Fasting and prayer is a spiritual discipline that has been in existence for ages. Almost all religions of the world do observe fasting and prayers (but not all to the same God). Today, we will learn the importance of fasting and prayer in Christianity.
The spiritual discipline of fasting and praying has to do with setting aside a special time and denying oneself certain carnal needs, in order to devote oneself to prayers.
The essence of fasting is to cut off distractions, and make available ample time for prayers. It is pointless to fast, if you're not going to pray. That turns out to be nothing but starvation.
Without praying, fasting is unfruitful. Many people do watch weight and skip meals daily, and term it fasting. Such shouldn't be regarded as fasting and prayer.
Fasting And Prayer In Scriptures
The Holy Bible contains so many passages and verses that endorse the practice of fasting and prayer.
Nevertheless, different Christian denominations have different doctrines. And as a result, they hold different views towards fasting and prayer.
Some do kick against fasting and prayers, with the notion that Jesus already did it all through His sacrifice on the cross, so we have to do nothing more as Christians (including fasting and prayer).
This notion is faulty on all sides. Our Lord Jesus made it clear in scriptures that His disciples had the liberty to opt out of fasting while He was with them. But they should fast and pray after He's gone:
Luke 5:33-35 KJVAnd they said unto him, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink?  And he said unto them, Can ye make the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them?  But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.
Though not directly mentioned, the Pentecost fire was lighted through fasting and prayers. The disciples waited in the upper room. They definitely were not eating and playing there.
We can further confirm this based on the fact that the apostles consistently fasted afterwards.
Acts 13:3 KJVAnd when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
Acts 14:23 KJVAnd when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.
Jesus told His disciples that certain demons cannot be cast out, except the deliverance minister is someone who engages in fasting and prayer:
Matthew 17:14-21 KJVAnd when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying,  Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.  And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.  Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.  And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.  Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?  And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.  Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
1. Prophetess Anna Served God In Fasting And Prayers
Luke 2:36-37 KJVAnd there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;  And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
2. Daniel Fasted For Twenty One Days
Daniel 10:2-3 KJVIn those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks.  I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.
3. Cornelius Was Fasting And Praying When He Had An Angelic Encounter
Acts 10:30-31 KJVAnd Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,  And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.
4. Christian Couples Are Expected To Set Apart Time For Fasting And Prayers
1 Corinthians 7:5 KJVDefraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.
Also, as someone who has tasted the power of fasting and prayer, I can boldly tell you that this spiritual practice is indispensable to our walk with God.
People often have diverse opinions towards spiritual things. But when such opinions clearly contradict the written Word of God, it is unwise live by them.
Guidelines For Fasting And Prayer
- Fasting and prayers should be based on the leading of the Holy Spirit or instructions from God. If you choose to stay hungry, it is not advisable to turn it into fasting.
- Before embarking on a fast, an individual should be well prepared, and go into it with a good intention and a righteous goal.
- A Christian shouldn't embark on fasting as a weapon against another person. Agents of darkness do that. Yes, the kingdom of darkness also fast and pray to their master, for evil intents. The sons of God are not expected to do such.
- A Christian should not go into extended days of fasting, except strictly based on God's instructions. It is not part of God's character and personality, to instruct anyone to lock themselves up in a room and fast for forty or fifty days without food or water.
- Before anyone engages in two to three days dry fasting or more, they should be sure it is an instruction from God.
- Corporate fasting is good. Personal fasting is better. Every genuine Christian should have a personal fasting and prayer life.
Why A Christian Should Fast And Pray
There are innumerable reasons why a Christian should engage in fasting and prayers.
Our Lord Jesus fasted and prayed, before the full-fledge manifestation of His earthly ministry. He is our role model. We have to emulate Him.
They early Church also fasted, as made clear to us in the Acts of the Apostles.
The flesh and carnal humans will always give us reasons to not fast and pray, but we are not expected to do according to their bidding.
The human body is fragile. A Christian should not engage in fasting and prayers in a state of illness or critical health condition.
If the one who engages in fasting notices that they are starting to feel sick while doing so, fasting should be ended immediately.
10 Importance Of Fasting And Prayer
1. Makes Us Sober
Fasting and prayer humbles us before God and enables us to receive from Him.
2 Chronicles 7:14 KJVIf my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
2. Helps In Subduing The Flesh
Fasting and prayer subdues the flesh and enables the human spirit to rule over the flesh, via the Holy Spirit. We should be willing to engage in spiritual disciples that could help us submit to the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 5:16-17 KJVThis I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.  For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
3. Equips For Victory In Spiritual Warfare
Stubborn Satanic barriers and works of darkness are broken and destroyed through fasting and prayers.
Matthew 17:21 KJVHowbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
4. Equips Us For Ministry
We are prepared and equipped for ministry through fasting and prayers. Jesus Christ demonstrated this by fasting for forty days and nights, before His public ministry.
5. Helps Us Overcome Sin
Stubborn and besetting sins can be overcome through consistent fasting and prayers.
6. Increased Spirituality
Fasting and prayer enables a Christian to remain spiritual and consistent in their walk with God. Not spiritual today and carnal tomorrow. Fasting and prayer sustains spirituality.
7. Improves Our Relationship With The Lord
Fasting and prayer ensures swift spiritual growth and a better relationship with Jesus Christ.
8. Helps Us Stay Focused On God
Engaging in fasting and prayers helps us avoid distractions and keep our gaze on God.
9. Improves Our Prayer Life
Those who engage in fasting and prayers often have an uncommon prayer life.
10. Makes Us More Spiritual Receptive And Sensitive
Fasting and prayer gives heightened spiritual sensitivity, and causes spiritual gifts to operate at their very best.
Fasting And Prayer Scriptures
- Luke 18:1-12
- Jonah 3:5-9
- Isaiah 58:3-7
- Matthew 6:16-18
- Ezra 8:21-23
- Luke 4:2-4
- 1 Kings 21:25-27
- 2 Samuel 12:15-17
- Daniel 9:3-5
- Acts 13:3-4
- Joel 2:12-13
- Psalm 35:13-14
- Psalm 69:10
- Nehemiah 1:4
- Luke 18:12
- Luke 2:37
- Joel 2:12
- Exodus 34:28
- Esther 4:16
- Daniel 10:3
- Acts 14:23
- Acts 13:2
- 2 Samuel 1:12
- 1 Corinthians 7:5
Final Words On Importance Of Fasting And Prayer
Beloved, I trust that by reading this article, you were able to grasp the importance of fasting and prayer.
I believe that every serious Christian should make fasting and prayers a lifestyle and their top priority.
If you were blessed reading, share this article with someone else.
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Glory to God Almighty.