Prayer and Fasting
Suppose for a moment that God really wants to manifest His presence in your life and to allow His supernatural power to work in you and through you in a very unique, extraordinary way. Suppose He is watching and waiting for you to enter His streams of blessing through a designated gateway that He has chosen. What should prevent you from entering through that gateway? Absolutely nothing!
The God of the Bible is the same God who is waiting and willing to work in the lives of His people today. When God comes, circumstances, situations, things, and people change. His power is above and beyond anything we can think, imagine, or expect.
The question is not whether God is able and willing to move in the hearts of His people. The question is whether believers are willing to do what it takes and pay the price to see that it happens. As a result of prayer and fasting, God will do some phenomenal things in our midst.
As you read Matthew 6: 16-18 to see what Jesus taught about fasting He assumes that we are going to fast, just as we pray and give.
Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a say countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
As you are fasting, God gives very specific details of what you are to do. You are not to go around telling everyone that is what you are doing. This fast is between you and God. Get up and get yourself ready for the day, just like you normally would do and then spend time praying and fasting to listen to Him speak to you.
Prayer and fasting are not formulas or hoops we jump through. Prayer and fasting are not merely physical tests or mental disciplines. True prayer and fasting are attitudes of the heart and cries of the soul.
Many of us have done it wrong, so let me just share a few of the wrong ways we have done to help you see the right way to do it.
One person has fasted all throughout the day, began with a prayer time and then went out the rest of the day shopping. All that happened was the person got very hungry. Another person has fasted and all they could think about was how hungry they were and got some videos to keep their mind off of the hunger. In both of these situations the focus was not God and our heart was not intent on hearing from Him. He has much He wants to tell us, but we have to be still enough to hear.
How is a fast to be done?
1. Keep your focus on the Lord trusting Him in the situation and need.
2. Stay in an attitude of prayer throughout the day. Set aside segments of time for specific prayer. Pray often.
3. Read Scripture much during your time of prayer and fasting. Ask God to reveal where He wants you to read and study in His Word. Praying is as much listening as talking. Record any insights you gain. You may want to write down some of your specific requests in a Journal or notebook.
4. Concerning meals missed, skipping one, two or three consecutive meals is a normal fast. Some may chose one, two or three days. Drink plenty of juices and or water as you fast.
5. For those on medication or who have been ill, be cautious and get an ok from your doctor. Some are not able to fast because of a physical condition. The Lord may lead you to fast from certain foods, or from something that God puts His hand on and ask you to give it up, temporarily or permanently.
6. Sometimes there may be a little dizziness, headache or nausea from not eating. Don’t be alarmed. Remember to drink extra liquids.
7. At the end of your fast it is helpful to eat fruit or soup, etc. Don’t eat a big meal. Your eyes may be bigger than your stomach.
The Practice of Fasting
What kind of fast? There is:
1. A limited fast—A person limits their diet for a time as a part of seeking to do the will of God. This is found in Daniel 1:8-13 where Daniel and his three friends asked for a limited diet in order to follow God’s Law and God’s will.
2. A standard fast—A person eats no food but does drink liquids, such as juices and water. This is the most common fast in Scriptures.
3. An absolute fast—A person does not eat or drink for a period of time. Esther called for a three-day fast of this kind (Esther 4:1-17).
A few examples of fasting: Nehemiah 1:4-11, Daniel 9: 3, Isaiah 58: 7-12, Luke 2:36-37