I’m a firm believer that fasting and prayer are amazing when done for the right reasons. I’ve done multiple different types of fasts: all foods, only vegetables, technology, sugar, and anything wasteful that takes time I could be giving to God.
Fasting is replacing what we “think” we need with what we actually need. Food and water is the only thing we NEED to live. Fasting from food is a practical way for us to show God we love him and we NEED and LOVE him more than anything.
- God teaches us how to depend on him through fasting. “Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 8:2-3
- Jesus is the ultimate bread (FOOD) that we need. “Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” John 6:25-59
Ultimately, healthy fasting should lead us to depend on God within every situation because He loves us so much. When done for the wrong reasons, fasting becomes a way to control the outcomes in life. Fasting from a place of control can lead to great disappointments when God doesn’t act in the way that we “expect” or want.
In addition, fasting should not be done to make you “more powerful“. You don’t get access to “special powers” because you fasted and prayed more than others. Fasting doesn’t make you “all knowing“. You also don’t get a “special place” in God’s kingdom when you fast. True fasting should help us drop the need to be better than others. Then Christ can truly shine through our humble beings.
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How do you access God’s power? There are unhealthy and healthy ways of fasting. The most powerful fasts helps you clear out your heart and mind and get closer to God. When your mind is transformed and you aren’t operating in pride, brokenness, shame, self-effort, etc… You can be weak enough for God to be strong in you. When you are EMPTIED of the flesh’s sinful nature you can carry the FULL power of God’s purity and love.
What is unhealthy fasting?
- Fasting for deliverance. Many people fear they have a demon, think their horrible people, and fast to punish their bodies into doing the right thing. That is WRONG. The Bible says that transformation of the mind is a process as we become ONE with God. You have to be patient because you won’t be a spiritually mature and healthy Christian in 2 months! It has taken me 10 years to be where I am and I’m sure there is WAY more to learn. BEWARE of deliverance ministries: Read more HERE and HERE. Such ministries can get you to think you are dirty and forget that Christ died to fill you with the Holy Spirit not demons.
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- When you expect God to do what you want. “David answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” 2 Samuel 12:22-23
- To be better than others. To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 18:9-14
- We all get the same reward even if we have been saved longer, fast and/or pray more. “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’ “The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ Matthew 20:8-15
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- You fast but still do the wrong things. “Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’ “Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD? “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?” Isaiah 58:3-7
You Can’t Fast Or Pray to Receive What is Freely Given!
There are certain things that people fast and pray for that has already been freely given. When we accept Jesus Christ as our lord and savior, He gives us ALL certain gifts. I believe the enemy keeps many Christians stuck because they believe they have to “do something” to get the gifts. Or, they have more of these “free gifts” because they worked hard for them.
The sanctification process is God purifying our hearts and mind so that we are not blind to what has ALWAYS been ours. In other words, God has to undo lies and remind us that He created us in His perfect image (Genesis 1:27). Christ’s death and the free gift of the Holy Spirit gives us the power to operate in the purity that He intended in the garden. When we accept Christ… We get the free gift – the Helper (Holy Spirit) who helps us AVOID sin.
- We are cleansed and purified because of what Christ did on the Cross. (2 Peter 1:2-4) We no longer walk in Satan’s darkness but in God’s light. “To open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” Acts 26:18
- God decides what signs, miracles, and wonders will happen. We should pray and ask what His will is in every situation. Because, He does everything according to His will and through whoever He pleases. (Act 2:38 & Hebrews 2:4)
- “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)
- Nothing can separate us from the Love of God. (Romans 8:31-29)
- Do not boast. Faith is a free gift. Your ability to believe in God and trust him is a gift. (Romans 12:3-8)
- Everyone is given different spiritual gifts for the “common good”. (1 Corinthians 12:4-11)
Ultimately, gifts cannot be earned by doing lengthy fasts and prayers. However, you can ask God if it is His will to give you a certain gift. He is a good father that hears and replies to His children. You can also read further verses that demonstrate what gifts are given.
What is healthy fasting?
- To seek God’s direction. “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Acts 13:2
- To soften someone’s heart to listen to God’s Will. “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:16
- To remove clutter in your heart which allows you to deepen your intimacy with God. “Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.” Joel 2:12
- To seek protection in a difficult situation. “There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions.” Ezra 8:21-23
- Fasting for deliverance from Satan’s lies. During a fast God will teach you the truth in the Bible and expose the lies you believe — lies such as you will die, you will always sin, God doesn’t answer prayers, I have to pray a lot for God to deliver me, etc. “The devil was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44
- To weaken the enemy’s grip on your life, or someone else’s life. “And he said unto them, This kind [of demon] can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting,” Mark 9:29, KJV — BEWARE of deliverance ministries. Read more HERE and HERE.
Once again, the most powerful fasts are the ones where you feel closer and more in love with God. Experiencing Gods love will inspire you to LOVE the broken and seek to bring others into the love of God as well!