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Fasting: Everything you need to know

Before it became the trendy thing of "intermittent fasting" for diet and weight loss, it has always been a tool for obtaining spiritual strength.

#Fasting is a spiritual discipline.

  • Fasting is when you deny yourself of something (usually food) for some time to focus on reading the Word and intentional prayer.

  • Fasting allows for you to starve your fleshly appetite so your Spirit-man can be fed.

  • Fasting is designed to humble us and help us draw closer to God.

It is a tool that a Christian may use to seek a closer relationship with his or her Creator and petition God for help, guidance, and a humble heart that is yielded to His will.

It is an excellent tool for spiritual growth. The benefits of taking time to fast are incredible.

Here are some of the few:

  1. Fasting and prayer can help us hear from God.

  2. Fasting and prayer can reveal our hidden sin.

  3. Fasting and prayer can strengthen intimacy with God.

  4. Fasting and prayer can teach us to pray with the right motives.

  5. Fasting and prayer can build our faith.

How to fast:

"When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

Our attitude and how we approach fasting is so important. Jesus warned in Matthew 6:16-17 about hypocritical fasting, trying to show off or make others feel sorry for us. That is all rooted in pride and self-righteousness as opposed to the humility that fasting should bring about in us. Instead, we should not "appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father, who is in the secret place" (verse 18).

(Read my blog on 'Cultivating the Secret Place')

In Isaiah 58:3-10, it talks about what truly godly fasting is. (#ReadHere)

There are different kinds of fast:

There is a regular fast which consists of abstaining from all food and drink except for water (Matthew 4:2–3; Luke 4:2). Apart from supernatural enablement, the body can function only three days without water.

A partial fast is when one abstains from some particular kind of food, as in Daniel while in Babylon (Daniel 10:3; cf. 1:8, 12).

As noted above, a liquid fast means that you abstain only from solid foods, like fruit juices and the like.

A complete or absolute fast that entails no food or liquid of any kind (Ezra 10:6; Esther 4:16; Acts 9:9) should only be for a time. For anything longer than three to five days, seek medical advice.

You may also wish to fast from all food for only a particular meal each day. You may choose to skip lunch for a day or two or a week, or dinner, or even breakfast. All such forms of partial fasting are entirely appropriate.

In my personal experiences, I have seen a significant breakthrough in my life when I pair fasting and praying.

  • When I needed to be delivered from ungodly soul-ties, I went on a fast.

  • When I was spiritually attacked, I went on a fast.

  • When our ministry family was experiencing a demonic attack, we went on a corporate fast.

  • When I needed breakthrough over a habitual sin, I went on a fast.

  • When I believed God for my husband, I went on several fasts over seven years and was coming off of two months before I met him.

  • Before I walked down the aisle and said, "I do," I went on a fast.

We need God's voice, his clarity, and his direction in all that we do. By fasting, we tune into the frequencies of Heaven.

How you end a fast MATTERS:

"If you've never fasted before, be aware that you may get dizzy and have headaches in the early stages. This is part of the body's cleansing process and will pass with time. Be sure that you break the fast gradually with fresh fruit and vegetables. Do not overeat after the fast. Chili and pizza may sound good after several days of not eating, but please, exercise a little restraint and say no!" – What Christians Need to Know About Fasting by Sam Storms

The most common type of fast is fasting from food for a period of time, but are there other types?

TV/Movie Fast: You can take a favorite weekly break and use the time to pray or read the Bible.

Social Media Fast: This is becoming one of the more common fasts in our culture. Do you need to take some time away from the noise and refresh? Log out of your accounts, delete them from your device for a period of time, and spend that time to be present with God. Pray and listen. Spend some time in nature, soaking in His beauty. Spend some time alone, worshipping God.

Fast from Going Out: Take a look at your calendar and pick a night when you'd usually go out and spend the time instead diving into Scripture. I used to do this one on Friday nights as a new "date night."

How Long Should I Fast?

How long you fast is entirely up to you and the Holy Spirit. If He tells you to do it for a day, do it. If He says, go for the full weekend, do it. Be sensitive to His leading because He will give you the grace for it.

Bible Verses about Fasting

  • Matthew 4:4 But he answered, "It is written, "'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"

  • 1 Corinthians 7:5 Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

  • 1 Corinthians 9:27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

  • Mark 9:28-29 And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, "Why could we not cast it out?" So He said to them, "This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting."

  • Joel 2:12 "Yet even now," declares the Lord, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;

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