The Power of Fasting
Prayers are supercharged by fasting. It boosts our prayers and accelerates it. Fasting is going without food for a temporary period of time. It is a physical action that results in a supernatural breakthrough. In the natural, a fasting person would feel weak, tired and fatigued, but in the supernatural, fasting makes a person strong, powerful and successful. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
Fasting makes our prayer most effective and it should be an integral part of our prayer life. When we fast we deprive ourselves of the basic pleasures, satisfactions, comforts and energy that food gives us. We deprive ourselves from food for a temporary time frame, not because we hate food, but because we love God more than our fleshly desires. Fasting is a way of disciplining our senses, especially the strongest sense of taste and our dependence and need for food, and instead focusing on the Word of God. Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God'”(Matthew 4:4).
Fasting should be done with a holy conscience and the right motives, otherwise it’s ineffective. We should never fast in order to manipulate the will of God, but rather we should fast so that we can be transformed and submit to the will of God. Fasting when done for the right reasons will make us humble, and that humility pleases God and results in a breakthrough. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures (James 4:3).
There are many physiological benefits to fasting, such as detoxification, weight loss, fat loss, mental clarity, etc. However fasting should not be done for the physical benefits but rather for the spiritual benefits that leads us to deeper worship and draw us closer to God. If our goal is to lose weight or detoxification then we can go on a diet and call it dieting instead of fasting. Sometimes we may think of killing two birds with one stone. For instance you may have to abstain from food for medical reasons such as a blood test or surgery. In such cases you might as well think to go on a fast since you are anyway not allowed to eat for a while.
Our fasting should be sincere and should be accompanied by prayer and studying the Word of God. It is best to fast when it’s your day off from work. As fasting can make you fatigued, and if your work is manual you may feel weak and tired much more. It could even make you sick. Even if you have a desk job fasting can make your brain go foggy due to low energy levels. People make the most errors at work when they are fasting. As a Christian we are to be good servants and stewards and do our best at our job, and our fasting shouldn’t be the cause of our poor performance at work.
When you fast, do it secretly. If you are at work it may not be easy to keep it a secret and you may not have the time to pray and meditate on God’s word. Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. “But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face. so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you (Matthew 6:16-18). There are times when you may not be able to keep your fast a complete secret, but what is important is your motive for fasting. Is it to get the attention of people or is it to glorify God.
While you are fasting you may sometimes become irritable due to fatigue and low energy levels. Hurting or mistreating others is displeasing to the Lord and will lead to ineffective fasting, and we must make sure we don’t oppress anyone because of the physical discomfort we face while fasting. ‘We have fasted before you!’ they say. ‘Why aren’t you impressed? We have been very hard on ourselves, and you don’t even notice it!’ “I will tell you why!” I respond. “It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves. Even while you fast, you keep oppressing your workers. What good is fasting when you keep on fighting and quarrelling? This kind of fasting will never get you anywhere with me” (Isaiah 58:3-4).
We live in a world where there are huge injustices. There are people that have abundance to eat and there are some that are dying because there is nothing to eat. When you fast you, are sacrificing your meal. You can turn that sacrifice into a blessing to someone who has nothing to eat, or by doing some charitable deed. “No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help” (Isaiah 58:6-7)
There are various types of fasting; such as complete fasting in which you do not consume any food for the time of your fast, also called as water only fast, then there is partial fasting where by you abstain from certain types of food or have only juices, smoothies, etc. You can also determine the duration of your fast. It could be just one meal, one day fast, three days fast, twenty one days fast or a forty days fast. If you are fasting for the first time, it’s best to go for a short fast as it could be difficult for your body depending on you fitness and health level. If you have some health problems or if you are on any medications, then you must consult your physician before you go on a fast. If you are pregnant or a nursing mother, please do not fast as you need to eat in order to nourish yourself and your baby.
The first three days of fasting can be the most difficult for some. One can experience headaches, dizziness, nausea, stomach cramping, etc. If you get sick while on a fast, stop fasting and immediately consult a physician.
There’s a time for fasting and a time for feasting. One must not fast when it time for feasting and one must not feast when it’s time for fasting. Many people have eating disorders because they have no discernment on when to eat and when to fast. Sometimes people eat when they are upset or sad. Fasting is recommended when a person is sad, grieving, mourning or repenting. A person must eat when a person is happy, feasting or celebrating. Then the disciples of John came to Him, asking, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “The attendants of the bridegroom cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast” (Matthew 9:14-15).
Fasting shouldn’t be done aimlessly, but one must fast with a purpose or a reason. Fasting can be done for various spiritual reasons, such as while repenting, seeking God, intense prayer accompanied with fasting, for deliverance, while interceding, during mourning or for seeking and listening from God.
One can fast if the person feels repentant in his heart. If a person is seeking deliverance for oneself or for someone else, fasting along with praying can be the best thing to do. And Jesus said unto them, this kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting (Mark (9:29). When you fast, you are fighting a spiritual battle with the power of God, and that makes you armed and dangerous to the enemy.
If in life you are struggling through any circumstances, go to the Lord pleading by prayer and fasting, and you will see breakthroughs in your life like never before. Fasting empowers you with God’s divine protection and provision. Jesus fasted before He started His public ministry. If you are starting your ministry, it would be good to fast. If you are planning to marry, it would be good to fast and dedicate your marriage to the Lord. Before you conceive your baby, it’s a great time to fast and pray for your unborn child.
When you make fasting an integral part of your prayer life, you will see your spiritual life flourishing like never before. Fasting makes you the best you can be because fasting gets you closer to the Lord and leads you into a deeper relationship with Jesus.
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