How To Prepare Yourself Spiritually And Physically
In preparation for this special time with God, I strongly urge you to examine your heart, and detect any unconfessed sin. Scripture records that God always requires His people to repent of their sins before He will hear their prayers. King David said:
Come and hear, all of you who reverence the Lord, and I will tell you what he did for me: For I cried to him for help, with praises ready on my tongue. He would not have listened if I had not confessed my sins. But he listened! He heard my prayer! He paid attention to it!Blessed be God who didnt turn away when I was praying, and didnt refuse me his kindness and love.
In your prayers, confess not only obvious sins, but less obvious ones as well. The sins of omission as well as the sins of commission experiences. These may be experiences leaving your first love for our Lord: worldly-mindedness, self-centeredness, spiritual indifference, and unwillingness to share your faith in Christ with others, not spending sufficient time in Gods Word and in prayer, a poor relationship with your spouse, your children, your pastor, or other members of your church.
Another great way to prepare for your fast is to practice what I call Spiritual Breathing. The concept is simple, but it has changed my own life and that of millions of others.
Although fasting is primarily a spiritual discipline, it begins in the physical realm. You should not fast without specific physical preparation.
Beware A Common Danger
Fasting and prayer are about heart posture not a diet.
The reason I chose to give up my phone in my list time to fast and pray instead of a meal is my habit of turning a fast into a diet that is not the right heart posture.
If your heart is in the right place and you truly are drawing near to God with a purpose, fasting in any form will quicken your soul for Him.
What Isaiah 58 Says About Fasting
In addition to the scripture in Matthew, I want to talk about Isaiah 58 because the entire chapter is chalk full of wisdom about true and false fasting. If you ever have a question about what God sees as fasting that is pleasing to him, I encourage you to study Isaiah 58 in depth!
To summarize, God tells us that true fasting, to him, is fasting that looses the bonds of wickedness, that lets the oppressed go free, and that breaks every yoke . We should also be sharing our food with those who are hungry, bringing the poor into our homes, giving clothing to those who need it, and exposing our true selves before the Lord .
Basically, Isaiah prophecies the things that God asks of us when we fast. When we do these things, God responds to our fasting. If it’s a breakthrough that we need, then God will answer us! If we are seeking wisdom or clarity in an area, then we will receive it !
I am convinced that when we fast according to biblical principles our spiritual eyes and ears will be opened wider and we will be able to hear God clearer in our lives.
The degree to which we can be close to God is never-ending. We just go deeper and deeper into relationship with him! I pray that this has helped you in understanding how to fast and pray, and that you continue to study and practice these key principles in your own walk. Blessings in abundance!
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Helpful Hints For Your Fast
- Drink plenty of water.
- It is wise to abstain from strong stimulants such as caffeinated and sugary drinks during a fast, including the artificial sweeteners found in diet drinks. Also, avoid soy protein drinks, which have been known to cause health problems during a fast.
- If you are on a juice fast, drink raw fruit juices such as apple, grape, and pineapple, which are excellent sources of necessary natural sugar to stabilize blood sugar and keep energy levels up. Orange and grapefruit juice are also good, but they are not recommended for arthritis or allergy sufferers. Monitor juice acidity carefully as it can cause canker sores . Raw vegetable juices such as carrot, celery, beet, or green vegetable combinations are excellent as well. Fresh fruit and vegetable juices can be made in a juice extractor or purchased ready-made . Some of the benefits of drinking raw juice versus bottled are that it does not stimulate digestion and it maintains all of its enzymes and nutritional value.
- Expect some physical discomforts because of the detoxification process, especially on the second day. You may have fleeting hunger pains or dizziness. Withdrawal from caffeine and sugar may cause headaches, but it is a part of the detoxification process. Physical annoyances may also include weariness, tiredness, nausea, and sleepiness.
- During a fast, four major areas of the body are going through a detoxification process. Take care to attend to each of these:
What Foods Are Allowed
During the 21-day Daniel Fast, you are allowed to eat all fruits and vegetables. You’re on a plant-based diet that like the Bible verse says does not allow for meat, wine or alcohol in general. Many practitioners also cut out refined and processed foods.
