“Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and asked, “Why could we not drive it out?” He answered, “Because of your little faith [your lack of trust and confidence in the power of God]; for I assure you and most solemnly say to you, if you have [living] faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and [if it is God’s will] it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. [ But this kind of demon does not go out except by prayer and fasting. ] ”” MATTHEW 17:19-21 AMP
Biblically, most fasting involves restricting intake of food and drink. Moses, David, and Daniel all fasted, as did Anna, Paul, and Jesus Christ. In Matthew 6:16 – 17, Jesus spoke about fasting as a spiritually beneficial practice. Some demonic behavior and powers that need to be broken in our lives can only be broken by dedicated fasting.
When we fast we should totally rely upon God and bring everything to him in prayer. Fasting is more precious to God because every other commandment given to man was to benefit humans, except for fasting which is purely sacrificial and to strengthen our faith. Fasting is also process of purification as this process allows the body to detox.
What are different types of fasting?
There are 2 main types of fasting: One is from the Old Testament, during the period of Abrahamic faith (before Jesus Christ) and the other is from the New Testament, during the period of the Gospel (post Jesus Christ).
1. Partial fasting: Daniel fasted from a group of “choice” foods by abstaining from certain foods, drinks, or activities for a specified time. For example, the Daniel fast is for 21 days and can be implemented for special seasons like Advent or Lent. During the Daniel fast you only drink water and eat natural foods like seeds, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. You cannot eat artificial foods, dairy, sugar, and yeast (alternative is the Ezekiel bread).
2. Full fasting: Esther called all Jews to a total fast for three days before she asked the King of Persia to spare them from destruction (Esther 4:16). She abstained from all food and drinks. You can drink water, but no milk, lactate protein or food. This can be done for the whole day or during the day until the sun sets. This can also be done throughout whole year for about 182 days. For example if you start fasting on Monday you will not fast on Tuesday. This pattern can be continued every other day for the rest of the year.
Other examples of fasting:
Sex: Twice the Bible recounts a sexual fast. In Exodus 19:15, all of the Israelites abstained from sex for three days as they prepared to meet with God at Mt. Sinai. In 1 Corinthians 7:5, married couples are instructed to abstain from sex to devote themselves to prayer. This is something you should discuss with your partner so they are aware and supportive.
Technology: Television, video games and social media can become toxic distractions and steal our precious time away. This can make us have a distant and inconsistent relationship with God. You may spend hours in front of the television or computer with a favorite game. If you sacrifice playing games during a fast you will have more time to focus on your relationship with God to build spiritual growth.
What are the main benefits of fasting?
The main benefit of fasting is to gain control of your flesh, mind and spirit and to release the power of God to break bonds in your life. Modern benefits of fasting is that it can be done with an aim to detoxify the body. This is a natural way to flush your system out. Humans can survive on water longer than on food. Remember the human body is made up of 70% water.
“When I wept and humbled myself with fasting, It became my reproach.” PSALMS 69:10 AMP
Spiritual and physical preparation is an important and necessary component in fasting. This begins with self reflection and examination. When we fast, our motives should be to seek God with an humble and willing heart. Isaiah 58:3–7 tells us to seek God with pure motives.
“If we say we have no sin [refusing to admit that we are sinners], we delude ourselves and the truth is not in us. [His word does not live in our hearts.]” 1 John 1:8 AMP
If you can ignore the selfish desires of the flesh during this process, like lying, stealing, cheating, adultery or fornication, then you can learn to control yourself from giving into those sinful urges. You can tap into harnessing self control by asking God for help.
As humans we want what we want and we want it now! However, with a humble heart you can pray and say, “God I need you to help me to do this.” Anyone can fast but the spirit of self control is from God and only He can work provide you with spiritual nourishment.
Through fasting and prayer we build a relationship with God and with each other. We are empowered by God and spiritual powers are released, doors are unlocked and bonds are broken.
How do you prepare for fasting?
Put aside periods of time back to God. Chose a prayer partner that will support you, pray for you and with you as you embark on this significant and spiritual journey. For example get up at 6am in the morning to pray for an hour. Prepare your heart. Prepare your mind through meditation. Prepare your prayer requests. Prepare to hear from God.
1. SPIRITUAL PREPARATION
Ask God to create within you a clean heart and a renewed spirit and to reveal any sin of omission, failure to do what you ought to do, or any sin of commission, deliberate sin. All sins are the same in God’s eyes. We should care about every single sin that we intended to cause and even the ones that we do not intend to cause. Confess, repent and be forgiven. God will not hear your prayers when sin is in the heart. How can you avoid or flee from this sin going forward? Is there a close friend that will hold you accountable to this change?
We must read and meditate on the Word. Reflect on what God is saying through the Word as it will help to focus the heart and mind. Meditation will give understanding, insight and foresight. In order to fast with purpose and expectation you can have a notebook or journal to document your request journey. Record God’s answers to your prayer as this will reinforce your faith and acts as a witness to your blessings. Record all that God has shown you through visions, dreams or people.
2. PHYSICAL PREPARATION
Prepare your body for spiritual nourishment and strength (detoxifying process) to build your immune system. It is critical to prepare your body at least four days before the commencement of fasting. Cut back on food portions so your body can adjust to fewer calories. Reduce the intake of caffeine, meat, dairy products, processed foods, sugar, chocolate, cakes, bread with yeast (alternative is Ezekiel bread). Increase your portions of raw and cooked fruit and vegetable. Increase your liquid intake. Drink more water to flush your body.
Limit how much you consume the day prior to the commencement of fasting. Do not eat large meals as it will enlarge your stomach capacity and boost your appetite which will make fasting difficult to accomplish, especially the Daniel fast which is for 21 consistent days.
With that being said it is obvious that during fasting you should avoid stimulants like nicotine or caffeine and definitely ones that will increase your appetite as well, like cannabis. Limit your physical activities and moderate exercising. If you go to the gym consistently during fasting you will feel lightheaded and lethargic. It is very important to take lots of rest during this time. Your bowels will change as well as your body to purge all of the toxins.
3. MEDICAL CONDITION(S)
Pray for things that prayer and fasting alone could overcome. Pray and ask God to guide you on whether or not you should take part in the fasting if have a chronic condition. Consult your doctor before engaging in fasting to ensure that fasting will not be difficult or harmful to your condition. It’s crucial that you do the fasting the right way and for the right reasons.