A Guide to Prayer and Fasting

A fast is a day to afflict the soul; if it does not express true sorrow for sin, and does not promote the putting away of sin, it is not a fast.

The Jews call the true fast "the fasting of the heart.”

• Meditate on Scripture for fasting:

Isaiah 58:6 “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy        burdens, and to let the oppressed ones go free, and that you break every yoke?”

 

Matthew 6:16-18 “And when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, of a sad face. For they disfigure their    faces so that they may appear to men to fast. Truly I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you  fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to fast, but to your Father in  secret. And your Father who sees in secret shall reward you openly.”

 

  • Biblical Fasting - Is fasting necessary for today’s Christian church?
    Biblical fasting is a spiritual discipline which was encouraged by Jesus, Himself, while He was on earth. When questioned as to why the Pharisees and the disciples of John the Baptist fasted while Jesus disciples did not, Jesus answered, "How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast” (Matthew 9:15).

  • We all need earnestly to pray for God's assistance in examining ourselves.  There are two major objectives in Isaiah 58

  • Hypocrisy reproved. (called out and corrected)

  • A counterfeit fast and a true fast, with promises to real godliness

 

As a Christian, what is required of me as I fast and seek to be heard of god to move in my life, or in lives of those I am praying and fasting on their behalf? 

 

Many who seem humble in God's house, are hard at home, and harass their families. But no man's faith justifies, which does not work by love. Yet persons, families, neighborhoods, churches, or nations, show repentance and sorrow for sin, by keeping a fast sincerely, and, from right motives, repenting, and doing good works. The heavy yoke of sin and oppression must be removed.  Those who do justly and love mercy, shall have the comfort, even in this world. Good works will bring the blessing of God, provided they are done from love to God and man, and wrought in the soul by the Holy Spirit.

 

 

  • Understanding Scripture for healing when you FAST

 

Mark 16: 15-18 “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

James 5: 13-16 “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”

I Cor. 11: 28-30 "But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgement to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep."

When we fast and pray for health and healing, we must remember that God is a God who heals. His name is Jehovah Rapha, which mean, “I am the LORD who heals you” (Ex. 15:26).

 

  • Various Fasts

 

There are several types of fasts. The one you choose is between you and God. He will honor your best sacrifice.

Types of fasting can include:

Full Fast – A fast abstaining from solid food but allowing for liquids (fruit or vegetable juice and/or broth). Some call this a “normal fast.” (You establish the number of days.) Drink water, and plenty of it (a good goal is a gallon a day).

Partial Fast – A limited fast consisting of abstaining from certain foods for a prolonged period of time or abstaining from all foods for a portion of the day (e.g., abstaining from eating before 3:00 P.M.). The Partial Fast is a good stepping stone to a Full Fast for those who have never fasted before. There are many types of partial fasts. A few are listed below.

 

  • Daniel Fast. This is the most frequently used example of a partial fast. Eat no meat, no sweets and no bread. Eat fruits and vegetables and drink water. 

  • Other types of partial fasts could include:

  • Giving up one food item, such as caffeine or sweets.

  • Giving up one meal & replacing that time with prayer. Vigilance is needed to ensure that the value of omitting the one meal is not offset by increasing the intake at others!

  • Fast for a specific number of days – one day, three days, you decide.

  • Fast from 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., or from sun-up to sundown. When doing this type of fast, consider your work and sleep schedule. The hours that you sleep should not be considered part of your fasting period.

  • Along with fasting food, you might go on a “TV fast,” going without television at specific times. You might also fast other forms of technology as well. When you do this, use that time in prayer and the Word.

  • If you have a health condition which prohibits you from a Full or Daniel fast, there are other options such as choosing something from your daily routine. Such as:

  • Specific foods, television, other technology.  

  • Give up something else that might have control in your life or be preventing you from experiencing spiritual growth. Replace that time with prayer and study of God’s word.