What is Fasting? How Should I Fast for Spiritual Breakthroughs?

Some believers don’t fast. Not because they don’t want to, but because they have not fully digested the sense and significance of fasting.

Fasting – like prayer – is a spiritual discipline that must never go out of style. In fact, with all that is happening around the world, prayer and fasting are needed now more than ever!

So put those utensils down and delve on what the Bible has to say about fasting.

What is fasting?

Fasting is voluntarily giving up food, and other things you regularly enjoy, for a period of time to focus on God. Bible Study Tools says that the Hebrew verb sum describes fasting as a religious exercise and conveys the explicit meaning “to abstain from food.”

You can find that fasting is important because first and foremost, Jesus Himself did it.

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.” (Matthew 4:1-2 ESV)

Dwelling in a human body, Jesus knew that He would need spiritual strength to fulfill His purpose so He fasted. As a result, He returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. (Luke 4:14 ESV)

Why fast?

Following Jesus’ example, fasting makes you spiritually strong and equips you to do God’s purpose for your life. It is more than just skipping your meals. Ezra 8:21 ESV shows that fasting is an act of humility before God and devoting yourself to Him.

“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.”

Apart from the health benefits of fasting, the act helps you become sensitive to the Holy Spirit. As you deny yourself of your natural cravings and distractions – and commit yourself to praying and fasting – you become more sensitive to His voice.

“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.” (Acts 13:2)

Fasting can also be an expression of seeking God’s forgiveness, favor, and revival. As Joshua 3:5 ESV declares, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”

How to fast?

Although Jesus did not directly command his followers to fast, He reckoned that they would.

It is clear in Matthew 6:16 ESV – where Jesus explained how a believer should fast, “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.”

As you fast…

Plan what type of fast you would commit to and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you. Ultimately, know that prayer is an essential part of fasting. Without seeking and focusing on God during your fast, it wouldn’t be any different from just going hungry.

Fasting is more than just the empty stomach; it is acknowledging that you need God’s help and guidance. It is proclaiming that even when you are empty – God can fill you with His grace and mercy.

Got questions about prayer and fasting? Don’t hesitate to call the CBN Asia Prayer Center at 8737-0700 or send in your questions and prayer requests to our Facebook page.

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