Prayer and Fasting has so many benefits for "the believer" (one who exercises faith/trust/reliance in GOD'S WAY OF DOING THINGS) and will improve their life (and can improve others lives when understood and correctly applied) inside out. Nevertheless Fasting should always be accompanied with Prayer, otherwise you are just starving yourself and not making any thing happen in your situation or others life. When applied correctly, (using this illustration) continuous prayer (another name for it is praying without ceasing) is like a series of multiple cherry bombs going off and it will move things out of the way in the spirit realm. Continuous prayer and fasting is like a series of dynamite going off and it will move greater things out of the way in the spirit realm. But to go even deeper, Continuous Prayer, Periodic Fasting and Continuously Pleading the Blood of Jesus over your life and situations, Hearing and Responding to God's every word each day, Praising and Worshiping HIM AND taking Communion is an atom bomb in the spirit realm and will move everything that is NOT OF GOD or not from GOD out of the way.
The Bible refers to prayer and fasting as a necessity throughout a Christian life.
We read in Matthew 6:16 (New Living Translation) "And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get."
We notice that it clearly says "And when you fast" and not "And if you fast."
Other Fasting mentioned in the Bible: Deuteronomy 9:18, Matthew 4:2, Matthew 9:15, Luke 2:37 and there are many, many others.
For further study on fasting in the bible search on the internet "When you fast in the bible" Or I encourage you to look up Prayer and Fasting at your local CLC bookstore or Amazon. There is an Amazon link provided below.
But why does God tell us to fast?
In Ephesians 6:12, we were clearly told that: "we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
The Amplified Bible says in Ephesians 6:12 :For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.
Despotism: rule by or as if by a despot; absolute power or authority, a government by an absolute ruler unchecked by effective constitutional limits to his power.
Despot: an absolute or tyrannical ruler; autocrat or tyrant.
2 Corinthians 10:3-6 Amplified: For though we walk [live] in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare to the flesh and using mere human weapons. For the weapons of our warfare are not PHYSICAL (weapons of flesh and blood) but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the (true) knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive in to the obedience of Christ, The Messiah, The Anointed One. Being in readiness to punish every [insurbordinate for his] disobedience when your own submission and obedience [as a church] are fully secured and complete.
One of those weapons is when you fast combined with prayer.
HERE IS A VERY QUICK RECAP OF WHO WE ARE
We were created in the image and likeness of God who is the creator of all life.God created angels for many reasons and one of those reasons were to help us. God created us to be in the God class. Angels are not. Angels are very powerful and carry out God's Perfect Will (which is HIS word) and listen to us when we speak God's word over our lives and respond to His word. There was an Arch Angel name Lucifer and he was one of the most powerful Arch Angel's and one of the most Attractive Angels in the Angelic class. He was described as being very beautiful, anointed and wise in the Bible. He even was so clever into fooling one third of God's Angels into following him. Lucifer's main job was to be in charge of music in Heaven. So he became puffed up, too into himself, he unwisely saw himself as greater than everyone, even his maker. He sought after his own stardom, desiring to be like the Most High, which was impossible because he was not made in the image and likeness of God, he was clearly not made in the God class but the Angelic class only. Rebellion grew in him, lust for more power grew within to the point he couldn't contain it (control himself) anymore so he planned an attack thinking he could take down his maker and since God is Perfect, knows everything about everything (even before and while Lucifer's thoughts betrayed him) God stopped him in his tracks and there was a brief up roar in the heavens. Nevertheless God is Almighty, All knowing, Perfect, etc., etc., etc. and banished him, kicked him out, demoted him (loss his rank and some power) from heaven (now known as the devil, the deceiver, the accuser, the adversary, the father of lies, the fallen Angel, the serpent, the thief, named Satan). Now God has 2/3 of HIS Angels doing HIS will . To make a long story short God's Angels out number the Devil's army of demons 2 to 1 and God's Angels are far superior to demons. Later on down the line, Satan, the deceiver, deceives Eve and Adam, stealing, corrupting taking everything man once owned and had dominion over it, Jesus the son of God who lived a Perfect life defeated Satan in every possible way and in the flesh and in the spirit to give back dominion to those who were created in the God class, (YOU AND I who are born again).
Also when we read the story of Jesus How he cast out a spirit (wicked spirit) in Mark: 9:29: And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing but by prayer and fasting.
