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Fasting And Prayer have not always gone hand in hand for me.
I have been intermittent fasting for two years now. I really can’t imagine ever going back to grazing and snacking all day long. Due to fasting, along with my diet of choice, I have lost weight, feel so much better, I have more energy, and I have healed my body from so many health issues.
If you would have looked at me just 3 short years ago and tell me that I would never again eat breakfast, I surely would not have believed you.
There Is More To Fasting Than Weight Loss
I have always heard about the power of fasting and prayer. But, as my fasting journey continues I have to say I have come to appreciate the benefits that have really changed my life beyond just my body. There is an unmistakable power when you combine spiritual fasting and prayer.
Yes, fasting heals our body from the inside out. But fasting with and along with prayer deeply reveals and heals the deepest part of who you are, changes circumstances, and brings prayer to a whole new level of intimacy and power.
I guess it begins with the fact that there is great strength developed in one’s ability to deny themselves of something. Whether that be food or something else.
Think about it. When in our society does anyone ever have to go without or deny themselves even the smallest thing? Not often; if we are cold, we turn up the heat, if we are too hot we power on the air-conditioning.
All our children have to say is I’m hungry and instantly a cookie, cheese stick, or crackers is promptly offered.
If we are out for a drive in our car and decide we would fancy a cup of coffee, all we have to do is turn into a ‘nearby’ coffee shop, roll down a power window, and speak our preferred option into a little speaker.
Again, denying ourselves seems like a foreign concept when we are products of convenience.
Denying Ourselves Is Uncomfortable
Denial of any wants or defined ‘need’ is very unusual and truly uncomfortable. Especially for the simple reason of ‘denying ourselves’ for the purpose of prayer and something greater.
This is why fasting brings into reality a new way of approaching the Throne of God.
It is a way of bringing our desire under the Lordship of Jesus. Meaning we are denying ourselves the thing we want and think we need and then filling that fleshly desire with the thought and worship of God.
Fasting And Prayer – God Wants Our Heart
When we are in need or are asking for a spiritual breakthrough or answer to a prayer of some kind, fasting can provide a smoother path for God to work. It gets ‘us’ out of the way.
This is because when we combine the ‘fasting’ with deep and true prayer we are placing ourselves in a state of humility. We are ‘getting out of the way’ so to speak and allowing God to work.
I have seen God literally change circumstances, soften hearts, and turn situations around. I have also experienced instantaneous healings from sickness. All of these due to combining fasting and prayer with an intended purpose.
Our sacrifice, whatever that may be, is not what God is ultimately looking for. The giving up and realizing how much we rely on him creates in us the humbled contrite heart that he truly is looking for.
18 For you do not desire sacrifice or I would give it; a burnt offering you would not accept. 19 My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a contrite, humbled heart, O God, you will not scorn.Psalms 51: 18,19
But Why Fast?
Sometimes, we need to pray with laser focus. When you have an intention in mind and you aren’t worried about preparing food or thinking about what you are going to eat you can offer more attentiveness to the prayer intention at hand.
And if you do get a pang of hunger or a feeling like you need to eat, you can turn that attention to God and fill that emptiness with Him. It is humbling yourself and coming to the deeper realization that “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” ~Matthew 4:4
We are also told that some demons can only be driven out by prayer and fasting. Prayer alone is powerful. But, combined with the humbling practice of fasting can break the chains of sin, turn things in a new direction, and change the very situation that seems unchangeable.
Fasting Should Not Be Written All Over Your Face
16 “When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,
18 so that you may not appear to others to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.Matthew 6:16-18
In this passage, Jesus is very clear that your fasting & prayer is between Him and you. If you are going to ‘fast’, you should not look like you are suffering terribly or tell everyone you meet to appear pious and ‘holy’.
Only when you fast and keep it hidden will God reward you.
Like yesterday, I fasted from food and prayed all day. I offered every detail of the day as a prayer.
So, what did I do?
Well, I knew beforehand that I was going to fast and pray. Besides my family being aware, if anyone would have met up with me, they would not had even known.
I got up, like any other day. Began with prayer and placed my day in God’s hands.
I showered, got dressed, put on my makeup, and did my hair.
I then took my kids and grandkids to a splash park and spent the day packing and then traveling back and forth.
In between the walking in the park, and traveling to and from, or even when the kids were enjoying their lunch, I was able to reflect and pray for my intention.
Hungry at times, and turning my mind to prayer provided me a chance to remember my reason for fasting and to offer that discomfort up in persistent focused prayer.
Keeping busy does help take the focus off the desire for food. Gardening, cleaning the house, walking, or going on an outing can help keep your ‘fasting’ intention clear in your mind.
What Do We Fast From?
We can fast from almost anything, as the point is to humble your heart before God.
You can fast from social media, food, a meal, a comfort that you think you cannot live without, or anything really.
Jesus, Moses, and Elijah fasted fully for 40 days without food or water. During these fasts. Moses spoke face to face with God, Elijah was visited by an angel and Jesus was in the midst of real spiritual warfare.
We are all different and God knows us individually. He will lead you to the fast that is right for you.
Suffering from discomfort or inconvenience, then offering that discomfort as a prayer and suffering through it is life-changing.
Turning to God, denying yourself, and acknowledging your deep need for Him is where the power lies. This is where you can open the very depths of your soul and allow for him to work within, through, and around you.
How To Begin Fasting And Prayer For A Purpose?
First of all, if you decide that you want to fast from food for any length of time it is wise to speak with your doctor. Once you have the go-ahead then you can begin.
Pray and write down what your prayer intention will be.
Find a scripture that contains a promise for your particular situation. Google is a good resource for this.
Set a date and decide on the length of your fast, and what you will be giving up. You also may want to look ahead at your schedule to make sure there is nothing that may cause an obstacle. (birthday party, anniversary, etc.)
Just Do It
But sometimes, like in our world today where the battle is real, you just have to make the decision and do it. These are desperate times and we are faced with situations that require us to be people of fasting and prayer. And be faithful to it.
If you can get a family member or the whole family, a friend or friends, or even your church community to join with you all the better. Fasting and prayer for a purpose are powerful, but fasting and prayer as a group are even more powerful…
For me, I can’t believe it took me 48 years to truly personally realize the powerful combination of fasting and prayer. It has changed my life and the way I commune with God.
12 For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.Ephesians 6:12
Our struggle is real and it is not with ‘flesh and blood’.
Just like Jesus in the desert, we are called into battle and fasting is one of our weapons at hand.
If you have never entered into the realm of Fasting and prayer for a purpose, I am personally inviting you to this powerful way of prayer!
A Catholic mom of 10 & a Deacon’s wife.
I Help Inspire Christian Women to Grow in Their Faith & Share with Others, Improve their Health, and Create Whole-Life-Wellness From the Inside Out.