“Faith needs a life of prayer in which to pray and keep strong. Prayer needs fasting for its full and perfect development. It is only in a life of moderation and temperance and self-denial that there will be the heat or the strength to pray much. We are creatures of the senses: fasting helps to express, to depend and to confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, to sacrifice ourselves, to attain what we seek for the Kingdom of God.”
There is definitely power in prayer. But there is an added blessing in seeking God when we combine prayer with fasting. God’s people in many nations are involved in prayer and fasting on a regular basis. People like to fast for various lengths of time and in all sorts of different ways. Individuals fast meals, sweets, TV, and anything else that is a personal form of self-denial and sacrifice for God’s Kingdom purposes. Forty-day fasts are even becoming more popular. God leads each one differently.
But there is one important key that adds to its blessing. When fasting it is good to slow down and spend more time in the prayer room, more time on our faces before God, and more time in silence and stillness. Prayer rooms are excellent places to gain the most out of seasons of fasting. An atmosphere of prayer will keep you still before the Lord and away from the distractions of the world. You may be thinking:
“I’m not so sure—Is there really any benefits to fasting? If I fast from food when I’m very hungry, I want to know that it really does accomplish something.”
Fasting is actually a form of voluntary weakness. When we fast we are submitting our strength into God’s hands. Fasting is choosing voluntary weakness (2 Corinthians 11:23-28). It may appear foolish in man’s eyes, but there is lasting strength and empowerment from God through fasting. Let me assure you, fasting has powerful, long-term results in your life and in the life of others. It’s an empowering grace with God’s divine ability and perfect sufficiency (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). It is a way of getting hold of God’s infinite resources.
When we fast, our hearts are enlarged to receive more from God at a deeper level. We become weak but God becomes strong, and we experience more of His power. We can fast in many ways—energy, money, words, giving, serving, praying, time, and so on. We submit our strength into God’s hands and trust him to answer in His way, in His time, and with His power.
When we look at the life of Jesus, we see that He overcame the temptation of the devil in the wilderness while fasting and praying
He overcame the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. It was an opportunity to manifest the strength of His inner man. And after that forty-day fast, he came forth in the power of the Holy Spirit for ministry. He was able to perform great signs and wonders from that point on (Luke 4:14). You can imagine the intensity of the battle in that wilderness position, but Jesus knew that the power of fasting and prayer was necessary to overcome the devil. He embraced this period of voluntary weakness and everything that went with it—loneliness, lack of strength and activity, lack of convenience, and so much more. Jesus embraced a life of weakness while on earth (Isaiah 49:3-4).
When we fast and pray we are developing a deep history with God just as Jesus did. We are learning to fix our gaze on Jesus and are discovering how to be victorious in spiritual warfare. We are learning to turn these wilderness experiences into an oasis with God where we grow strong in the Spirit. There are many benefits and long-term results from practicing this great spiritual discipline. Have you ever wondered which way to go when you needed spiritual discernment? Have you ever found it hard to hear God’s voice?
Fasting will sharpen your ability to discern good from evil and will help you to see God’s perspective (Hebrews 5:14). It will give you an increased ability to hear God’s voice clearly and receive divine revelation (Acts 13:2). It will increase your perception of the unseen world because fasting removes distractions. We see with spiritual eyes and are able to focus more on the eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18).
I know in my life that there are times when the future looks difficult, and I need more faith and more spiritual power. Fasting increases faith and helps us to militantly hold on to that which looks absolutely impossible (Hebrews 11:1). I have experienced greater spiritual power after times of fasting.
By Debbie Przybylski
Intercessors Arise International