Fasting is an extremely valuable and important facet of the Christian life; but it is not an infallible means of "getting what we want" from God. (Jeremiah 14:12 "When they fast, I will not hear their cry ...") Example: II Samuel 12:15-23 (David's son died anyway.) Obedience is better than sacrifice (I Samuel 15:22).
Fasting is a spiritual discipline that causes one to
disassociate him or herself from the natural desires of the flesh,
and affords us an opportunity to focus our attention on seeking
God’s direction for our lives, our loved ones, or our Church.
How to Begin Your Fast
How you begin and conduct your fast will largely determine your success. By following these seven basic steps to fasting, you will make your time with the Lord more meaningful and spiritually rewarding.
Set Your Objective
Why are you fasting? Is it for spiritual renewal, for guidance, for healing, for the resolution of problems, for special grace to handle a difficult situation? Ask the Holy Spirit to clarify His leading and objectives for your prayer fast. This will enable you to pray more specifically and strategically.
Through fasting and prayer we humble ourselves before God so the Holy Spirit will stir our souls, awaken our churches, and heal our land according to 2 Chronicles 7:14. Make this a priority in your fasting.
Make Your Commitment
Pray about the kind of fast you should undertake. Jesus implied that all of His followers should fast (Matthew 6:16-18; 9:14,15) For Him it was a matter of when believers would fast, not if they would do it. Before you fast, decide the following up front:
|How long you will fast - one meal, one day, a week, several weeks, forty days (Beginners should start slowly, building up to longer fasts.)|
|The type of fast God wants you to undertake (such as water only, or water and juices; what kinds of juices you will drink and how often)|
|What physical or social activities you will restrict|
|How much time each day you will devote to prayer and God's Word|
Making these commitments ahead of time will help you sustain your fast when physical temptations and life's pressures tempt you to abandon it.
Prepare Yourself Spiritually
The very foundation of fasting and prayer is repentance. Unconfessed sin will hinder your prayers. Here are several things you can do to prepare your heart:
|Ask God to help you make a comprehensive list of your sins.|
|Confess every sin that the Holy Spirit calls to your remembrance and accept God's forgiveness (1 John 1:9).|
|Make restitution as the Holy Spirit leads you.|
|Ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit according to His command in Ephesians 5:18 and His promise in 1 John 5:14,15.|
|Surrender your life fully to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Master; refuse to obey your worldly nature (Romans 12:1,2).|
|Meditate on the attributes of God, His love, sovereignty, power, wisdom, faithfulness, grace, compassion, and others (Psalm 48:9,10; 103:1-8, 11-13).|
|Begin your time of fasting and prayer with an expectant heart (Hebrews 11:6).|
|Do not underestimate spiritual opposition. Satan sometimes intensifies the natural battle between body and spirit (Galatians 5:16,17).|
Prepare Yourself Physically
Fasting requires reasonable precautions. Consult your physician first, especially if you take prescription medication or have a chronic ailment. Some persons should never fast without professional supervision.
Physical preparation makes the drastic change in your eating routine a little easier so that you can turn your full attention to the Lord in prayer.
|Do not rush into your fast.|
|Prepare your body. Eat smaller meals before starting a fast. Avoid high-fat and sugary foods.|
|Eat raw fruit and vegetables for two days before starting a fast.|
|While You Fast |
Your time of fasting and prayer has come. You are abstaining from all solid foods and have begun to seek the Lord. Here are some helpful suggestions to consider:
|Avoid drugs, even natural herbal drugs and homeopathic remedies. Medication should be withdrawn only with your physician's supervision.|
|Limit your activity.|
|Exercise only moderately. Walk one to three miles each day if convenient and comfortable.|
|Rest as much as your schedule will permit.|
|Prepare yourself for temporary mental discomforts, such as impatience, crankiness, and anxiety.|
|Expect some physical discomforts, especially on the second day. You may have fleeting hunger pains, dizziness, or the "blahs." Withdrawal from caffeine and sugar may cause headaches. Physical annoyances may also include weakness, tiredness, or sleeplessness.|
The first two or three days are usually the hardest. As you continue to fast, you will likely experience a sense of well-being both physically and spiritually. However, should you feel hunger pains, increase your liquid intake.
Put Yourself on a Schedule For maximum spiritual benefit, set aside ample time to be alone with the Lord. Listen for His leading. The more time you spend with Him, the more meaningful your fast will be.
|Begin your day in praise and worship.|
|Read and meditate on God's Word, preferably on your knees.|
|Invite the Holy Spirit to work in you to will and to do His good pleasure according to Philippians 2:13.|
|Invite God to use you. Ask Him to show you how to influence your world, your family, your church, your community, your country, and beyond.|
|Pray for His vision for your life and empowerment to do His will.|
|Return to prayer and God's Word.|
|Take a short prayer walk.|
|Spend time in intercessory prayer for your community's and nation's leaders, for the world's unreached millions, for your family or special needs.|
|Get alone for an unhurried time of "seeking His face."|
|If others are fasting with you, meet together for prayer.|
|Avoid television or any other distraction that may dampen your spiritual focus.|
When possible, begin and end each day on your knees with your spouse for a brief time of praise and thanksgiving to God. Longer periods of time with our Lord in prayer and study of His Word are often better spent alone.
