Fasting 101

I remember hearing about 'fasting' as a little girl. My family church annually held a corporate fast, where the whole church would give up certain foods or certain activities for a period of time.

My mom would try to get me to fast, but I always shrugged her off, mainly because I had no spiritual awareness of the significance of fasting.
I would often say things like "What's the point of not eating..."
"How can that really do anything"
It seemed pointless to deny myself delicious food for any period of time...for what? I couldn't see the necessity of such an act, and food tasted way too good to just stop eating.

It wasn't until I matured spiritually that I began to practice the discipline of fasting.
After rededicating my life to Christ, I would read my word,  pray, but there was something missing. It felt like there were certain hurdles I just couldn't overcome. It seemed like the more I pressed into God, the greater the yearning for more became.

That's when I stumbled upon the verse in Matthew 17:20-21
In this chapter, Jesus encounters a man who has a son that is possessed and suffers from demonic seizures. Jesus casts out the demons and the disciples ask why they are not able to do the same.

Jesus's reply is simple: because the disciples lack faith.
But what caught my attention, wasn't the Lord's declaration of the problem, but His solution to it.

Jesus then goes on to tell the disciples that the type of faith needed to cast out demons  is as small as a mustard seed, but that this type of faith can only built by prayer and fasting.

That's when the light-bulb went off in my head. I always thought fasting was something that was optional in scripture, not mandatory. But the bible is clear when it says 'When' you fast, not 'If' you fast.Matthew 6:16

I believe the hangup  associated with fasting for some believers come from some basic questions:

What is fasting?

What is the purpose of fasting?/What does fasting do?

How do I fast?

What is fasting/ a fast?  

Fasting is a spiritual discipline. Fasting is abstaining from all food, or certain types of food for a predetermined period of time. The period of a fast also includes abstaining from specific activities as well. (In this era, it can be social media, watching and listening to certain music/movies/T.v. shows, etc). The activities include anything that does not ultimately glorify God.

A fast can vary in duration from: 1 day to 40 days
A fast can vary in type .
A fast can consist of giving up all food for a period of time, or giving up just meats and animal products.

Fasting can be an individual discipline, or a corporate discipline (done in a group or a church).

What is the purpose of fasting?/What does fasting do?

A fast IS NOT a diet.
Fasting IS NOT about weight loss . Fasting IS NOT about changing the look of your natural body.
Fasting IS NOT a ritual, or something done just because.
Fasting IS NOT to show mock repentance, or to show how holy you are.

Fasting IS about building up the spiritual man.
Fasting IS a process of consecration, a discipline to build holiness.

A Fast IS a means to move the hand of God. 2. Samuel 2:21; Esther 4:16
A Fast IS a way to seek the guidance of God. The book of Daniel
A Fast IS a method to activate anointing. Matthew 4

There are times in our walk where we need God to intervene or do a work on our behalf. It can be a dire situation where we need God to do the impossible. It can be for favor in school, at our job, with our families. Sometimes we deal with demonic afflictions that require God's hand to guarantee victory. God delights in intervening for our sake, but it's not just a matter of praying, it's a matter of submitting our spirit to the will of God.
When you fast, you humble your spirit man and yield to the perfect will of God. By abstaining from food and ungodly influence while praying, we tell and show God that our desire for His will is greater than our desire to satisfy basic human needs.

Fasting puts God at the correct position as priority number 1 in our lives.
After Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights, the enemy tries to tempt him and Christ responds ''Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds. out of the mouth of God."Matthew 4:4
When we fast, we become the living embodiment of Matthew 4:4. We show God that he is our sustain-er, not food, not water, but His Holy spirit.

How do I fast?

The hardest part of any fast is starting. The question always begs 'Where do I start?' 'How do I start?'
My first suggestion is to consult the Holy spirit, He will lead you and guide you on what kind of fast you should do and for how long.

Practically, if you've never fasted before, my suggestion: don't jump into a 40 day fast. Unless of course the Spirit has compelled you, then by all means.
Start with a shorter fast, a one day fast perhaps or a three day fast.
Start by partially fasting some foods and gradually build yourself up.

Fasting  should always be accompanied by prayer.
Talk to God before you begin your fast, humble yourself before Him and make your petitions plain. 
As you fast, know that the point of a fast is to discipline your spirit.
This means that you're not just taking away from your flesh, you're also feeding your spirit.
You feed your spirit by reading the bible, praying, and guarding your heart.
This means that you're not listening to secular music, watching movies that don't glorify God or participating in conversations that don't edify your spirit.
It means you're intentional about every aspect of your life.

If you're seeking a breakthrough in your physical life or your spiritual life, my first suggestion is always prayer and fasting.

I trust the Lord will lead you and guide you as He places the necessity of fasting on your heart.
I encourage you to do your own research and to seek the wisdom of Godly council (on and off the internet).
 Happy fasting ya'll :)

All my love,