Fasting and Prayer
Fasting in the Bible
I’ve been wrestling with some unanswered prayers. Wondering why I cry out over and over again, only to feel empty yet again.
Last week, I was turning over these thoughts with dwindling hope and then this verse popped into my head.
It had been a while since I last fasted, if I’m honest. I recalled the sweet intimacy from fasting in my twenties. The desperation I had coming to His throne. The expectancy in my heart that God would respond to my bold prayers. So why had it been so long since I had fasted?
The usual excuses ran through my mind. Busyness. But I’m cooking for my family anyway. I have a work lunch that day. I don’t have any pressing needs right now.
But these were all responses from my flesh. It doesn’t like to fast, and why would it. Fasting goes against everything my flesh desires. And the more distance I put between now and my last fast, the less I thought to do it. But then I was reminded that I need it, no matter how hard my flesh fights it.
You see, a fast does just that—it shows the flesh that there is a need greater than it’s wants. A declaration that God is truly the only need I have. That’s why some miracles only find their breakthrough with such a declaration.
Someone asked me recently if I always find that the floodgates open and if not, why fast? I don’t always see a miraculous breakthrough but I do always find a peace. For me, I liken it to a chiropractor appointment—an adjustment that aligns my body. With a fast, it’s a spiritual adjustment that aligns my center to the Vine. A fast always pops me back into place with eyes on Jesus and a renewal of the Holy Spirit.
Yes, sometimes I see my bold prayers answered but sometimes it’s something more subtle and quiet—a sweet connection with the Father.
Maybe some of you have never fasted. Wondered it’s purpose. Been hesitant to deny the flesh. Or it’s simply been a while. A fast is a beautiful spiritual discipline that extends a peace and intimacy that few other things do for my spirit. And I just want to leave that with you and maybe encourage someone. And if you’re up against it remember, some things come only by prayer and fasting.
Practical Information About Fasting
Now that I’ve laid a foundation for fasting, let’s talk about the practical aspect of it. I’ve had people over the years ask me questions about what a fast entails and looks like, so let me give you some basic application for fasting.
A fast does not have to be just food. A fast, at its core, is temporarily removing something from your life that you rely on. It can be food, but it can also be social media, television, coffee, etc. The idea is that you are making a declaration that you only really need Jesus.
There are different kinds of food fasts, if that’s the direction you would like to go in. You could do one day or three days. You could do something like a Daniel Fast, where you eliminate certain foods from your diet. There are many way to approach it; not just one. Little bit of advice, as well: drink lots of water and take it easy on your body.
A key element to a fast is the prayer. If you’re fasting food I would encourage you to take those meal times and pray instead. Replace the time you would eat with prayer. Or time you would watch television with prayer. This is an essential part to the fasting process.
I hope this helps as you venture into fasting. It truly is a beautiful spiritual discipline to practice and I would encourage you to do it regularly. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments or send me a message.