Making the decision to participate in a fast is an important one. Not everyone initially understands the purpose or may even lack the confidence to do so, but once you understand the spiritual benefits of fasting, you might also begin to feel the calling of the Holy Spirit to engage in this amazing sacrifice for the Lord!
Fasting for the Lord means to sacrifice something, give something up for an extended period of time. Most commonly, some will chose to fast for 3, 7, 21, or 40 days, depending on the type of fast and what is felt in the spirit. The purpose of fasting is to draw closer to the Lord and to break any chains of oppression that may be occurring in your life, or to receive a miracle or break through, but we can also fast for peace & comfort, direction & guidance, spiritual growth, protection, and much more.
Ezra 8:23 NLT “So we fasted and earnestly prayed that our God would take care of us, and He heard our prayer.”
Many years ago, when I still new to this walk of faith, I learned the blessing of fasting through the church I started to attend. I learned of the miracles and power of this sacrifice and faith. By that time, my children and I had already lost our home, car, employment, and nearly all of our belongings. Everything seemed to have been going wrong, but I could feel the calling of God. So, although I was lost and confused about everything going on, I had a deep desire to seek the Lord. I knew something was missing in my life and I was determined to find it. That missing piece was Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit.
When we fast we learn to “die to the flesh” or in others words not to give in to the desires of these earthly bodies, but allow our spirits to be led by the Holy Spirit and therefore bring about spiritual breakthroughs in our lives. In this way we also cause our minds, our thoughts, to be captive to the Word of God and follow the power of the Holy Spirit rather than the desires of the flesh, which is the body and mind.
Mathew 4:4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
Most often people will fast from food, but you can fast from anything that means something to you or that you’re attached to for any reason. For example, in regard to food, you can fast for several hours in the day (not having breakfast until noon each day for a determined amount of days) or fast to have only one meal per day. Please understand that fasting for God isn’t a personal way to diet, although there certainly are many health benefits to doing so. Rather you can accept these benefits to you as a bonus to giving something precious to the Lord.
Besides whole meals, I have a sweet tooth so normally I fast from all junk foods completely, and I do so for extended period of time. My husband is a big meat eater, so he’ll fast from either all meats or just red meats for a certain period of time. But you can fast from anything that has a hold on you. For example, some people will fast from social media completely.
Others prefer to incorporate something into their routines such as my son’s preference to not speak for an entire hour daily during his fasting weeks. Or you can set aside an hour every day to worship. You can determine to read a few chapters of the Bible per day during your fast. Whatever it is that you feel in your spirit and you decide between yourself and the Lord. Just be certain to stick to it because it’s our sacrifice to God and that should be enough motivation and determination to see it through to its completion. After all, it’s us that needs the Lord and His power in our lives. So fasting should hold the mindset of gain, not loss. It should be an expression of our desire to be filled by God. Amen.
Luke 2:37(b) ESV “She did not depart from the temple, worshipping with fasting and prayer, night and day.”
Let’s understand that we are triune beings, meaning we are spirit, mind and body. In the world we are taught to lead by mind and body, and rarely is the spirit given the importance that it should. But as Christians we soon learn that the spirit is the only eternal aspect as the triune beings that we are. The spirit will go on living in eternity, the mind will evolve and grow according to the spirit, and the body will waste away at the end of physical life. So it’s imperative that we learn how to place the spirit before the body and allow our spirit to take precedence over the mind.
Most often when we embark on a journey through fasting, what we are saying is that we are not just hungry for the satisfaction of the flesh, but that we hunger more for the direction and presence of God. We recognize our need for God’s provision in our lives, for the blessings that God’s presence brings in, such as protection over our families, better health, strengthening our marriage, financial prosperity, and His direction and guidance over every area of our lives.
We’re not perfect. We fall and fail miserably at times. But with God, He has the power to lift us up right where we are and give us the victory over any trial or tribulation we might face, and what better way to receive that power in times in need than to give ourselves as a sacrifice to the Lord and submit in repentance to His love, power and grace.
1 Samuel 7:6 ESV “So they gathered at Mizpah and drew water and poured it out before the Lord, and fasted on that day and said there, ‘We have sinned against the Lord.’ And Samuel judged the people of Israel at Mizpah.”
Fasting will help strengthen our relationship with the Lord and should be the break away from religiousness. We shouldn’t fast just because others are doing it and we want to say we did it too. We should be fasting with a purpose! And that purpose should be to give ourselves back to the Lord in an intimate way, and that way is of by both sacrifice and obedience to Him. And God desires to give us more because we have sought after Him. Amen!
In this way, we will also break chains in our lives as we fast and pray over these things. Fasting allows us to go into spiritual warfare against the powers of darkness. Fasting can lead us to receive those victories that we might not otherwise receive without applying the power of the fast in our lives. Fasting will therefore strengthen our praise and worship, and our spiritual living. It will draw you closer to the Lord and allow you to better hear His voice and receive a Rhema Word over your life.
(A Rhema Word is when the Lord speaks directly to your spirit. You will know it’s the Lord – there will be no confusion over that. If you find yourself questioning whether or not it was God, it likely was not. You can literally feel the difference and will know it without doubt.)
1 Corinthians 9:27 ESV “But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”
Fasting brings the presence of God more prominently in your life and covering your entire family. It is like ushering His Holy Spirit to dwell within us and dwell within our homes and every aspect of our lives. When we have drawn closer to the Lord we will learn more of Him and His nature and we will be able to better align with the nature of God which He intended for each of us to be able to do from the beginning of time.
Fasting is spoken about in both the Old and New Testaments and it has proven to be a secret weapon in our faith to open doors of power and blessing in our lives over any situation and circumstance. Take the time to pray and to listen out for the voice of the Lord to lead you into your fast. This is between you and God. Be prepared to give your sacrifice and to follow through, and remember: when you know that you are doing it for a higher purpose, it’s that much easier to fulfill and complete joyfully! God bless you!
Acts 13:3 ESV “Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.”
Father God, we thank You for the blessing of fasting. We thank You that we are able to commune with You at any given time but that we could enter into a special time throughout the seasons where we are willing to give a sacrifice for You, Lord. We thank You for this time that we are able to draw closer to You by giving up things of the flesh. We thank You for helping us to draw closer to You and for the protection and favor that You provide throughout this time. We thank You that as we draw closer to You Lord, that we are able to hear your voice more clearly and feel Your presence near to us. We thank You for this wonderful blessing, Lord! Thank You that we can enter into the spiritual realm and strengthen our praise and worship to You. We thank You for the speedy growth that takes place in each of us throughout this time, and for the favor upon our families. Thank You Father God that You are so faithful to us in all that You do! In Jesus’ mighty and precious name we pray, Amen.
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