Prayer and Fasting
But Jesus took him by the hand, lifted him up, and he arose. When he entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast him out?” And he said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” (Mark 9:27-29, KJV)
Fasting is often thought of as simply abstaining from food. But biblical fasting is a spiritual discipline that helps you connect with and be empowered by God.
As we begin a fast, we must approach God with humility and with our hearts in the right place. Isaiah 58 explains true and false fasting.
Benefits of Prayer and Fasting:
- Builds spiritual intimacy
- Opens up your spirit to hear the voice of God
- Brings clarity and direction
- Breaks satanic strongholds
- Provides Godly wisdom
Throughout the Old and New Testaments, people prayed and fasted for a number of reasons. Following are seven circumstances in which believers sought God through this discipline.
Here are 12 circumstances in the bible in which believers sought God through prayer and fasting.
Moses fasted before receiving the Ten Commandments (Deuteronomy 9:9-18).
Esther fasted for the safety of the Jews (Esther 4:15-17).
David fasted to seek God’s healing for his sick child (2 Samuel 12:14-16).
Nehemiah fasted and prayed when he learned that the walls in Jerusalem had been broken down, leaving the Israelites vulnerable and disgraced (Nehemiah 1:1-4).
Darius fasted for the safety of Daniel (Daniel 6:18-23).
Daniel fasted and prayed for understanding of a vision (Daniel 10:2-3).
The whole city of Nineveh fasted in an incredible act of repentance after Jonah preached to them (Jonah 3:5-9).
Jesus fasted before being tempted by Satan (Matthew 4:1-2).
Anna served God with fasting and prayers night and day as she awaited God’s promised Messiah, showing that fasting is an act of worship and service before God (Luke 2:36-38).
Cornelius worshiped God with fasting, and his faith opened the door for Peter to begin preaching to the Gentiles (Acts 10:30).
Church elders in Antioch fasted before sending out missionaries (Acts 13:1-3).
King Jehoshaphat proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah for God’s guidance when he was afraid (2 Chronicles 20:3).
I would like to encourage you to seek guidance from the Holy Spirit as you start your own personal prayer and fast. This includes knowing when to fast, the type of fast, and the duration of the fast.
Jesus said “when we fast,” not “if we fast,” which emphasizes the importance of prayer and fasting for believers. We must discipline ourselves in prayer and fasting as it is a part of our worship to God, and we will see the benefits.
Also view: Fasting Scriptures For Breakthrough