Fasting is a spiritual exercise that is of great importance in our lives as children of God. Fasting, is denying oneself of food, or other basic things desired by the flesh, as a form of sacrifice to the Lord, either for a specific purpose, or to wait on him and listen to him.
When we fast, we wait on God, we place ourselves before him, denying ourselves of that which is needed by the flesh.
Kenneth Hagin, in one of his books, said “Fasting helps to keep our flesh under, and makes us more sensitive to the spirit”.
In being more sensitive in spirit, we are more sensitive to the voice of God concerning our situation, or whatever he wants to tell us.
Fasting, although it goes alongside prayer, is a very effective form of prayer. In Matthew 17, The disciples of Jesus were trying to cast out an evil spirit from a man but they couldn’t and when Jesus came, he cast out the spirit and said to them in verse 21 “This kind is not cast out but by prayer and fasting”.
In certain circumstances we have to combine our prayers with fasting, for effectiveness.
Fasting was used in different occasions in the Bible, for different purposes; it was used to plead for the mercy of God, when one sinned, it was used as a form of worship, by Anna who served in the temple, it was used to hear the will of God by the apostles, it was used to pray for guidance and protection, it was also used to discipline oneself spiritually.
Fasting through a form of prayer is invalid without the addition of vocal prayers. Fasting without prayers is similar to going on a hunger strike. For fasting to be effective, it needs to be accompanied with prayers. Everyone who fasted in the Bible, backed it up with prayers, and this yielded positive results.
Below are some Bible verses showing us ways and situations in which fasting is needed and could be exercised:
- 2 Chronicles 7:14 If people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
- 2 Sauel 1:1 And they mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and for Jonathan his son and for the people of the Lord and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.
- 1 Corinthians 9:2 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
- Matthew 4:4 But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
- Joel 2:12 “Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”
- 1 Kings 19:8 And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.
- 1 Samuel 7: So they gathered at Mizpah and drew water and poured it out before the Lord and fasted on that day and said there, “We have sinned against the Lord.” And Samuel judged the people of Israel at Mizpah.
- 2 Samuel 12:16 David therefore sought God on behalf of the child. And David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground.
- Acts 13:2 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.”
- Daniel 10:3 I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks.
- Acts 14:2 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.
- Acts 9:9 And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
- Daniel 9:3 Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.
- Esther 4:16 Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.
- Judges 20:26 Then all the people of Israel, the whole army, went up and came to Bethel and wept. They sat there before the Lord and fasted that day until evening, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord.
- Exodus 34:28 So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights. He neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.
- Joel 1:14 Consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly. Gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land to the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord.
- Ezra 8:21 Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our goods.
- Ezra 8:23 So we fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty.
- Matthew 6:18 “That your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
- Isaiah 58:3 “‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humble ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’ Behold, on the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers.”
- Isaiah 58: “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?”
- Nehemiah 1:4 As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.
- Psalm 35:13 But I, when they were sick— I wore sackcloth; I afflicted myself with fasting; I prayed with my head bowed on my chest.
- Luke 2:37 And then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.
- Acts 13: Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.
- Luke 4:2 For forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they ended, he was hungry.
- Nehemiah 9:1 Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the people of Israel were assembled fasting and in sackcloth, and with earth on their heads.
- Ezra 10:6 Then Ezra withdrew from before the house of God and went to the chamber of Jehohanan the son of Eliashib, where he spent the night, neither eating bread nor drinking water, for he was mourning over the faithlessness of the exiles.
- Zechariah 8:19 Thus says the Lord of hosts: “The fast of the fourth month and the fast of the fifth and the fast of the seventh and the fast of the tenth shall be to the house of Judah seasons of joy and gladness and cheerful feasts. Therefore love truth and peace.
- I come to you Lord, in the place of fasting and prayer, I worship you, for your goodness, and your greatness, I adore and praise your holy name, You are worthy to be praised through all ages. Blessed be your holy name. Amen.
- Lord, I return to you this day, Lord, and acknowledge my sins, I ask for mercy, for the sins, which I have committed against thee, look upon with mercy this day Lord, and purify me of all my sins. According to your Word, listen down from heaven, forgive my sin and heal my land.
- Lord, as I wait on you this day, in the place of fasting and prayer, I pray and ask for your divine direction in every decision I need to make in life, guide my feet always in the right path, all to the glory of your name.
- I pray, Dear Lord, that before you here, in the place of my fast and prayer, that you turn your ear to me and listen to all my entreaties.
- I wait on you to hear your word this day, speak to me Lord, that I may know the desires of your heart and your will for me. Amen.
- Lord, today, I pray for your healing touch, upon my life, and that of my family and friends. Heal us of every infirmity and disease this day and make us whole. Amen.
- May this sacrifice and prayer of mine this day, build and strengthen my faith in you Lord, draw me to a closer relationship with you, and help me to submit to your every will and command. Amen.
- Lord, I pray for your guidance and protection upon my life, my family and my friends, I pray that you keep us safe, keep us from the hands of our enemies, and preserve us even as we come and go. Amen.
- May every spiritual exercise of fasting and prayer I undergo, help me to discipline myself and tame the desires of my flesh, that I may not fall to temptations. Amen.
- As I wait on you dear Lord, in the place of fasting and prayer, may I receive exceptional favors, blessings and breakthroughs in every aspect of my life and may I receive the solutions to all my difficulties. In Jesus name. Amen.