"Join us for our corporate time
of prayer and fasting as we take this time
to humble ourselves before the Lord
in prayer as a church."
THE REFINERY OPEN BIBLE CHURCH
Before you read the article below about fasting, first lets take a quick look below at four steps you can use to make your 21 Days of Fasting and Prayer successful...
1. why are you fasting
Spiritual breakthrough, spiritual renewal, guidance, or for a physical healing? There are many reasons we can find ourselves needing to pray, while pairing it with fasting. The best way to start a fast, is by asking the Holy Spirit to clarify His leading and objectives for our time of prayer and fasting
2. commit, commit, commit
Before you fast, decide the following before you begin:
Length of your fast—one meal, one day, a week, 21 days, or more
The type of fast you will proceed with- (Daniels fast, clean eating, etc.)
Restrictions! What other restrictions can you commit to that consume your daily routine from time with God. Social activities, social media, tv, etc?
Before you begin your fast, commit to the time each day that you will devote to prayer and God’s Word
Making these commitments ahead of time will help you sustain your fast
3. prepare yourself, spiritually
The very foundation of fasting and prayer is repentance and beginning with an expectant heart. Our unconfessed sins will always hinder our prayers. .We can prepare our heart by:
Ask God to reveal our sin and confess those sins.
Accept God’s forgiveness
Seek forgiveness from those we have offended
Forgive those who have hurt you
Make amends as the Holy Spirit leads you.
Ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit and with His promise.
Surrender fully to Jesus and focus on the attributes of God, His love, sovereignty, power, wisdom, faithfulness, grace, compassion,
Do not underestimate spiritual opposition. Satan sometimes intensifies the natural battle between body and spirit
4. prepare yourself, physically
Do not rush into your fast.
Prepare your body by eating smaller meals before starting a fast. Avoid high-fat and sugary foods.
Your fast will begin on a better note if you eat raw fruit and vegetables for two days before starting your fast.
Why Do Christians Fast? What Does Biblical Fasting Accomplish?
Biblical fasting is not a hunger strike between you and God. It can be easy to think of fasting as a way to add an extra oomph to your prayers. But biblical fasting isn’t so much about how God responds to your prayers: it’s more about how you bring your prayers to Him.
“God opposes the proud, but shows favor to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5, NIV; see 2 Samuel 22:28). Fasting is a means of humbling ourselves before God. In the Old Testament, fasting was often accompanied by other signs of humility and brokenness, such as weeping, mourning, and lamenting, as well as wearing sackcloth and sitting in ashes.
Bill Bright, Cru’s co-founder, made it his practice to fast and pray. He believed it played a vital role in what God did through him and through Cru as a ministry. He listed several benefits he gained from fasting:
Fasting is a biblical way to truly humble yourself in the sight of God. King David said, “I humbled myself with fasting” (Psalm 35:13, see Ezra 8:21).
Fasting enables the Holy Spirit to reveal your true spiritual condition, resulting in brokenness, repentance and a transformed life.
Your confidence and faith in God will be strengthened. You will feel mentally, spiritually and physically refreshed.
It’s important to understand that fasting is not a way to get a better response to prayer. Rather, true fasting is a means of fostering a better (humbler) approach to prayer.
Prayer and Fasting in the Bible
Fasting is mentioned throughout the Bible, in both the Old Testament (written before Jesus’ ministry, death and resurrection) and the New Testament (written after). However, when Christians discuss fasting, two key passages often come up: one from the Old Testament prophet Isaiah and one from Jesus himself. But neither of these passages gives us specifics on how to abstain from food. Rather, both focus on the heart of the person fasting.
In Isaiah 58, God sees the nation of Israel abstaining from food for a day in order to seek help from God: justice for Israel and judgment on those who have oppressed Israel. However, the help does not come, and the people complain.
God turns the tables on Israel, pointing out how the Israelites are oppressing their own people. Employers withhold pay from the workers, and the people act violently toward each other. Through Isaiah, God tells the people that He doesn’t want them to go a day without food; He wants them to abstain from the ways they’ve oppressed one another.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.” (Isaiah 58:9–10, NIV)
The Israelites were merely putting on a show of fasting for God without truly following Him. Likewise, when Jesus instructs His followers on how to fast, he tells them not to do so for show.
“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:16–18, NIV)
Christians shouldn’t fast in order to look pious or righteous. Fasting is a practice of humbling yourself before God. If you’re turning a fast into a spiritual ego boost, you’ve missed the point entirely.
The Bible is full of examples of people who have abstained from food to seek God:
Jesus fasted before He began His public ministry (Luke 4:1,2).
Nehemiah fasted to help him confess his sins to God and turn away from them and to ask God for favor in the sight of the king of Persia to get permission to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 1:4).
David fasted to ask God to intervene because of injustice (Psalm 35:13). In 2 Samuel 12:17, 23, he fasted to ask for a miraculous healing — a request God did not grant.
Mordecai and the Jews fasted upon hearing news of Haman’s wicked plot for their extermination (Esther 4:3).
The early church fasted while worshiping and committing their ministry to the Lord. They also sought the Lord through fasting for guidance when they appointed leaders (Acts 13:2; 14:23).
Fasting is not limited to the believers the Bible mentions. Many of the church’s most important leaders during an important time in history known as the Protestant Reformation — including Martin Luther, John Calvin and John Knox — fasted. Knox fasted and prayed so much that Queen Mary said she feared his prayers more than all the armies of Scotland.
John Wesley, the renowned English preacher, missionary and founder of Methodism, fasted twice weekly from sunup until late afternoon. Charles Finney, a revivalist in the 1800s, fasted regularly each week and would often go three days without eating when he felt his revival meetings were not effectively introducing people to Jesus.