The purpose of Christian fasting is to strengthen your faith so you can spiritually conquer your sinful desires through a spiritual awakening. Once your sinful desires are partially under control, it will create a partial spiritual awareness. If they are fully under control -- that is, conquered -- fasting will create a full spiritual awareness and sensitivity to spiritual things. This type of control over your sinful desires can take you into a deeper relationship with God for fellowship, obedience and spiritual power.
Religious fasting forces your spirit to be dependent on God for strength not only spiritually, but also physically. Fasting increases your power beyond the power you were given at the time you were saved. Fasting opens your spirit as a channel for God's power to flow through, due to the fact that the opposition of selfishness is no longer an obstacle. Then the anointing will begin to flow through you and create more compassion within you for the needs of others through your spiritual growth.
As long as you are involved in your own selfish desires, it will make you unaware of the needs that exist around you, thus taking you away from your total reliance on God. Fasting destroys disbelief and selfishness and builds your faith in God. As a result, disbelief and selfishness will begin to diminish because of the rising of your faith. Fasting moves the hand of God and his omnipotence to create change in you, which brings you into a relationship with the Heavenly Father. As a result, you can possess the availability of his revelation knowledge, his attributes, his spiritual gifts and power of his spiritual kingdom!
These steps will show you how to fast and pray for spiritual power from God.
The excessive reliance on food, family, friends and activities takes away from your reliance on God. When you refuse food with the right motive for fasting, it will automatically separate you from the world into a spiritual place of fellowship with God, because you have honored God with a partial sacrifice of your daily routine of living. Consequently, fasting loosens your dependency on your physical strength, causing a weakened state and in which your spirit can break.
This is where your humility before God begins and your spirit becomes sensitive to the Holy Spirit, where he can begin communicating with you. Once you realize how dependent you were on natural food, your mind and body are going to seek strength from the only source you're providing it - the Holy Spirit. At this point, you become more grateful than you have ever been before; you become more appreciative of God's blessings and the Holy Spirit that gives you strength.
Before you start your fast, keep in mind that it's human nature to have a sense of pride and show off what you can do for God. This would be the wrong spirit. In 1Peter 5:5, it is stated that God hates a haughty spirit, which is a spirit of pride. The way to prevent the spirit of pride from taking over is to not announce your fast to anyone, unless it's for the purpose of getting the entire congregation to fast in unity, or your mate or another partner to fast with you. Yet don't neglect your personal fasting.
While fasting, there must be no visiting, no guests unless you're fasting together, and if so, no personal conversations among each other except prayer. To continue, no phone calls, no children, no radio, no TV, no reading material, religious or otherwise unless you are studying the Holy Bible. If so, don't neglect your prayers. Don't allow your mind to wander away from your goal. Keep your mind on your prayers and meditate in Christ.
If you must take care of some business, make it brief, so this time is reserved for God only. By all means, try to arrange your schedule where there will be no distractions while you give yourself to God in fasting and prayer.
While fasting, take authority over any discomforts such as hunger pains, dizziness, caffeine, sugar, sexual desires, cigarettes, drug addictions or alcohol withdrawals. Likewise, take prayerful authority over any physical annoyances, such as sleepiness, weakness, tiredness or mental wandering.
Keep your mind focused on your goal, which is your relationship with your Heavenly Father and you conquering any particular sin. Thank God after every prayer to show him that you believe that he is already carrying it out. When you fast into the night, go to bed with prayerful thoughts on your mind of your relationship with God and of conquering your sins. When you wake up, continue your fasting and prayer.
Before you begin fasting, be certain that you possess the right motive. This allows the power of God to flow through you to conquer your sins. The motive of your heart must be pure in seeking God's power to conquer your sins, in contrast to selfishness, which is seeking only personal gain.
Here are the two proper motives for fasting:
- To develop and strengthen your dedication and relationship with God so you may fulfill God's perfect plan for your life.
- To become a channel for the power of God to flow through so you can bring healing and deliverance to a suffering and bound humanity.
Here is an illustration of what happens in the spirit realm when one is trying to receive visions, a spiritual gift or a revelation from God. We're going to learn from Daniel's experience of fasting in the book of Daniel. Daniel was trying to receive a vision from God and the angel Michael was trying to bring Daniel a vision, so God would be able to minister to him. But Satan and his demons were trying to hold back the angels of God from delivering this vision to Daniel. This is the very thing that happens in your Christian experience when receiving a revelation, spiritual gift or vision from God. See the book of Daniel 9:3-4, Daniel 10:2-3:19, Daniel 9:21-23 and Daniel 10:11-14.
