Fasting is that word we hear but so many times push it to the back of our minds and schedule, “next week” or “I will do that during Lent”. Why do we do this? Is it fear of failure, we don’t want to disappoint ourselves or God. Is it fear of the unknown, we don’t know what to expect. How is it that we can fast for our health and diet, intermittent fasting, but not for our Soul and for God!
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”Isaiah 41:10
We hear all about fasting in the Bible, it is a spiritual discipline. Jesus expected His followers to fast, and He said that God rewards fasting. Fasting, according to the Bible means to voluntarily reduce or eliminate your intake of food for a specific time and purpose.
“When you give up eating, don’t put on a sad face like the hypocrites. They make their faces look sad to show people they are giving up eating. I tell you the truth, those hypocrites already have their full reward. So when you give up eating, comb your hair and wash your face. Then people will not know that you are giving up eating, but your Father, whom you cannot see, will see you. Your Father sees what is done in secret, and he will reward you.”Matthew 6:16-18
Why do we fast?
We need food and that is why fasting is so powerful. To temporarily withhold something so necessary forces us to focus on spiritual things that are even more important. As Christ himself says in Scripture,
“One does not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”Matthew 4:4
As Pastor Rick Warren says, “Fasting demonstrates the depth of your desire when praying for something. It shows you that you are serious enough about your prayer request to pay a personal price. God honors deep desire and praying in faith.”
“Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord.” Joel 1:14 (NIV) “Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to Me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”Joel 2:12 (NASB)
Rick Warren continues, “Fasting releases God’s supernatural power. It is a tool we can use when there is opposition to God’s will. Satan would like nothing better than to cause division, discouragement, defeat, depression, and doubt among us. United prayer and fasting has always been used by God to deal a decisive blow to the enemy!”
“Dear children! Today I call you to renew prayer and fasting with even greater enthusiasm until prayer becomes a joy for you. Little children, the one who prays is not afraid of the future and the one who fasts is not afraid of evil. Once again, I repeat to you: only through prayer and fasting also wars can be stopped – wars of your unbelief and fear for the future. I am with you and am teaching you little children: your peace and hope are in God. That is why draw closer to God and put Him in the first place in your life. Thank you for having responded to my call.”Our Lady of Medjugorje Message, Dec 25, 2001
Fasting prepares us for the blessing
- Moses fasted before he received the Ten Commandments. “Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant–the TenCommandments.” Exodus 34:28 (NIV)
- Daniel fasted in order to receive guidance from God. “So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting,and in sackcloth and ashes.” Daniel 9:3 (NIV) “While I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. He instructed me and said to me, ‘Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding.'” Daniel 9:21-22 (NIV)
- Jesus fasted during His victory over temptation. “For forty wilderness days and nights he was tested by the Devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when the time was up he was hungry.” Luke 4:2 (Msg)
Fasting out love for God
You can fast almost anything. Fasting is a process of abstaining from something for the purpose of worship, prayer, and self-discipline. For example, people often fast sweets, desserts, and candy. Other people fast movies, social media, or even coffee. Pray, what would God like you to fast? If your health allows, try fasting on bread and water for a 24 hour period. Or start off small, fast for half the day. Through prayer, you can do this! Remember that fasting is not “earning” an answer to prayer. God cannot be blackmailed. God wants to answer our prayers and He answers out of grace. Fasting simply prepares us for God’s answer.