It’s easier to say what you cannot have for the duration of the 21-day fasting challenge. The following items are off-limits:
- Meat, fish and other animal products, including dairy and eggs
- Bread, pastries, chips, cookies or anything that contains yeast or other leavening agents
- Fried foods
- Any beverages other than water. Coffee, tea and alcohol are not allowed. Some say fruit juice is okay as long is it is free from preservatives and added sugar, but those should be limited as well.
You may have:
- Oils, including grapeseed, peanut, sesame, canola and olive
- Soy-based foods, such as tofu and veggie burgers
- Condiments, such as herbs and spices, vegetable broth, mustard and cilantro
Ultimately, this diet provides most of the basic nutrition you need as long as you are varying the fruits and vegetables you eat. But because it doesn’t allow for meat and dairy products, some nutrients are lacking. That’s why you should do the fast for a limited time and resume your normal diet for a while before attempting to complete the fast again.
With the spiritual foundation, you can then move to a food plan that focuses on nutrition rather than deprivation. The Daniel Plan Plate should consist of:
Why Should I Fast 7 Examples Of Fasting In The Bible
Although the Bible doesnt give a direct command on this issue, examples of fasting appear in both the Old and the New Testaments. One of the most telling passages in which fasting is mentioned is Matthew 6:16, where Jesus is teaching His disciples basic principles of godly living. When speaking on fasting, He begins with, When you fast, not If you fast.
Jesus words imply that fasting will be a regular practice in His followers lives.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in his book The Cost of Discipleship, said, Jesus takes it for granted that His disciples will observe the pious custom of fasting. Strict exercise of self-control is an essential feature of the Christian life. Such customs have only one purpose to make the disciples more ready and cheerful to accomplish those things which God would have done.
Fasting prepares you for the works God has ordained for you to do.
Wesley Duewel, a twentieth-century writer, said, You and I have no more right to omit fasting because we feel no special emotional prompting than we have a right to omit prayer, Bible reading, or assembling with Gods children for lack of some special emotional prompting. Fasting is just as biblical and normal a part of a spiritual walk of obedience with God as are these others.
People fast for a number of reasons. Following are seven circumstances in the Bible in which believers sought God through this discipline.
Fasting is a much-needed discipline in the life of a believer.
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What Does Fasting Do To Demons And Evil Spirits
Now for the spooky stuff! Personally Im not spooked out, but the public norms program us to discount spiritual entities.
When we read the scriptures more closely we see bible verses about prayer and fasting having power over demons. We also see sickness that can be caused by demonic entities.
14 And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying,
15 Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.
16 And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.
17 Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.
18 And Jesus rebuked the devil and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.
19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?
20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place and it shall remove and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
Here a man that has a son who is mentally ill . He is heeled by the Messiah, who tells the disciples why they were unable to heel him.
He tells them that that kind of devil goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
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What Is Biblical Fasting And How Does It Work
For thousands of years, biblical fasting has been the practice of abstaining from food for spiritual purposes. If youre used to a routine of three square meals a day, going without food as a spiritual practice may sound strange. But fasting was a very common religious practice when the Bible was written.
In his book Hunger for God, John Piper writes: Christian fasting, at its root, is the hunger of a homesickness for God. Christian fasting is not only the spontaneous effect of superior satisfaction in God, it is also a chosen weapon against every force in the world that would take that satisfaction away.
But how does biblical fasting work and how can someone do it today? In this guide, were going to cover what every Christian should know about fasting: what it is and how it works.
If you want to jump ahead, heres what were going to look at:
Some Christians use the word fast when abstaining from pleasures besides food, like TV, internet or, for married couples, sex. You might know people who have gone on a social media fast or a screen fast for spiritual reasons. For the purposes of this article, were going to focus on traditional Christian fasting: abstaining from food.
What To Do In In The Time Set Apart For Fasting
Bring your Bible and a glass of water during your fast.
Relax and breathe deeply. Place yourself in the presence of God. Offer yourself and your time to God by repeating Samuels words Speak Lord, your servant is listening. Or simply say, Here I am.
Spend some time worshiping God for his faithfulness. Thank him for where he has come through for you. Psalm 103:1-5 also provides a starting point for praise.
Bring your desires to God. Ask him if this desire is in line with his will and his word for you and the church. Be still and listen. Offer your desires and prayers to God.
