Declaration of DependenceDec 26, 2023
New here? Welcome! I'm Martha, and I'm here to help you on your weight loss journey through blogging, podcasts, and online teaching courses.
Want to join me for 21 Days of Prayer & Fasting? Check out my FB Group for support, tips, and community!
Do you need some help on your journey of faith and belief? These sermons can help!
Fasting is the greatest discipline in the Christian life, because by it, we are able to discern between our wants and our needs." - John Piper
“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
Have you ever fasted? The Bible assumes that as Christians, we know it should be a practice in our lives. When you fast, when you pray, and when you give, it does not say if.
And yet, I didn’t grow up in a church that taught me how to fast and pray. But when Matt and I started HopeFront church, it was something we incorporated. I am so glad we did.
Fasting and prayer have been a part of many Christian people who impacted the world.
Corrie ten Boom, a Dutch Christian and resistance member during World War II, faced unimaginable suffering in a concentration camp after being betrayed. In the dire conditions, she turned to her faith, holding secret prayer meetings with other women in the camp. When her sister Betsie fell critically ill, Corrie intensified her commitment to prayer and fasting, finding renewed strength and peace. Although Betsie tragically passed away, Corrie survived, later becoming a prominent speaker and author, sharing her story of faith, resilience, and forgiveness in "The Hiding Place." Her leadership left a lasting impact on countless individuals.
If Corrie Ten Boom can fast and pray in a concentration camp, I can definitely find times to fast and pray.
Fasting has also been associated with helping to improve a person’s health. Here are some potential benefits of fasting supported by research and medical experts:
- Weight Loss and Metabolic Health:
- Fasting may help in weight loss by creating a calorie deficit.
- It can improve insulin sensitivity, potentially reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Heart Health:
- Fasting may contribute to heart health by improving blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglycerides.
- It could positively impact cardiovascular risk factors.
- Cellular Repair and Longevity:
- Fasting may stimulate autophagy, a process where cells remove damaged components, promoting cellular repair.
- Some studies suggest that intermittent fasting may have anti-aging effects.
- Brain Health:
- Fasting may support brain health by promoting the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein associated with cognitive function.
- It might protect against neurodegenerative diseases, although more research is needed.
- Inflammation Reduction:
- Fasting may help reduce inflammation markers in the body, which is linked to various chronic diseases.
- It could potentially alleviate symptoms in inflammatory conditions.
- Cancer Prevention:
- Some animal studies suggest that fasting might help prevent certain types of cancer, but more research is needed to establish its efficacy in humans.
- Improved Blood Sugar Control:
- Fasting may contribute to better blood sugar control and reduce the risk of developing insulin resistance.
- Digestive Health:
- Fasting allows the digestive system to rest, which may benefit gut health.
- It could contribute to a more balanced gut microbiome.
- Enhanced Fat Burning:
- Fasting encourages the body to use stored fat for energy, contributing to fat loss.
- Psychological Benefits:
- Some individuals report improved mental clarity, focus, and mood during fasting periods.
There are many stories in the Bible of people who fasted. Here are a few notable individuals who engaged in fasting.
Moses fasted for 40 days and nights on two occasions. The first was on Mount Sinai when he received the Ten Commandments (Exodus 34:28), and the second was before he interceded on behalf of the Israelites after they sinned with the golden calf (Deuteronomy 9:9-18)
Elijah fasted for 40 days and nights while journeying to Mount Horeb (1 Kings 19:8) after facing opposition and persecution.
Daniel fasted on various occasions, including a 21-day fast. He practiced intermittent fasting and engaged in a 21-day fast during which he abstained from pleasant food, meat, and wine. This particular fast was a period of mourning and seeking understanding (Daniel 10:2-3).
Esther fasted for three days and nights. She, along with the Jews in Susa, fasted for three days and nights before she approached King Xerxes to intercede for her people, seeking deliverance from a decree to annihilate the Jews (Esther 4:16).
Paul fasted for three days. After encountering Jesus on the road to Damascus, Paul went without food and drink for three days as he prayed and came to faith (Acts 9:9).
Even Jesus forty days and nights, and if it was necessary for Him, how much more is it necessary for us?
Before beginning His public ministry, Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights in the wilderness, facing Satan's temptation (Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13).
If you are trying to overcome some strongholds in your life, you may want to incorporate some times of prayer and fasting because the Bible says that some things are only overcome through prayer and fasting.
“However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting. Matthew 17:21”
Let me encourage you to make fasting and different types of fasting a part of your yearly rhythm.
Thank you for your promise that you move when we fast, pray, and give. I want to put these Christian practices in my life.
Forgive me for the times I have tried to use my wisdom, I have tried to overcome strongholds in the flesh, I have tried to restore a broken relationship my way, and I have not looked to You for wisdom and counsel.
I praise you that you are my bread, my sustainer, and you are my provider.
I want to develop a rhythm of fasting and praying because I want to hear you more clearly. I know you will make this crooked path straight for me to follow and to know what to do.
I love you, and I worship you. In Jesus' name, amen!
Here are some questions for you to journal or discuss with a friend.
1. How do you perceive the role of prayer and fasting in seeking a change in a situation you are dealing with? Would it be beneficial, and why or why not?
2. What kind of fasting have you tried, and what were your experiences and outcomes?
3. Which health benefits of fasting are important to you? And why?
4. The concept of fasting can be used as a means to weaken the flesh and strengthen the spirit. How does this perspective challenge or resonate with your understanding of the practice?
5. Discuss the aspects of spiritual warfare that can only be overcome through prayer and fasting. In what ways do you think prayer and fasting can lead to victory over spiritual battles?