The Power and Benefits of Fasting
Fasting has changed my life spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally and financially. Fasting is by far the most beneficial spiritual discipline a Christian can learn if it is coupled with prayer and the study of God’s word.
I have watched God use fasting in my life to give to me the wisdom, knowledge, understanding and favor with man, to build an international company, launch a national prayer ministry, prison ministry, and become an author and speaker.
Fasting has enabled me to become more knowledgeable of my “secret place”. Fasting has taught and clarified to me what gifts God has given me for His glory and the strengthening of His bride, the church.
Fasting has enabled me to “shut down” the little foxes that are constantly trying to distract me.
Fasting has helped me to believe and hold onto the dreams God has placed within me.
Fasting has helped me discern, “is this God?”
Fasting has helped me to renew my friendship with my Lord and Savior and best friend, Jesus Christ.
For the entirety of this blog, let’s agree that when we think of fasting, we are referring to a “scriptural fast for the intent of getting more intimate with our Heavenly Father”. Let’s agree, first and foremost, that we are talking about “immersing ourselves through studying the word, spending much time in prayer, and of course, “shutting down the beast inside of us that craves food”. Fasting without this is just a diet on steroids.
Obviously, most of us fast for specific purposes; a loved one in a critical place, a financial breakthrough, important decisions, going deeper with God, marriage challenges, etc.
Fasting by itself can be a great way of cleansing your body, losing weight, renewing your complexion, clarifying your thoughts, and increasing your metabolism. Fasting has several well known medical benefits that will work for “almost” everyone. I deliberately say “almost” everyone. Fasting could hurt you and cause serious challenges if done incorrectly, especially if you have any physical illnesses such as diabetes. If you have any physical challenges, NEVER start a fast unless you first speak with your doctor and get their approval.
Fasting helps me see just how big my God really is and how small my challenges are in comparison to Him.
Fasting helps me measure the true size of the challenge in front of me.
Fasting helps me to re-calibrate my faith by emptying my mind of conventional wisdom.
Fasting helps me remember that it’s not the size of my faith, but the size of my God.
Fasting reminds me not to measure my faith by the size of my problem.
There is no record of Jesus healing anyone until He returned from His forty day fast. If Jesus started His ministry by fasting, why do we think we can operate our lives as Christians without this conscious, deliberate, intentional, valuable spiritual discipline to become what the Lord has intended for each of us?
T- Timing, God’s timing
N-Not Giving In
He’s Only God.
Isaiah 40:28-31 “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, The Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall.
But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength:
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.”
Let’s look at those two questions:
"Have you not known? Have you not heard?"
In my prayer time one day, The Holy Spirit led me to read this verse in The King James version: Proverbs 8:12 “I wisdom find out knowledge of witty inventions.”
I had read the story of George Washington Carver when he asked God to show him the secrets of the universe and God replied to him: "Little man, you could not handle the secrets of the universe, but I will show you the secrets of the peanut." And from that, God did show him just how many foods can come from the peanut! (It’s a must read for you.)
Therefore in my prayer time, I started asking God to help me be a better manager of what He had already given me. I knew I could do better. I knew there was something I was missing. I just knew in my heart that God had something more for me to do with this business for His glory. And I knew He wanted to speak a word to me! And He did.
I also know that the only reason counterfeits goods exist is because people do not want to pay the price for the real thing.
What came from this time of fasting and prayer was an idea that became an international software company. Why Not! He’s only God!
Proverbs 8:27 “When He established the heavens, I was there; when He drew a circle on the face of the deep.”
Isaiah 40:22 “It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.”
On another time of prayer, God gave me this vision that launched our prayer ministry. See the blog post: Tale of Two Ships.
After I saw this, God lead us to have our first Prayer Gathering in Philadelphia at the Convention Center where almost 3000 people came together to pray! From there we started having Prayer Gatherings in cities across the country and witnessed God bring pastors from all denominations together for the very first time and join hearts to seek Almighty God.This would have never happened if we didn’t obey Jesus ; “When you fast and pray go into your secret place and close the door and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly”.
But there is a price to pay.
My salvation and walk with God is a gift and full of God’s grace, period. God gave Jesus for our salvation as a gift we cannot earn, but that grace was not cheap, it cost Jesus everything. Remember He asked three times if He could not go to the cross and in the end, He paid the ultimate price for us.Prayer and fasting is going to cost us something. There is a price you must be willing to pay to go deeper with God.
