Many times I have been asked this question, “Why is it important to fast and pray?” What is so different about praying with food intake and without? Is it necessary for a Christian to fast? How often should one fast and for how long should it be? What should be done during the time of fast? If these are these some of the questions that you have in your mind, please read on to find out.
Fasting: The Purpose
Throughout the bible, we see examples of God’s people declare a fast and seek God’s face. The motives and the purposes, though, were different. David fasted to receive mercy. (2 Sam 12:23) Jehoshaphat & Esther fasted for deliverance from their Enemy. (2 Chr 20:3,) Ezra fasted to humble himself before the Lord. (Ezra 8:21) The prophet Joel called for a fast of repentance. (Joel 1:14) Daniel fasted so he could hear from God. (Daniel 9:3) Jesus fasted so he could be empowered and equipped for His ministry. (Matt 4:2) You could fast with any purpose and reason. But make sure that it is a godly reason and doesn’t sound like you are going on a hunger strike before God to get your demands met.
Fasting: The Methods
Fasting in the Old Testament often involved tearing of robes, wearing of sackcloth, sitting on ashes and putting dust on the head, implicitly signifying brokenness and humility. It had to be undergirded with sincere repentance from sins and change from old ways of wicked living. Fasting doesn’t necessarily mean abstaining from food. It can be your phone, internet, relationships or ministry too. Whatever you cling to for significance, and depend on for sustenance is what you should fast from.
Fasting: The Timings
You may ask how often you should fast or how long should you fast when you do. Well, that depends and differs from person to person. If you’re in the ministry then I will recommend that you should take out time at least once every week to cut off from the world and sit in the presence of God. Otherwise you could fast whenever the Lord lays a burden on your heart for the same. The duration depends on the intensity of your prayer and expectations from the presence of God! There are only three mentions of a 40-day fast in the bible, and all the three of them were divinely led and ordained. It is not advisable for you to go on a long fast without being explicitly led by the Holy Spirit. However, you may go on a partial fast like Daniel’s 21-day fast where he ate no meat or desirable food. (Daniel 10:3)
Fasting: The Schedule
Here comes the most important question, “what do I do in my time of fasting?” It is not enough that you abstain from some things; it is important that you hold fast to a lot of things and pursue God during your time of fast. Please understand that your fasting is no more than starving if it is not bathed and enveloped with genuine prayers and the meditation of the Word of God. Make a schedule of what all you have to and will do during your fasting and stick to it. Read and study scriptures that pertain to the fasting in the word of God to know how to do it right.
There is a level of demonic principality that trembles at the sight of a believer who not only prays, but fasts and prays! (Matt 17:21) I pray that your very presence shall terrorize the devil’s kingdom!