Do you need more information about prayer and fasting? Both prayer and fasting were touched on in the prior two posts. Do You Know How to Pray and Why You Should Fast to Refocus Spiritually are linked below. I encourage you to check them out before you read this. Let’s go a bit further into prayer and fasting. Spiritual disciplines are essential to your spiritual growth.
I stepped my prayer life up over the last decade, and even more within the pandemic. Years ago, I added the weapon of fasting to my arsenal and witnessed my spiritual life grow by leaps and bounds—seriously.
What about you, do you pray intentionally at least once daily? Also, do you ever incorporate fasting into your routine?
Hear God’s Voice While Fasting
You can hear God’s voice while fasting. To document my fasts, I write journal entries about the beautiful messages the Holy Spirit downloads into my spirit. I can hear Him speak when I’m in a posture of sacrifice and worship. When I meditate on the Lord and His goodness I instantly feel better. There were also breakthroughs that not only penetrated my heart but cured broken areas in my soul.
If you fast, as part of your spiritual lifestyle, you know exactly what I am talking about. Fasting makes a big difference in your life as a Believer. Your faith increases and you learn to recognize the whisper of the Holy Spirit.
Not as seasoned in fasting? It’s okay to learn more. If you’re new to fasting, you won’t start as a superstar faster. However, the more you incorporate fasts as a spiritual discipline, the greater power you will experience from God as you learn to rely on Him for everything.
You want to listen to the voice of God in this noisy world. When you remove distractions and quiet the body, you can hear God’s more clearly.
If God is calling you into a fast, pray about it to confirm His influence.
NEVER MISS AN UPDATE. SIGN UP FOR LIFE TRANSFORMING CONTENT NOW:
The Importance of Prayer
Prayer is essential for the Christian. In the Holy Scriptures, God commands you not to be anxious (worried, eager, concerned) about anything, but to pray and petition everything. If you have any kind of problem or issue, don’t try to figure it out on your own—pray! Go to God about everything first and wait for His solution (Proverbs 3:5-6). Wait to hear His voice and perspective on the concern.
Philippians 4:6-7 NJKV says, Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
When you dismiss prayer, you forfeit your peace in the matter. If you need peace, keep praying. Pray until God’s peace surpasses all your turbulent thoughts and gives you His understanding of an issue. Scripture tells us to pray without ceasing, so if you want continual peace, prayer is to be a discipline.
Prayer with Partial Fasting
Prayer and Partial Fasts have power. Some churches get together at the same time every year and partake in a Daniel fast. Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship (where I attend and Dr. Tony Evans pastors) hosts a modern Solemn assembly.
Gotquestions.org states, “During times of crisis, the people of Israel gathered in solemn assembly for special days of fasting. When a devastating plague of locusts brought drought and famine to Israel, the prophet Joel called the people to a solemn assembly:”
Joel 1:14 NIV says, 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.
Daniel participated in partial fasts two times in the book of Daniel. However, the famous Daniel fast we hear about today was put together by doctors that are not Christians. Although the doctor’s food selections have many health benefits, the food list is not what Daniel ate in the Bible.
In years prior, I stuck to the Daniel eating plan during a couple of corporate fasts and benefited from them both spiritually and physically.
Power in Corporate Fasts
Corporate fasting has many benefits, and I do recommend them. There is power in numbers when more Believers stand in the gap for the same cause or request. Group prayer and fasts offer support.
Level up your prayer and fasting unto the Lord with a pure and humble heart can transform things in the Body of Christ. (2 Chr 7:14)
I look forward to doing more of them, even putting together one for this ministry as the Lord leads.
Some prayer/fasting events have prior arrangements, while some are randomly prompted and led by the Holy Spirit. When Jesus fasted and prayed for 40 days, the Holy Spirit led Him into the wilderness. Unlike people who believe fasting is giving up social media, television, sweets, soda, or activities, I believe spiritual fasting is the denial of food for a period.
My opinion of leaving sweets and activities alone is simply an act of self-discipline and re-prioritizing what’s important.
Cleanses vs. Fasts
There is a difference between cleanses and fasting. Some people name the internal body cleanses as fasts. Technically this fasting view is somewhat true, but for professing Christians, fasting is a spiritual discipline. Drawing nearer to God is the big picture in our kind of fasting.
In the Old Testament, the Jews fasted a lot with sackcloth and tore their clothes. They didn’t eat or drink anything for some time.
The Jews fasted to humble themselves, to mourn, and to express grief with their petitions. The Israelites didn’t fast to look good in their clothes for vacation or as a way to lose weight. Their fasting was a spiritual sacrifice. They needed to place their attention solely on God through prayer and fastings.
Nevertheless, I do partake in many cleanses, but I do not call them fasts. When I detox, it’s for shedding pounds, removing impurities, and focusing on my health. Therefore, if you are cleansing or purging impurities from your body for non-spiritual reasons, and the Lord Jesus is not the focus, those are cleansings—just my opinion unless your prayer is for healing.
Intermittent fasts have great health benefits, but they are performed mostly for specific health benefits, weight control, and weight loss. When you eat between a small window of time it’s considered intermittent.
For example, you only eat between 12 pm – 6 pm daily, or between 2 pm – 8 pm.
I use this concentrated eating window a lot during the weekdays, but I don’t include this as a spiritual fast. If you can get such great benefits in the physical body from eating within a small window of time daily, imagine partaking in a fast to grow closer to Our Lord and Creator.
Disobedience in Fasting
There is such a thing as disobedience in fasting. Over the past couple of years, The Lord prompted me to fast. However, I did not complete them or trust God to bring me through them as I had done many times in the past.
I easily gave in to my flesh in the first couple of signs of weakness. Giving in to the flesh is a sure sign of defeat for a Believer. Giving up the win to the flesh demonstrates your need for the power of God’s Spirit.
Paul spoke to the Church at Galatia about sanctification through the Spirit of God, and how the flesh conflicts with the Holy Spirit’s desires.
Galatians 5:16 NKJV says, I say then; Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.
I remembered how hard my fasts were in the early years. They were intense because my body was toxic from a poor diet. In the summer of 2011 or so, I took on a five day fast. I ate a couple of apples each day and juiced some veggies and fruit in the evenings. During that fast, I developed ulcers in my mouth as my body eliminated contaminants.
I struggled during that fast and cried out loudly several times for God to strengthen me—and He did. I purposed commitment in my heart and stayed the course. It’s also vital for you to remain committed to the discipline you pledge.
Matthew 26:41 NIV says, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Prayer helps you to watch out as God reveals many things through time alone in His presence. Intention and focus keep you from falling into temptation. The spirit is willing to win the victory ahead, but the flesh is crippling—this is a walk of faith.
I hope you got a bit more insight into fasting and are able to distinguish between a fast and a cleanse. Remember, the flesh is always at war with the spirit man, to overcome the intensity of quitting call on the name of Jesus when you feel like giving in. Fasting is between you and God, so if He’s calling you into one be obedient.
Make sure to look out for the remaining parts of this series next week.
Do more research on the various types of fasting.
Decide upon which things you want to fast about.
Ask the Lord to help you to grow deeper with Him through prayer and fasting.