The angel was saying to Daniel that God had heard his supplication the very first day he began to fast, but when the Lord sent the angel to appear to Daniel to give him this vision, the powers of the enemy withstood the angel of God from giving him this vision. The Devil and his demons battled with the angel Michael; next, the angels of heaven joined in to help the messenger of God battle against Satan so they can bring this visitation to Daniel. Do not become discouraged if you haven't conquered your sins on the first, second, or even third day of your fast; it may take several separate fasting sessions before you conquer your sins.
The scriptures show that we may be able to receive a revelation from an angel according to the life of Jesus. After his forty-day fast an angel appeared and ministered unto him in Luke 4:1 - 13 and Mark 1: 12 -13.
If you receive a visitation from an angel don't expect to be able to touch him. In most cases, you won't be able to. Even though it happened with Jacob: he grabbed an angel and wrestled with him all night long.
The Lord may want an angel to appear to you in a vision, as with Cornelius. He saw a spiritual vision of an angel coming into him and telling him how his entire family could receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 10: 1 - 5 v 22 and v 34 - 43).
Therefore you may see visions in your times of fasting because fasting opens your spiritual eyes. Yet, if you don't see visions, it's because you might be clogged with your desires for food and other pleasures of the flesh, which causes your spiritual eyes to be blinded. You can undo this by giving yourself to God in fasting and prayer without any reservation in your heart, so you can receive a special revelation from God as Peter did in the Book of Acts. Peter was hungry when he went up on the top of his house and began to pray, while everyone else was inside and preparing dinner. As he prayed, he fell into a trance and God gave him a vision, which was a revelation of what was about to happen (Acts 10: 9-10)
Fasting and prayer opens your spiritual eyes to see visions, where you may even fall into a trance or have an angel come talk to you and give you a revelation from God.
Please consult your physician before fasting to make sure it's right for you. The purpose of fasting is to break your spirit so you can be totally reliant on the spirit of God. Yet if you normally eat three meals a day, then you should taper off on your food consumption one meal at a time. Don't try to eat a big meal beforehand, because while fasting you will become hungrier than if you would have stopped normally.
It usually takes about three days of fasting to really break your spirit and to be totally submissive to God. You should begin to feel a tremendous cleansing process about the third day.
If you cannot go all day without food because of its bondage, then on the first day, fast one meal and then break your fast and continue to eat light. The second day, fast two meals then break your fast and continue to eat light. Then begin your first full day of fasting without eating. Afterwards, break your fast with something light like soup or broth. Then fast for two full days and then break your fast and continue to eat light. Then fast the full three days.
Don't go beyond that, unless the spirit directs you into a longer fast. The Holy Spirit wouldn't do that unless you become thoroughly rooted and grounded into the Word of God. If the Holy Spirit directs you into a long fast, drink plenty of water so you will not dehydrate. This method of fasting can be used individually or by a group for short or long-term fasting. If your doctor approves of your taking medication while fasting, break your fast and eat something light like soup or broth with your medication, then return back to your fast.
While in prayer, take authority over any illnesses by praying to the Lord to deliver you from them so you may be used of God and as a result, the power of God can flow through you to others with no reservation from illnesses.
As you begin this process, God honors the fasting of one meal as a partial sacrifice of your daily routine of living, and God will bless it with a partial blessing. If you fast all day, God will bless it accordingly.
When fasting, God can give you the grace to overcome your appetite. Yet the reason the fleshly desires and hunger are there is because it's a sacrifice of your self-denial before God, which is part of the sacrifice of conquering your desires of the flesh. Let the Holy Spirit lead you into fasting and prayer until your spiritual senses become very sensitive to God's voice. In so doing, your spiritual ears will begin to hear things and your spiritual eyes will start to see things, yet continue your fast until you feel the spiritual cleansing process take place in your body.
At this point you may even see the visitation of an angel. Don't be discouraged if it doesn't come the first, second or third time of your fast. Just continue fasting for the full three days and repeat the three-day fast until you experience the spiritual cleansing process in your body, until you conquer your particular sin, or until you receive a special visitation or revelation from God.
Author and Expert Ivan Lane