Prayer and Fasting
“In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.”
Prayer and Fasting is a necessary part of the spiritual growth of all believers. Jesus said, “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:21). Throughout Scripture prayer and fasting have been linked to tremendous spiritual breakthroughs and revivals. The principles of prayer and fasting are spiritual principles that were not only relevant to the early church, but relevant even to us today as we seek healing, revival, deliverance and many other spiritual breakthroughs in our lives, our church, our communities and the world.
Prayer and fasting is not about what we give in sacrifice to God, but rather about the practice of humbling ourselves before Him to gain spiritual understanding and victory over issues in life requiring spiritual interventions. II Chronicles 7:14 says it like this, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Prayer and fasting is the key to revival and healing, declares war on spiritual darkness, empowers God’s people with insight and victory. The depth of revival often times depends upon how believers respond to the call to pray and fast.
Prayer and Fasting requires an extended time of prayer and Bible study throughout the duration of the time for fasting and prayer. If we do not set time aside for prayer and Bible study during our fast all we have done is gone on a good diet. The two must coincide with one another to be effective.
Isaiah 58 gives us clear direction regarding our actions during times of prayer and fasting and comes with a promise. When we mix the following actions and attitudes during our time of prayer and fasting Isaiah teaches the Lord does great things on behalf of His people.
Attitudes and Actions During a Time of Prayer and Fasting
- Loose the chains of injustice
- Untie the cords of oppression
- Set the oppressed free
- Share your food with the hungry
- Provide the poor wanderer with shelter
- When you see the naked, clothe them
- Do away with faultfinding and malicious talk
- Not forsake the assembly of believers
The Promise of God After a Time of Prayer and Fasting:
- Your light will break forth
- Healing will quickly appear
- Righteousness will go before you
- Glory of the Lord will be your rear guard
- You will call, and the Lord will answer
- You will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I
- You will be strengthened
- Restoration and rebuilding
- You will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings
- Joy restored
- Victory over the enemy
Types of Prayer and Fasting
Full Fast– liquids only
Daniel Fast– special diet for 21 days
3-Day Fast– can be a Full or Daniel Fast
Partial Fast– can be a Full or Daniel Fast and set aside for a certain time-frame each day
Scripture References for Fasting:
Matthew 6:16-18, Matthew 9:14-15, Luke 18:9-14
Relation to Prayer and Reading of the Word:
1 Samuel 1:6-8, 17-18, Nehemiah 1:4, Daniel 9:3, 20, Joel 2:12, Luke 2:37, Acts 10:30, Acts 13:2
1 Samuel 7:5-6, Ezra 8:21-23, Nehemiah 9:1-3, Joel 2:15-16, Jonah 3:5-10, Acts 27:33-37
Remember that it is the attitude of a heart sincerely seeking Him to which God responds with a blessing (Isaiah 58, Jeremiah 14:12, 1 Corinthians 8:8). May God greatly bless you as you fast!
Preparation for and during Prayer and Fasting
- Surrender your life fully to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Master; refuse to obey your worldly nature (Romans 12:1-2).
- Ask God to reveal any sins that need to be dealt with in your life, confess then to God and seek forgiveness (I John 1:9)
- Seek forgiveness from anyone you may have offended or hurt (Mark 11:25; Luke 11:4; 17:3,4)
- Ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit according to the commands found in Ephesians 5:18 and 1 John 5:14-15.
- 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).
- Have a heart of expectancy (Hebrews 11:6).
- Do not underestimate the attacks of the enemy because all those who pray and fast will undergo times of spiritual oppression and times of attacks possibly financially, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. But remember these attacks are only confirmation victory is ahead but you have also become a threat to the enemy. Do not allow it to discourage you but to encourage your faith to continue until breakthrough is seen (Galatians 5:16-17; Ephesians 6:10-18).
Daniel Fast Guidelines
The Daniel fast is a very healthy way to eat and is full of healthy foods. During the Daniel fast no sugars, sweeteners, caffeine or artificial chemicals are consumed. People experience physical detox during the first few days of the fast with physical symptoms. These are normal since the body is detoxing itself from toxin buildup. These physical symptoms can be reduced by weaning ourselves from these foods before the fast and drinking at least ½ gallon of water each day before and during fast. Anytime there is concern about any of the symptoms being experienced contact your physician. But please note, this type of fast is healthy for the body and only those who are on special diets or taking certain medications should have any concern.
Foods to Include
All fruits, All vegetables, All whole grains, All nuts and seeds, All legumes, All quality oils,
Other: tofu, soy products, vinegar, seasonings, salt, herbs and spices
Foods to Avoid:
- All meat and animal products: beef, lamb, pork, and fish
- All dairy products: milk, cheese, cream, butter and eggs
- All sweeteners: sugar, raw sugar, honey, syrups, molasses and cane juice
- All leavened bread: anything containing yeast or baked goods
- All refined and processed food products: artificial flavorings, food additives, chemicals, white rice, white flour, and any food containing artificial preservatives
- All deep fried foods: potato chips, French fries, corn chips
- All solid fats: shortening, margarine, lard, and foods high in fat
- Beverages: coffee, tea, herbal tea, carbonated beverages, energy drinks, and alcohol
Regardless of the type of prayer and fasting someone may chose, prayer and fasting have lasting and eternal results. Prayer and Fasting is one of the most disciplined practices any believer can practice in their spiritual journey with Jesus Christ. We encourage everyone to practice a lifestyle of prayer and fasting throughout their spiritual journeys.