A dietary routine is vital as well. Dr. Julio C. Ruibal - a nutritionist, pastor, and specialist in fasting and prayer - suggests a daily schedule and list of juices you may find useful and satisfying. Modify this schedule and the drinks you take to suit your circumstances and tastes.
5 a.m. - 8 a.m.
10:30 a.m. - noon
2:30 p.m. - 4 p.m.
6 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Tips on Juice Fasting
|Drinking fruit juice will decrease your hunger pains and give you some natural sugar energy. The taste and lift will motivate and strengthen you to continue.|
|The best juices are made from fresh watermelon, lemons, grapes, apples, cabbage, beets, carrots, celery, or leafy green vegetables. In cold weather, you may enjoy a warm vegetable broth.|
|Mix acidic juices (orange and tomato) with water for your stomach's sake.|
|Avoid caffeinated drinks. And avoid chewing gum or mints, even if your breath is bad. They stimulate digestive action in your stomach.|
When your designated time for fasting is finished, you will begin to eat again. But how you break your fast is extremely important for your physical and spiritual well-being.
End Your Fast Gradually
Begin eating gradually. Do not eat solid foods immediately after your fast. Suddenly reintroducing solid food to your stomach and digestive tract will likely have negative, even dangerous, consequences. Try several smaller meals or snacks each day. If you end your fast gradually, the beneficial physical and spiritual effects will result in continued good health.
Here are some suggestions to help you end your fast properly:
|Break an extended water fast with fruit such as watermelon.|
|While continuing to drink fruit or vegetable juices, add the following:|
First day: Add a raw salad.
Second day: Add baked or boiled potato, no butter or seasoning.
Third day: Add a steamed vegetable.
Thereafter: Begin to reintroduce your normal diet.
|Gradually return to regular eating with several small snacks during the first few days. Start with a little soup and fresh fruit such as watermelon and cantaloupe. Advance to a few tablespoons of solid foods such as raw fruits and vegetables or a raw salad and baked potato.|
Before you start:
ask the Lord for insight and understanding of His Word.
Gather the following tools:
Bible in one or two translations
Dictionary (Webster's 1828 or Bible Dictionary recommended)
Pen and notebook (journal) to record your thoughts
Give yourself one hour periods of study time in a quiet place.
Meditate upon what you are studying.
Look up the following verses and fill in the chart below:
Ezra 10:6, 10:10-11
Esther, chapters 4-8
Deuteronomy 9:9-29, 10:1-11
2 Chronicles 20:1-29
Joel 1:13-14, 2:12,15,18-27
1 Kings 17:5-7
1 Corinthians 7:5
In addition, read Psalm 35:13, Ezra 8:21. What are the benefits of fasting?
Fasting in the Bible
Almost every major biblical leader fasted at one time or another. They knew the power and importance of this practice. We should follow their example and the example of church leaders throughout history who had a lifestyle of fasting. John Wesley would not ordain anybody who did not fast Wednesdays and Fridays! If we are to see lasting revival we will need to pay the price and deny ourselves, being more hungry for God than for food!
Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. (Exodus 34: 28)
So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. (1 Kings 19.8)
Then Ezra withdrew from before the house of God and went to the room of Jehohanan son of Eliashib. While he was there, he ate no food and drank no water, because he continued to mourn over the unfaithfulness of the exiles. (Ezra 10: 6)
I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over. (Daniel 10:3)
Esther and Mordechai fasted.
Fasting is continued in the New Testament.
And then was a widow until she was eight-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. (Luke 2:37)
And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing. (Acts10:30KJV)
Early church leaders fasted.
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).
Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. (Acts 14:23)
.For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything. (Acts 9:9)
He never forgot the lesson of prayer and fasting and later told the Corinthians, in his second letter, that he had been "in fasting often" (2 Corinthians 11:27 KJV).
Most important of all to us is that Jesus fasted.
And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. (Luke 4:1-2 KJV)
Jesus was wise enough to know that without the Father he could do nothing. He sought the Father in prayer and fasting. He waited in the Father's presence until He was endued with power. How can we do less?
In this teaching,
Rev. Kukuk presents powerful insights into the often misunderstood subjects of prayer and fasting.
She leads you through a comprehensive study on how you can effectively use both of these Biblical principles to fulfill God's destiny in your life.
You will be impacted mightily as Rev. Kukuk outlines truth from God's Word that is of utmost importance for every believer on:
the importance of prayer, the different types of fasts, how to pray effectively, and the purpose of fasts
If we fast with the right motives, God describes the amazing benefits of fasting that we can expect (Isaiah 58:3–12). Fasting releases answers
Fasting releases answers. Biblical fasting was almost always related to a situation, often an immediate one, which was a great concern to an individual or to a group of people.
Biblical fasting was always accompanied by prayer. Fasting is not so much about abstaining from food as much as it is about focusing our complete concentration on seeking God through prayer—this is the secret to the power of fasting. Led by the Holy Spirit,
Fasting and obedience are powerful beyond the imagination!