In Matthew 6: 16, Jesus said “when you fast”, not “if you fast”. Fasting is a requirement for every follower of Jesus. In Matthew 6: 17 – 18, Jesus said that fasting brings open rewards:
But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 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. (New International Version)
Benefits of Fasting and Prayer
1. Deliverance and Victory:
Fasting and prayer brings victory and deliverance. Let’s look at what God said about fasting in Isaiah 58 verses 6 to 8:
“Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the heavy burdens,
To let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out;
When you see the naked, that you cover him,
And not hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then your light shall break forth like the morning,
Your healing shall spring forth speedily,
And your righteousness shall go before you;
The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard”. (New King James Version)
When you fast and pray, it looses the bonds of wickedness, removes burdens, destroys oppression, and yokes are broken. In addition, your healing springs forth speedily, and so forth.
Remember the time in Mark 9:14 – 29 when the disciples tried to cast out an evil spirit and they could not? Jesus said in Mark 9 verse 29:
So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” (New King James Version).
There are some problems and oppression that can only leave when you fast and pray.
2. Answered Prayers:
Once again, let us take a look at Isaiah 58, from verses 6 to 9. Isaiah 58 verse 9a says:
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ (New King James Version).
Recall that Jesus said in Matthew 6:18 that when you fast in secret, your Heavenly Father will reward you openly. Through the scriptures, in the Old and New Testament we see that people who fasted and prayed to God received answers from God.
Some examples of people who fasted and prayed, and received answers from God:
Daniel fasted and prayed, and received answers from God – see Daniel 9: 1 – 23.
The people of Nineveh fasted and cried to God, and God relented from the disaster He had said He would bring upon them – see Jonah 3: 5 – 10.
Ezra and the people fasted for direction and protection and God answered their prayer – see Ezra 8: 21 – 23.
Esther and the Jews fasted for favour to reverse the evil decree against them, and God granted their request – see The Book of Esther (reading the whole book really sheds light on the context).
Church elders fasted before sending out missionaries – see Acts 13: 1 – 3.
Tips on How to Fast and Pray Effectively
Focus on an issue, and be specific.
Prepare for the fast by finding scriptures that promise you what you are asking for, and present it to God in prayers during the fast (see 1 John 5:14 – 15).
Decide on the type of fast you want to embark on, is it a 1 day fast, 3 days, water only fast for a few days, longer fasts of 21 days, etc?
Study the Word of God intensively while fasting. The Word of God is spiritual food (see Matthew 4:4). Feed your spirit abundantly when you fast.
Spend time in worship. Worship God and bless His Holy Name.
Fast from food and other things that promote the flesh and worldliness e.g. television, secular music, movies, social media, etc. Focus on God, His Word, and your prayers.
During your fast or right after, give to the poor and less privileged. You will be blessed for it. See Psalm 41: 1 – 3.
(c) 2018 Love, Faith and Miracles