Fasting and Prayer
Fasting and Prayer are not necessarily done together. But they usually have more weight when done together to honor our Heavenly father. Prayer is the open communication between us and God. On the other hand fasting is defined as going without food to focus on prayer and fellowship with the Lord . Some things only come through prayer and fasting.
Many important figures in the bible participated in fasting and prayer during the difficult times in their lives. They include people like; Moses, Elijah, Esther, Nehemiah, Daniel, Paul among others, and of course the most important of them all Jesus Christ who fasted for 40 days in the wilderness.
There are various forms of fasting as of now, the more traditional method of denying yourself food for a particular period of time is still practiced but is not as popular as it used to be. Nowadays people do short fasts like 24 hours without food but water is allowed. A healthy human can go 21 to 40 or more days without food before experiencing starvation. Though a doctor should be consulted before embarking on a fast that lasts more than three days.
Fasting and Prayer – Catholic Prayer and Fasting
In the catholic church we usually fast during lent, which begins on ash Wednesday and ends on good Friday. During this period, we give up something we enjoy eating and proceed to give what we saved from not indulging in our habits.
During this period we fast to pause and hit reset on our spiritual life. We deny the flesh to strengthen the spirit. Excluding the Eucharist fast (one hour before communion), the catholic church has two forms of penitential practices;
For Catholic faithfuls, when you attain the age of fourteen until the day you die. You are expected to abstain from eating meat. This is to honor the passion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday. Meat in this instance means flesh and organs of animals and fouls, also included are soups and gravies. However salt and fresh water fish, reptiles, amphibians and shellfish are allowed. Also allowed is any derivatives of meat that does not taste like meat like; margarine or gelatin. Though most people nowadays practice this during the Lenten period.
In the Catholic faith when you reach the age of 18 years till 59 years, you can fast by reducing the portions you eat. The church defines this as one meal per day. Or two lesser meals that when put together do not exceed the one meal, such fasting is obligatory particularly on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
Call for Help to Construct the Assumption of Mary Catholic Church, Umoja, Nairobi, Kenya
Call for Help to Construct the Assumption of Mary Catholic Church, Umoja, Nairobi, Kenya
There are however some who are excused from fasting under the faith. they include; those outside the age limit, the frail, unsound mind, the pregnant, nursing women.
Prayer for Fasting and Praying
As I enter into this period of fasting, I invite you in. Lord, come into my heart, come into my mind, renew me in new ways. You are my Lord, King and Savior. You are perfect, you are amazing and good. Lord, I am none of those things. I confess that I am sinful, that I am ugly in my sin and without you, I am lost. Forgive me, Lord, for the ways I have not put you first. Forgive me for not letting you reign over me.
Lord, this is what this time of fasting is all about , to take me off of the throne of my own life and to put you on the throne where you belong. I know I will be hungry for food, I pray as I am hungry that you would satisfy me with your Word. I know I will get tired, I pray as I am tired that you will strengthen me and Sustain me in your grace, Father. For every hunger pang I experience, directs my gaze not down to my belly but up towards you. For I know that I cannot live on bread alone, but every Word from you.
Help me Father, that I may enter this time of fasting and prayer with a heart of joy and a mouth that praises your goodness. Give me all the advantages of this spiritual discipline and keep me humble. Thank you Lord for your great, unending, all consuming love for me. I love you, Father. Amen.”
Prayer for Fasting and Praying – Short Prayer for Breaking Fast
Awaken my soul, I am hungry for you and long to know you more.
Improve my prayers, I wait on you and trust in your great love.
Brighten my mind with your great promise, I lift your name on high.
Bless this meal, I give you thanks for this nutrition in my life.
Prayer for Aid in Fasting
“Lord, Hanging as a vine upon the Wood,
O Christ our Savior,
You have made the ends of the earth
to drink from the wine of resolve.
