Home > DISCIPLESHIP > Prayer

Fasting

Have you ever come to the place where you're asking "Why has there not been an answer to this prayer?" Answers need to happen in the spiritual realm.  Ephesians 6 tells us we are not fighting against flesh and blood but rulers, authorities and powers of this dark world.

We have to put on the full armour of God.  We need to engage in spiritual warfare.

One of the most effective ways of doing this is through prayer and fasting.

What does the Bible say about fasting -

  • Why fast? Because Jesus did it
  • Jesus practised fasting and needed to do it to get breakthroughs
  • How much more then do we need to fast to get a breakthrough?
  • Jesus was filled with the Spirit at His baptism
  • Then led by the Spirit into the wilderness and fasted for 40 days
  • He was tempted and overcame Satan
  • Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit
  • He was first filled with the Spirit
  • Then He operated in the power of the Spirit
  • Jesus practised fasting as part of His prayer life and saw great breakthroughs

We can't expect to see great breakthroughs unless we pray and fast.  In Matthew 17 after the Transfiguration, the boy with the demon was unable to be delievered by the disciples; only Jesus could do it.  Why?  Only by prayer and fasting can we get into the battle that is going on.  We have authority and power within us to do battle.  John 14 tells us we will do what Jesus has been doing and greater things!

In the sermon on the mount in Matthew 6:16 Jesus says when you fast, not if you fast.  It used to be a commonly practised Christian discipline and Scripture presumes we do it.  

When you fast, don't make a big show of it.

The early Church took it as read - that's what Christians do is fast.  Read Acts 13:2 and 14:2.  Isaish 58 is probably the most famous fasting passage in the prophets, although the prophets refer to fasting frequently.

So what are the benefits of fasting?

  • Revelation
  • Healing and wholeness
  • Righteousness
  • The presence of the shekinah, glory of God
  • Answered prayer
  • Guidance
  • Contentment
  • Refreshing
  • Strength
  • Raising up future generations
  • Restoration

Why don't we fast?

  • Maybe out of habit
  • Maybe eating is such a big part of our lifestyle we can't imagine not eating
  • Maybe out of anxiety because to fast is to enter into the spiritual battle and at some level we are afraid
  • Maybe we feel it is legalistic

Fasting helps release the power of the Spirit in our lives.

Quote from Mahesh Chavda (see the Fasting Booklist) "It is here [in fasting] that we find the principle key to go beyond the in-filling of the Spirit to tap the power of the Spirit."

There are some practical aspects of fasting.  Maybe start off small if you are not used to fasting.  Start by going without a lunch meal and then progress to going without breakfast and lunch and build up slowly throughout Lent. Maybe pick a day of the week where you don't have to be too physical.  Drink lots of water when you are fasting and don't fast if you are on medication or have health issues.  There are other ways of fasting like giving up TV or your favourite Wii/XBox/DS game!

Don't make a big deal about fasting!  Don't tell people (although practically your spouse may need to know!) and don't complain about being hungry.  Your attitude is important.

You need to wait on God for His guidance and pray during your fast.

Corporate fasting can be powerful.  St Mary's Church will be fasting on Fridays throughout Lent.  Doing it together we will be strengthened.

Think about what God has impressed on you.  You may have questions.

Pray.

Listen to God.

Keep a prayer diary.  Act on the stuff God is telling you!

Rise up, step out and pray for healing.


Prayer
Webpage icon Fasting Booklist