This article was written by Suzanne Niles and published by Jesus Calling
You have the choice to change your life with a simple decision. If faithfully done, choosing to fast and pray will alter your existence, rock your spiritual world, and bring your life on this earth into God’s perspective.
I was drawn to fasting when I read in Matthew 6:16 that Jesus didn’t say “if” you fast, but “when” you fast. I knew I needed to follow what I believed was a call to fasting, but where to start?
Most think a fast only pertains to food, yet in scripture we read that Daniel fasted from specific things: “I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over” (Daniel 10:3 NIV).
Everyone should personally seek the Lord about the type and length of fast they will engage in, especially if there is a health concern. Maybe instead of food, you need to give up an activity you regularly choose so you can spend more time at the feet of Jesus. However you’re called to this practice, here are five ways fasting and prayer can alter our faith walk:
1. Fasting and prayer can help us hear from God
Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.
– Jeremiah 33:3 NIV
We’ve have been asked to call to Him in prayer and if we listen, He’ll share tremendously unmatchable truths with us. How could we ever resist this invitation?
Fasting can help us develop discernment, recognize the voice of God, and make us privy to thoughts from the heart and mind of our heavenly Father.
2. Fasting and prayer can open our eyes to better choices
My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from me, nor is their sin concealed from my eyes.
– Jeremiah 16:17 NIV
Nothing is hidden from God’s sight. Many times, the harder sins for us to acknowledge are the hidden ones, especially when they involve our concealed motives and selfish attitudes. During a fast, we can quiet our spirits long enough to see what we were really thinking at the time we hurt someone else or made a poor decision. And we are shocked . . . momentarily.
Then, like a light turned on in a pitch-black room, we see it. We did mean harm. We were manipulative. Even though our recognition makes us want to hide our face, our loving Savior lifts our chin to gaze into His forgiving eyes. As we repent, we no longer want to hide, but praise the very one who confronted our wrong and endeavor to make better choices in the future.
3. Fasting and prayer can strengthen intimacy with God
The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you but will rejoice over you with singing.
– Zephaniah 3:17 NIV
As you remain consistent in prayer and fasting, over time you will crave more quiet time alone with your Heavenly Father. Psalm 42:1 says, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God” (NIV).
The more you know of God, the more you want. Fasting and prayer are a great catalyst to create a consistent, insatiable hunger for God’s presence
4. Fasting and prayer can teach us to pray with right motives
When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
– James 4:3 NIV
The more you focus on your prayer time, pressing in with heightened sensitivity through the sacrifice of fasting, your will aligns with God’s. No longer are you praying with wrong motives, but instead petitioning the Lord with a heart of worship, gratitude, and an outward vision that cares for the needs of others. His desires become your desires.
5. Fasting and prayer can build our faith
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
– Hebrews 11:6 NIV
God says He will answer our prayers. As you fast, He will answer some of your requests with a welcomed “yes.” He will also build your faith by helping you trust when He says “no.” Whatever the answer, you will learn that you can believe God knows best. Our reward is the peace that comes from being fully surrendered to God’s control over our lives.
It is amazing that Jesus would call us into a prayer and fasting relationship where we gain infinitely more than we give up. God has changed my life through prayer and fasting—are you ready for Him to change yours?