The Word of God is replete with references to fasting for spiritual reasons. Fasting is also an excellent way to care for your body for health reasons. We will touch on the health aspect in a bit.
God ordained that fasting was a significant way for human beings to humble their soul and also move Him to action. About 50-60% of our energy is directed toward digestion. As we fast, our senses and receptors are heightened. The Lord can speak to us more clearly as we receive His message more directly without the usual daily interference. It speaks to our seriousness and solemnity in our petition of Him, as well as our ability to control our body for His sake.
- In the Old Covenant, we see the Day of Atonement for sin as a body-wide fast for the day.
Leviticus 23:26-32 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall humble your souls (fasting) and present an offering by fire to the LORD…”
- King David fasted to no avail in trying to get God to save his illegitimate child through Bathsheba from death .
2 Samuel 12:22-23 He (David) said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who knows, the LORD may be gracious to me, that the child may live.’ But now he has died; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”
- Queen Esther called a body-wide fast in trying to get the Lord to save her people from certain extinction. In this case, God answered her prayer.
Esther 4:15-16 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, “Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maidens also will fast in the same way. And thus I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish.”
- The prophet Joel declares a fast and solemn assembly since God’s wrathful judgment will fall someday. How vastly differently is this today with the a-muse-ment laden feel-good nonsense that pervades the western church.
Joel 1:14-15 Consecrate a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly; Gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land To the house of the LORD your God, and cry out to the LORD. Alas for the day! For the day of the LORD is near, And it will come as destruction from the Almighty.
- Our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, our model for life, fasted for 40 days at the beginning of His public ministry.
Matthew 4:1-4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'”
- Jesus teaches us that fasting is routine and normal. We are never to grandstand with this most holy discipline. God always sees our heart and motive.
Matthew 6:16-18 “Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you…”
- Spiritual warfare is real, and the devil and his legions are focused on our destruction. The casting out of demons will sometimes depend on our fasting. The spirit world is very, very real.
Matthew 17:21 [“But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”]
- One of the great testimonies of the Bible is the widow Anna, and her complete dedication to the Lord’s ministry. What an encouragement to us in this modern age!
Luke 2:36-37 And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers.
- Our Lord pointed out that many false religious leaders did the right thing by fasting twice a week, and being generous with their money. Of course, the New Covenant record has negated the tithe (which was 23% in the OT, not 10%) since God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9.7). With food and covering we will be content (1 Tim 6).
Luke 18:12 ‘I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’
- The apostle Paul observed the fast for the Day of Atonement even though Christ is our atonement now. But this too shows the power of the command to fast.
Acts 27:9 When considerable time had passed and the voyage was now dangerous, since even the fast was already over (Day of Atonement), Paul began to admonish them…
Just this year of this writing, I was on an extended fast beginning on a Monday and begging and beseeching God to unmask a so-called believer who I knew was demonized. She was playing games with my life in Christ by demeaning me and causing huge problems. In this situation, I was forced to deal with her and could not avoid it. God spoke to me that He was in full control. My trust in Him was complete as I waited for Him to act.
On the third day, that Wednesday, the mask was ripped off the charade and she was exposed for who she really was. I rebuked her, but she refused the help of the Holy Spirit. Being uncooperative, I could not cast the demons out, but the Lord then removed her from my life.
Many times I have fasted for health reasons over the last 30+ years. As God has designed the body, fasting can be wonderfully restorative as the body helps heal itself. It is best to rest as much as possible. On an extended fast, a real change of schedule is highly recommended. Turn off the electronics and remove other distractions, including human ones, as much as possible.
For short term fasts, water only might suffice. Juice fasts can be beneficial for extended fasts. Make sure the water and juice are filtered and organic, pure and clean in all ways.
Once a week fasts are helpful. I will routinely complete five day cleanse-fasts to help cleanse my endocrine and digestive system. One is a liver-gall bladder cleanse-fast. Another is a kidney-bladder cleanse-fast. Also, a mild or aggressive colon cleanse, or colonic water irrigation, is a must to keep the “sewer system” in optimal working order.
I once did a 40 day juice fast. It was extremely helpful. I lost 20 pounds that I really didn’t need to lose! But the next day I was at a conference and ate a full meal for dinner, with a chocolate dessert, as I talked with my colleagues. Big mistake. In the middle of the night, I had it coming out both ends! The body took over as it expelled the wrong foods and prepared me to return to a normal course of action.
Where to begin
In your fasting is for spiritual and/or health reasons, ask the Lord for favor and to speak clearly to you.
Try a day fast. Stop eating after an early dinner. Fast that next day. Then you can “break-fast” the next morning. Drink plenty of water all day long. Take walks. Rest. Go to bed earlier.
Then you may want to try a three day fast. Headache and chills may follow in the second or third day. Stick with it, and the rewards will be great. Again, drink plenty of water and organic juice. When you get hungry, drink more. Tell your body that it will obey you and not the other way around!
There are terrible tribulations coming to the world, and probably even in our lifetime. Be prepared to discipline your body and make it your slave so you will not stumble and depart from the faith. The apostle Paul proclaimed this truth to us.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified (apostate from the faith – 1 Tim. 4.1).
Here are some excellent resources for the cleanse-fasts.
Write and tell us about how God uses this discipline in your life! May the Lord richly bless you as you obey Him implicitly in your love. We are one day closer to home – and Him…
See God’s Natural Health posts here.
Please comment on this post right below. Feel free to write and proclaim your leadings in the Spirit in an honorable fashion.
Your friend and brother in fighting the good fight,
Saints, we’re one day closer to Home, and Him! Love Him wholeheartedly!
Marc and Walk Worthy are supported in part by the body of Jesus Christ. Please consider donating on a regular basis:
Marc White, Director, Walk Worthy Ministries, www.WalkWorthy.org