OK, so why do we fast? Fasting isn't just for cleansing, detoxing the body and such (also very beneficial) but it also has an equivalent spiritual cleansing - spiritually healing component also! The same as our natural, body has need to be cleansed to once more be made as healthy as possible … so does our spirit. We are spirit beings, we have a soul and we live in a body. When we fast, we are saying to ourselves and others "God is more important than everything else!" What God has to tell me is more important than anything else someone has to tell me and I set aside this time for me and God. When you fast you will notice that time SEEMS to go's by very slowly. That's a good thing so that you can consume God's word and or hear from HIM directly and you can hear and see (spiritually) more clearly. You would be surprise how much noise there is when you fast. When you are full of food you don't notice it.
Again when you are full of God's word and fasting you hear Him much more clearly you will see these better (in the spirit about yourself and other things). When you fast and pray you have to keep in mind that there is a reason why you are doing this and not just going through the ritual of fasting and praying. You are going somewhere you have never gone before and receiving something you never received before. Let's get this straight. ONE WORD FROM GOD CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE. One word from God can and will change your life when you believe in Him and that you are going to get your prayers answered through prayer and fasting and get results. Just think if you're one word from receiving your breakthrough, one word from knowing what you didn't do, one word from God to know your next course of action? And all this time all you needed to do was to hear from GOD clearly and so you fasted and prayed and heard God clearly this time? GLORY TO GOD......YOU'RE ON YOUR WAY!
ONE WORD OF GOD CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE!
IT'S TRUE! Nevertheless God is always speaking to us and we can always clearly hear HIM when we are in a committed relationship with HIM however at times we need to fast to completely hear him, to empower us and remove burdens and destroy yokes which the devil tries his best to distort our receiving or hearing.
Fasting helps us to be expectant because we are believing before, during and after the fast that we believe that we receive an answer by faith to our prayers. We are saying "I'm fasting and praying and I long to receive God's answer to this prayer that is not being answered by prayer alone."
Isiah 58 is a very good read on fasting.
Fasting is basically enabling you to receive power, when you can hear from God (who is ALL POWERFUL) you are receiving power. It maybe something in your way (spiritually), holding you back (a stronghold) and when you fast you an becoming empowered, it enhances your strength, (spiritual strength) to loose the bands of wickedness, positioning yourself to readily hear from God, making you able to receive empowerment, the anointing of God. Things in the spirit will flow more easier to you and for you and things that were in your way will get out of the way. Fasting is a way to subdue the body to raise up the spirit, it enables your spirit to control your body. Again we are not our bodies, we are in fact Spirit Beings, having a soul in living in a temporal body because our spirit is eternal. During a fast you move from ordinary to extraordinary. You will see things about yourself and other things you couldn't see before. It's a way of refilling the lamp in your life. Sustaining the anointing in your life or empowering, enabling yourself or you and others to have victory in a situation.
Prayer and Fasting Is Just That Prayer and Fasting
Now today we are being lied about who we are, programmed, through so many ways that at times we have a hard time to hear God. Fasting empowers us to hear from God, builds us up, refuels us for the coming days,weeks and months ahead. You can fast many ways. However when you fast and pray, I must say that you should ask God that you will have a "supernatural grace" over you when you fast. Pray when you fast, read the word of God as you are led and be quick to listen and respond to what God will tell you.
If you never fasted before make sure your doctor says it's OK for you to fast. Most know of the 24 hour fast, 3 day fast, 21 day fast and 40 day fast. (Note there are some forms of light fasting for example, fasting from activities that can rob you of time from God at times, like the Phone, TV, etc., for a time period and to use that time to get closer to your maker). If we talk on the phone 50-70 hours a week and only pray to God 1 hour a week, for the Christian, there is something wrong with that picture. If we watch 30-50 hours of TV a week and only read the bible one hour a week, again for the Christian, there is something wrong with that picture. Maybe once in a while we need to flip the script more often.
Fasting helps set the priorities in our lives.
Fasting is disciplining the body, mind, and spirit. (Prov. 25:28)
1. It honors God - (Mt 6:16-18, Luke 2:37, Acts 13:2, Mt 5:6) 2. It Humbles you; dethroning selfishness; pride - (2 Chron. 7:14-15) 3. Repentance - personal failures - (Psalm 51: Jer. 29:11-14, James 4:8-10) 4. Discernment - obtaining healing - (I Cor. 11:30, James 5:13-18, Isaiah 59:1-2) 4. Deliverance from sinful bondage - (Mt 17:21, Is 58:6-9: loose bands of wickedness) 5. Destroying strongholds of doubt and unbelief whereby increasing one's faith for more effective ministry - (Mark 9:29 KJV) 6. Increased confidence and effectiveness in our prayer-life - (2 Cor. 10:4) 7. Revelation - God’s vision and will - (Dan 9:3, 20-21, Dan 10:2-10, 12-13) 8. Revival - personal and corporate - (Acts 1:4, 14 / 2:16-21, Joel 2:12-18)
9. And last for the very serious believer and even though they may have nothing wrong in their life they may just what to go the extra mile just because and as a believer just wants more of God in their life or Fast on behalf of another person for their break through, deliverance, etc.