Therefore do I cry aloud:
I am darkened always by the vicious drunkenness of sin;
Give me to drink from the sweet wine of true faith,
and grant me now the strength, O Savior,
to fast from sensual pleasures,
for Your are good and love mankind. Amen.”
Prayer For God’s Strength And Guidance During Fasting
“Lord of Heaven and Earth:
I am bowing in the spirit and the flesh. Humbling myself before you seeking your mercy, forgiveness, love, guidance, strength and your instruction.
Father, you gave your Son, Jesus so that I might live and prosper and reflect your majesty. In my life you have blessed me so bountifully. Thank you.
Thank you for creating and sustaining of my life, there is no measure of it that I can repay. You are Almighty and Omnipotent in your way. Also great and mighty. You have kept me until this day. Thank you, for without you I would not exist.
I acknowledge, Lord, that you have spoken many times for me to fast a length of time and I have attempted to without success. In fact, I have seemed to be confused by many distractions.
Precious savior, forgive me. I acknowledge that I am an imperfect servant. A lowly sinner who fails without your strength. Forgive me as I do seek to draw nearer to you. Show me great and wondrous things in the spirit. Help me Lord, to do as you request. To not resist your plans for my life.
Lord, help me to renew an upright spirit and relationship with you that I might be of great service to You. Bless me that I may complete the fast and draw near unto you. That I may prophesy by the guidance of the holy spirit with Christ-like accuracy. Father, Bless me that spiritual and physical healing will flow through me into the lives and bodies of others as you see fit and for your glory.
Bless me so that the businesses that you are beginning in me might be blessed as well and used for your glory. That one day you might look upon me from your high place, even from Your throne and say I am well pleased. In Jesus name. Amen.”
Benefits of Fasting and Prayer
Besides the physical benefits sometimes associated with fasting, there are also spiritual benefits. These can be seen in all the various occasions some one from the bible fasted and prayed to God in their hour of need. Some of these benefits include:
- Protection: When we offer ourselves so completely to God, and show our devotion by denying ourselves physical gratification in order to grow spiritually. We are in turn not only granted our deepest needs but also gain protection from our Heavenly Father.
- Victory over temptation: Our Lord Jesus Christ went into the wilderness and fasted and prayed for our Heavenly Fathers helping Hand. During this time Satan appeared and tried to tempt him, but fortified by the power of prayer and fasting, Jesus overcame temptation.
- Reach the heart of God: While fasting we are able to rid ourselves of the pleasures of the flesh that drive us farther away from God. We are able to focus on what is really important, which is our relationship with our Heavenly Father.
- Deliverance: During fasting and prayer we are able to reestablish our relationship with our Lord. All distractions are removed from our hearts and we are able to focus on our spiritual growth and salvation.
Fasting and Prayer – Bible Verses About Fasting
1 Corinthians 7:5
5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
7 When the Philistines heard that Israel had assembled at Mizpah, the rulers of the Philistines came up to attack them. When the Israelites heard of it, they were afraid because of the Philistines.
2 Samuel 1:12
12 They mourned and wept and fasted till evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the army of the LORD and for the nation of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.
2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
23 Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.
3 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.
16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”
28 Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments.
12 “Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.
12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.
10 When I weep and fast, I must endure scorn;
13 Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting. When my prayers returned to me unanswered, 14 I went about mourning as though for my friend or brother. I bowed my head in grief as though weeping for my mother.
12 “Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” 13 Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.
3 So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. 4 The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus.
3 So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes. 4 I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws.
2 Samuel 12:15-17
15 After Nathan had gone home, the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill. 16 David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackcloth on the ground.17 The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them.
1 Kings 21:25-27
25 (There was never anyone like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the LORD, urged on by Jezebel his wife. 26 He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols, like the Amorites the LORD drove out before Israel.) 27 When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly.
2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”
21 There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions. 22 I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.” 23 So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.
16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
5 The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. 6 When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. 7 This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. 8 But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 9 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”