for the how & what: you absolutely need to pray about what type of fasting to do and how long. One meal, one day, three days, a week or longer. Water only, juices & protein smoothies, veggie & fruit only. I would suggest first time, start simple, small, grow from there but make sure to replace meal times with studying The Word and praying bold prayers!
Joel 2:12-13 That is why the LORD says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the LORD your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.”
I have found that fasting truly binds the hands of the enemy against me and positions me in the best possible way for spiritual breakthrough. Please comment below with past stories and current breakthroughs!
Lead Pastor, Grace Church Melbourne