When you begin a fast, every fiber of your body and mind at some point is going to turn on you. Your mind is going to say things to you like; Are you sure God wants you to fast. If He did then why is it hurting your stomach so much. Your mind is going to revolt against your spirit.That’s when you have to speak the word back to your flesh. For example; I would go to the word and read out loud a scripture like Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled” or “When you fast don’t be like the hypocrites…” Mathew 6:16. You have to learn how to keep your flesh under subjection like Paul told us in 1 Corinthians 9:27. “But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”
When I first approach a fast, my mind and body, my flesh, basically begins to “hate” me. It’s just plain hard to deny myself food. I have fasted many times at this point and the voices never change nor does their narrative. But, it is much easier now that I know what to expect.
The first couple days the struggle is so real everything in me wants to quit or “cheat a little”. “You can stop now, God knows your heart, this isn’t necessary, it’s all about grace remember, you can’t earn Gods love, this isn’t going to do anything for you, you’re just trying to lose weight, this isn’t going to accomplish anything but make you hungry, God doesn’t want you to feel this pain etc.”
But, if you speak back to your flesh God’s word and stay in the fight, God will honestly help you stay in it. The intense hunger pains will not leave until about the 7th day, but your resolve will begin to get so strong and you will begin to feel so “clean” you begin to know for sure how good this is for you. Your body has so many toxins in it, cleansing it must be good for you.
Remember, I said at the beginning- DO NOT DO A FAST UNLESS YOU ARE MEDICALLY ABLE. I AM NOT A DOCTOR AND CANNOT TELL YOU THIS IS GOOD FOR YOU.
Water is your best friend. Water is your best friend regardless of the type of fast your going to do, drink a lot of water.
A great resource for you to learn the many types of fasting and tremendous testimonies is from Dr. Bill Bright who started Campus Crusade for Christ. The title is The Transforming Power of Fasting and Prayer.
Please refer to this before, during and after you begin the type of fast that is good for you.
Please do not cheapen this fast by saying you are going to fast from TV, Movies, books etc. and not food. Unless there is a medical reason for you not to deny your flesh food, you just are not willing to pay the price, pure and simple. A true fast has got to include changing the way you eat for a specific time period. I have seen to many “counterfeit” attempts at what God truly has for you.
Remember, our salvation is a free gift. I cannot earn God’s favor no matter what I do. He unconditionally loves me if I never fast a day in my life.
Prayer and fasting “help me to serve Him”. God doesn’t need my fasting, I need my prayer and fasting.
Prayer and fasting helps to put my spirit in the right place to be able to receive from our Heavenly Father.
Isaiah asked, “Have you not known- Have you not heard?”
I wished I had more than the space allotted for this article to truly discuss this in much greater detail because much of the body of Christ just does not know and has not heard. But that’s for another day.
Prayer and fasting for the most part has become a topic that is not discussed much anymore in the church. Yet, the church began in a prayer meeting in an upper room because it was there Jesus told them to wait for “the power from on high”.
The missing verses, the real secret, the true treasure.
Everyone loves this verse, Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts I think towards you, says The Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
But this is only half the concept! If we quote this and stop here, it’s totally un-scriptural!
The truth that Satan fears the most, the secret to fulling the destiny God has for each of us, Iin order for the church to be the church and what God longs for the most for all of us…
If we get this, we could change the world. Jesus got it and He did it. And He also said, “As I am in the world so are you.”
Let’s read the second half – verse 12 “Then you will call upon Me, and go pray to Me and I will listen to you. And when you seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart”.
Verse 14 - “I will be found by you, says The Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity.”
"I will be found by you”
The greatest thing in the universe ever for all of mankind - is to be with God. Fasting and prayer empties us out so that we can truly put our minds on Him. Isaiah 26:3 “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
Prayer and fasting is the way Jesus did it. Prayer and fasting is what Jesus told us to do.
Prayer and fasting is what the early church did.
Prayer and fasting changed my life and I know it will change yours.
Two great books to read are, The Transforming Power of Fasting and Prayer by Bill Bright and Fasting by Jentzen Franklin.
My prayer for you is for you to experience God the way He longs for you to experience Him.