Fasting is one of the most important disciplines in the Christian faith. It is indeed an open secret because Jesus Himself after being baptized at the Jordan River by John the Baptist and after the dramatic announcement from Heaven by the Holy Spirit that He pleased God, the next thing He did prior to starting His earthly ministry was to engage a 40 day and night period of fasting in the wilderness.
The enemy of our souls does everything in his power to hinder our understanding and the practice of fasting with prayer. If you are probably wondering why this should be the case you already figured it out right? satan knows that we will have spiritual power if we engage the discipline as a congruent part of our spiritual walk. If we are to be successful in the practice of faith and we call ourselves followers of Jesus we must engage the spiritual discipline of fasting in some form and measure. After Jesus returned to heaven, the early church continued fasting with prayer as a habitual practice.
While I am sure that many more benefits exist for fasting with prayer, here are the top 10 benefits from the scriptures. The references have been provided so please proceed with an open bible app or paper bible to glean from the scriptures for yourself. It can only be exciting
1. Power to overcome satan and his minions
In Matthew 4:1-11, Jesus put satan in his place when he was tempted in the wilderness for an extended period of time. In verse 11 we read “Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.” Luke writes in Luke 4:13 “Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.” If you want the devil to leave you alone for seasons since he is a pest, the best thing to do is to take up a habitual life of prayer and fasting. When he returns for another bout you will no doubt be ready.
2. Preparation for the work of God
The Lord Jesus did not begin ministry until after a 40-day fasting period. This is not to say everyone must fast for 40 days to serve God. No! The scriptures are clear with examples of many kinds of fasts. May the Spirit lead you. Tune in. Luke 4:1-13
3. Hearing clearly what the will of God is about any matter
God can speak to us at any time regardless of whether we are fasting or not. However, we must remember that we are engaged in spiritual warfare and sometimes the battle is so fierce reinforcements are needed. Daniel fasted for 21 days and found out after from a visiting angel that a demon prince had resisted him for 21 days. The angel had pertinent information for Daniel. We still read those inspiring prophetic words today.
4. Petitioning Heaven for God’s will to come to pass
We are told in Luke 2:36, that a woman called Anna who lived in the temple for years “served God with fastings night and day.” This woman with a prophetic anointing came by when baby Jesus was being dedicated in the Temple and the record has it that “coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.”
5. A Sacrifice to God that delights Him
Paul writes in Romans 12:1 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” I expand on this concept in an article titled “Fasting as a living sacrifice”
When Paul the Apostle was on a ship heading to Rome a tempestuous wind called Euroclydon eventually led to a shipwreck on the Island of Malta. The story of their deliverance from the very difficult situation and several days of darkness and being lost at sea was Divine providence. In the referenced verses Paul spent time fasting with prayer petitioning the Lord of Heaven for the lives on the ship and he heard from Heaven that no lives will be lost. He said “there stood by me this night an Angel of the God to Whom I belong and Whom I serve”
7. For enduring covenants with God
Spiritual fasting is a sacrifice in itself and God says that His saints enter into covenant with Him when they make a sacrifice. God decides the details and terms of the covenant. This spiritual principle applies to any type of sacrifice God asks of us. Read Psalm 50:23. I write a bit more about this in an article titled “Fasting as a living sacrifice”
8. Fasting humbles and changes you
One of the most effective ways to humble yourself is through fasting. There is something about having food that causes us as humans to get carried away. It is interesting that the problem in the garden began with the food as we read from Genesis 3. intentional abstinence from the pleasure of one or more meals has a miraculous way it humbles us and causes a repentant posture. If your abstinence is not intentional you will get angry quickly at the slightest provocation. In Psalm 35:13 David said, “I humbled my soul with fasting…”
9. The deliverance of a nation
When Mordecai tried to destroy the Jews in the Assyrian Kingdom Esther fasted for 3 days along with her maidens. God intervened mightily saving them and destroying their enemies. Read the book of Esther.
10. Healthy body
It has been found by medical researchers that fasting even if it did not include prayer (non-spiritual fast) has several health benefits. here is a link to a non-Christian article on the subject. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/fasting-benefits#TOC_TITLE_HDR_2
Has the Lord been speaking to you about fasting? Are you afraid or just lazy? Maybe knowing what you stand to benefit yourself and for God’s Kingdom as a whole will spur you on. Take intentional baby steps and He will meet you where you are. He is indeed faithful.
More power to you today and always in Jesus’ name.