Where Should I Pray
The first thing that this section of Scripture addresses is where to pray. Verse six says, when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. So the first thing we learn is that prayer should usually be private. Jesus isn’t saying that public prayer is bad. Hes saying that our motivation for praying publicly can be distorted. Jesus warns us that praying publicly for human attention is wrong and that if we pray for that reason, the attention of man is the only reward that well receive!
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How To Make Your Spiritual Experience The Best It Can Be
Receiving Gods best blessing from a fast requires solid commitment. Arranging special time each day with God is absolutely crucial in attaining intimate communion with the Father. You must devote yourself to seeking Gods face, even during those times in which you feel weak, vulnerable, or irritable. Read His Word and pray during what were mealtimes. Meditate on Him when you awake in the night. Sing praises to Him whenever you please. Focus on your Heavenly Father and make every act one of praise and worship. God will enable you to experience His command to pray without ceasing as you seek His presence.
As you enter this time of heightened spiritual devotion, be aware that Satan will do everything he can to pull you away from your prayer and Bible reading time. When you feel the enemy trying to discourage you, immediately go to God in prayer and ask Him to strengthen your resolve in the face of difficulties and temptations.
The enemy makes you a target because he knows that fasting is the most powerful of all Christian disciplines and that God may have something very special to show you as you wait upon Him and seek His face. Satan does not want you to grow in your faith, and will do anything from making you hungry and grumpy to bringing up trouble in your family or at work to stop you. Make prayer your shield against such attacks.
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What Are Other Types Of Fasting
The most common type of fast is fasting from food for a period of time, but are there other types?
TV/Movie Fast: You can take a break from a weekly favorite and use the time to pray or read the Bible. Is there a small group at church that you’ve thought about joining but it’s during the time your show is on? Do you spend your Saturday binging Netflix when you could take some time to mentor someone God has placed on your heart? This is also a good time to evaluate how much of your time is spent watching TV and whether you need to cut back to make time for other priorities.
Social Media Fast: This is becoming one of the more common fasts in our culture. Do you need to take some time away from the noise and refresh? Log out of your accounts, delete them from your device for a period of time, and just spend that time being present with God. Pray and listen. Spend some time in nature soaking in His beauty. Spend some time alone worshipping God.
Secular Music Fast: Instead of listening to Top Hits on the radio, you can choose to listen to the Christian radio station for a period of time. Pop in a CD of your favorite worship leader when you’re driving to work. Listen to a Christian podcast or audiobook. You can even turn the stereo off completely and spend that time in prayer. You’ll be amazed what this little change will do for your life.
How To Start Fasting
Fasting is hard. It sounds much easier in concept than it proves to be in practice. It can be surprising how on-edge we feel when we miss a meal. Many an idealistic new fast-er has decided to miss a meal and only found our belly drove us to make up for it long before the next mealtime came.
Fasting sounds so simple, and yet the world, our flesh, and the devil conspire to introduce all sorts of complications that keep it from happening. In view of helping you start down the slow path to good fasting, here are six simple pieces of advice. These suggestions might seem pedantic, but the hope is that such basic counsel can serve those who are new at fasting or have never seriously tried it.
Eat Very Little Before Your Fast
Before fasting, try to eat very little for the previous week so that your body adjusts to not eating a lot. You dont want to eat nonstop and then one day randomly stop eating or drinking anything for your fasts. There are many different symptoms that could be caused if you do not properly prepare yourself before fasting.
Here are just a few of the many symptoms that could happen if you do not properly prepare your body before fasting:
- Low energy levels
- Constant Hunger
Fasting Is Appropriate For Developing Self
In describing how Christians must be like spiritual athletes, Paul said, Instead I subdue my body and make it my slave, so that after preaching to others I myself will not be disqualified . William Barclays comments are helpful in considering how fasting can be helpful for discipline:
There are not a few of us who indulge in certain habits because we nd it impossible to stop them. They have become so essential that we cannot break them we develop such a craving for certain things that what ought to be a pleasure has become a necessity and to be cut off from the thing which we have learned to desire so much can be a purgatory. If we practiced a wise fasting, no pleasure would become a chain, and no habit would come to rule our lives. We would have control over our pleasures, and not our pleasures over us.12
Fasting can help us avoid becoming slaves of our desires, and instead have control over them.
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