Often when we devote that time for GOD it doesn't mean that we are doing all the talking to GOD, it means that we are investing time into knowing HIM more. Just like you would when you meet someone you are fond of, you will make time for them. You'd go the extra mile to get to know that person, even if it was a little out of your way. If you care you would that is.
Here's one truth you can hold on to, GOD THINKS ABOUT YOU ALL DAY EVERY DAY, ALL NIGHT EVERY NIGHT AND ALWAYS WILL MAKE TIME FOR YOU. God cares about you! More than you can fathom!
Now going back to fasting from food, when you first start out you may need to start with fasting from 2 meals and devoting that time to God and then the one day fast, (which is called the normal fast) drinking water (not cold water which will stimulate hunger), but room temp. water.
There also the Partial Fast which means you only eat or juice vegetables and drink water. Examples of this fast, seen in the bible are with regards to Daniel, Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego who ate only vegetables and drank only water (Daniel 1:15) and later on when Daniel alone practiced a limited diet for three weeks (Daniel 10:3). Some people argue that this isn’t really a fast at all, but as Daniel said in Daniel 10:3 does use the word “mourned” which is a Biblical occasion for fasting, and a common synonym for fasting, which moved God and repositioned Daniel and God moved mightily through his life.
For the more seasoned and rehearsed believer, fasting 1-3 days is very good. For those that are hungry for God's intervention and are well seasoned in their faith and have their doctor permission, fasting 3-21 days is not easy be with a doctor's approval is extremely powerful for the believer. (NOTE: WHILE FASTING, YOU THE BELIEVER ARE BELIEVING THAT YOUR CONCERNS, YOUR PRAYERS ARE GOING TO BE HEARD AND ANSWERED, PERIOD. NOT STARVING YOURSELF BUT YOU ARE GETTING SERIOUS ABOUT SOMETHING AND YOU NEED SOME SUPER ON YOUR NATURAL,- SUPERNATURAL /// SOME EXTRA ON YOUR ORDINARY - EXTRAORDINARY - because with prayer alone things are not happening for you or some else. Fasting helps us to pray persistently and seriously.
Fasting helps us to be less selfish and helps us to intercede for others. Yes you can intercede for others.
In the Bible Esther fasted on behalf of her people:
Darius fasted in concern for Daniel:
also you can pray and fast for personal intervention as in
Daniel, who fasted regarding a mysterious vision from God:
and so on.
Think of it like this you're not changing God's mind on the matter, HIS will for you is that you prosper but when you add fasting along with your prayers, you are giving HIM 100% attention, so HE is more likely to drop some jewels (knowledge, insight, wisdom) your way for doing so. Now, God will at times answer your prayer without fasting however, when you have been asking for sometime and nothing has happened you should fast so you can hear from God and maybe you are just missing a vital part of the puzzle, or maybe you have missed the whole thing and are building the wrong puzzle (self deception), confused with misdirection, befuddled or just (mildly) ignorant and one doesn't know left from right about a particular situation.
Trust me I can say I've been there dozens and dozens of times and when we finally realize without God plans, we'll always (I mean 100% of the time) miss the mark or God's Perfect Will and God's Perfect Will is for us to prosper. To be completely honest, I had to just decrease so God could increase me no matter how right I foolishly thought I was. Just think, Perfection (GOD) knows everything, and if you have a question, at first you ask (prayer).........no answer yet, then you seek, search to find out what could be deafening your spiritual ears from God, (un-forgiveness, bad habits, etc.).........no answer yet, then you must knock on the door, with prayer and fasting. It's an important part of a Christian's lifestyle. It's not for doubters who don't believe in much (to be blunt) but it is for believers who want change and have an expectant end and desire to see it happen in the name of Jesus.
Kenneth Copeland Ministries - Jesus is Lord! Kenneth Copeland Ministries specializes in teaching principles of bible faith - prayer, healing, salvation and other biblical topics via Believers Voice of Victory, bible study, devotions and Real Help - Jesus is Lord!