How to fast and pray: A step-by-step guide
- Fast and pray in order to humble yourself and purify your worship. In fasting we are not trying to get something from God; rather we are seeking to realign our hearts’ affection with God’s. We do holy violence to the “pleasures which wage war against the soul” and open a way for the Holy Spirit’s passion to dominate us. In fasting we can more readily say, “We love you Lord, more than anything in the world.” Lust of any kind perverts worship, but fasting enables us to cleanse the sanctuary of our hearts of every other rival. In a Daniel fast, for instance, more stress is placed on the attitude of humility and confession, rather than the object sought.
- Take time to pray and read the Word. This may seem obvious, but busyness and distractions abound.
- Have a clear target for prayer focus. Without a vision (a clear, prophetic prayer goal) the people perish.
- Do the fast with someone else. Two are better than one. If one falls, the other picks them up.
- If you fail, don’t give in to condemnation. To-fast-or-not-to-fast doubts can be a major tool of the enemy. Even though you may fail several times, God always extends grace. The Lord will give you fresh motivation.
- Make your commitment and determine the length. For instance, our annual Easter fast is basically a one day fast.
- Prepare physically. Limit your intake of food to fruit two days before a fast. Fruit is a natural cleanser and easy to digest. Stop using coffee before the fast if you can. Prepare yourself for mental discomforts such as impatience, crankiness, and anxiety. Expect physical discomforts. You may experience dizziness, headaches, and different kinds of pains. The headaches are not a sign to stop fasting. Your body is working to cleanse itself of impurities.
- Tips on juice fasting. Drink small amounts of low-acid, or non-acidic, diluted juice. This gives you the desired effect of fasting while giving your body enough strength and needed minerals. Apple, cranberry and watermelon juices, and vegetable broth, are excellent. It is best to schedule your juice intake. To continually drink juice may hinder the spirit of fasting and self-control. A non-diluted juice fast is much easier and still very beneficial. For very thin people it may help to drink protein powder drinks.
- Prepare for opposition. On the day of your fast you can bet donuts will be at the office. It is amazing how this works! Or your spouse will suddenly be inspired to cook your favorite meals. Press through. You may feel more tension build at home. Work through this with your spouse. Jesus was tempted on the fast, and we must expect the same. Take your stand on the victory of Christ. Discouragement may come in like a flood — recognize the source.
- Fast in secret. Don’t boast about your fast, but don’t be afraid to let people know before going to their homes that you won’t be eating.
- Feel free to rest much and exercise lightly.
- People with medical problems, or the somewhat aged, should seek medical advice and oversight.
- Expect to hear God’s voice in the Word, dreams, visions and revelations. There is a reward for fasting (see Matthew 6:18). Daniel prepared himself to receive revelation through fasting (see Daniel 10:1-2).
- Many times breakthroughs come after a fast, sometimes long after. Do not listen to the misperception that nothing is happening. Every fast done in faith will be rewarded.