Many questions have risen concerning fasting and prayer. And one of the most commonly asked questions concerning this spiritual activity happens to be "What are the things to avoid when fasting and praying?" There are certainly things to avoid when fasting and praying, and we shouldn't take them lightly.
I believe it's such an important question, because those who understand the value of fasting and prayer also know that it is something that must be done with diligence.
Fasting and prayer is a spiritual practice that is a crucial to our spiritual growth and indispensable to our relationship with God. I'm quite sure every Christian knows this is not something to be treated carelessly. Fasting and prayer has to be done according to God's specifications as seen in the holy scriptures.
Fasting and prayer must be done accurately; this also means that some end up fasting the wrong way. There is an acceptable kind of fasting to God, and an example of such is given in Isaiah 58:6-7.
Isaiah 58:6-7 KJVIs not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?  Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
Why We Must Avoid Certain Things When Fasting And Praying
According to Isaiah 58:8, fasting and prayer is suppose to produce powerful and tangible results. If at the end of the day, fasting doesn't manifest the expect results, then there's likely something wrong somewhere—probably we did not do it right.
Isaiah 58:8 KJVThen shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward.
- With fasting and prayer, stubborn mountains have been removed.
- Through fasting and prayer many have laid hold of their long awaited breakthrough. Sometimes, a person's breakthrough and blessing get released from Heaven only to get obstructed mid-air by the enemy. It will require an additional spiritual force to move the enemy out of the way, and that's one thing fasting and prayer does.
- In Matthew 17:15, some persons came to Jesus, reporting that they brought their son (who was suffering from seizures) to His disciples, but the disciples could not cast out the demons. The major problem for their inability to cast out the devils (which the Lord pointed out) was lack of fasting and prayer. Remember that the disciples truly weren't fasting when Jesus was around (Luke 5:34-35).
"Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting." (Matthew 17:21). That is what the Lord said—and I'm sure He wasn't referring to just any sort of fasting but the right kind of fasting.
- Fasting and prayer hastens spiritual growth. If you find a Christian who doesn't fast, then you just found a fleshly and lukewarm Christian.
- Fasting is a way of humbling oneself under the mighty hand of God—what is suppose to follow suit should be [physical and physical] exaltation and promotion. If these do not follow after our fasting, then it's likely we missed something along the line, while fasting.
1 Peter 5:6 KJVHumble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.
Many Christians today hold a similar report concerning fasting and prayer: "I've been fasting for a long time now and nothing has changed in my life." But the question is, are they doing it right?
I'm very sure no Christian wants to engage in unproductive fastings. That is why we must ensure we do it right. We must do it the acceptable way, so that we can reap the expected benefits.
10 Things You Should Avoid When Fasting And Praying
You don't want to miss out on God and what He wants to do for you when fasting and praying. We want our prayers answered and we want to be able to pick up on the frequencies of Heaven to hear what God is saying. There are a thousand and one reasons to avoid certain things when fasting. Let's take a look at some of the things to avoid below:
1. Avoid Faithlessness And Doubt
If a Christian lives a life of faithlessness and doubt, I suggest they should not engage in fasting and prayer. Because at the end of the fasting they may just end of losing weight and not seeing any tangible spiritual result.
James 1:6-7 KJVBut let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.  For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
In most cases, you'll find out that many who often come with the report that they've been fasting for many years and nothing seems to be working do not have faith [that's often likely the case]. Their heart is filled with doubt and unbelief towards the same God they are fasting and praying to.
Hebrews 11:6 KJVBut without faith it is impossible to please him : for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
God is not a magician. He has His own principles and we just have to align with those principles if we must successfully reach out to Him and get something from Him. With God nothing really happens by chance, happenstance or by mistake. What we put in will always determine what we'll get out of our walk with God. You can't doubt God and expect Him to work for you.
2. Avoid Discouragement
When faithlessness steps in during fasting and prayer, the first thing it produces is discouragement. This is the strategy of the enemy. Then people will begin to think things like;
"How am I sure this fasting is working?"
"Since I started fasting I've only seen bad dreams. God is not speaking"
"Why have the spiritual attacks even gotten worse while I'm fasting?"
This is what the enemy wants, but we shouldn't be ignorant of his devices (2 Corinthians 2:11). Give no room for any sort of discouraging thought concerning the effectiveness your fasting and prayer.
1 Peter 5:7 KJVCasting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
The period of fasting is the right time to lay our burdens at the feet of Jesus. If you have anything or many things bugging your mind, why not simply offload them at His feet and experience His peace?
Going over the challenges you have and the things you do not have while fasting will only bring discouragement and cause you to end your fast abruptly.
3. Avoid Distraction
Some intentionally feed on distractions while fasting. Why then should they expect results?
If the TV can be a distraction, keep it off. If social media can become a distraction while you're fasting, it's better to stay off of it till you're done with your fasting and prayer. It's not a good idea to watch movies and browse through our social media newsfeed while on fast, because one may happen to see things they're not supposed to see.
1 Thessalonians 5:22 KJVAbstain from all appearance of evil.
It's not advisable to give room for the eyes to feed on evil while fasting. Applying self-discipline during fasting is very necessary.
Romans 13:14 KJVBut put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
4. Avoid Irritation And Fights
We can't be fasting and fighting at the same time. It's true that the enemy will try using people or situations to get on our nerves while we're on fast, but we must do our best to resist the temptation to get mad.
If we are fasting, we should be devoted and focused on God, not on every annoying thing or person around us. When anger slides into fasting, there is always loss of focus. Bitterness grieves the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 4:31 KJVLet all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.
5. Avoid Thinking About Food
1 Corinthians 6:13a ESV“Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other.
It's carnality for one to fix their gaze on food while fasting. That alone is the very reason while some end up eat in dreams while they're on fast.
Isaiah 26:3 KJVThou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee : because he trusteth in thee.
A Christian is suppose to have their mind fixed on God while fasting (and avoid every possible distraction) so they can receive from Him; and so their fasting can be productive. Some end up breaking their fast prematurely due to thinking about food. And while some resist the temptation to actually eat, thinking of food while fasting opens the door for the enemy to feed the one fasting with spiritual poison in their dreams.
The enemy is always looking for a door to step in and destroy a Christian—even during their fast. We shouldn't give him such opportunity.
The period of fasting and prayer is the perfect time to focus on God and feed on His Word. It would be wise to meditate on the Word (Joshua 1:8) instead of meditating on food.
6. Avoid Pleasing The Flesh
There's a clear instruction in scriptures for married couples to abstain from intimacy while they are observing fasting and prayer.
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.
When it comes to singles also, the need to abstain from fornication cannot be overemphasised. We cannot be on fast and at the same time, pleasing the flesh.
7. Avoid Alcohol
Speaking from a scientific standpoint, alcohol is made up of calories. Taking any amount of alcohol during your fasting period will literally break the fast.
Luke 1:15 KJVFor he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.
Besides that, the Holy Spirit isn't friends with alcohol. Whether on fast or not, a Christian is suppose to avoid alcohol.
See Also: Is Drinking Alcohol A Sin
The fasting period is the right time to position oneself for a fresh baptism and infilling of the Holy Spirit. Not a time to crave alcohol.
Ephesians 5:18 KJVAnd be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.
Some do take water during their fasting and prayer. If you're taking any form of liquid, that shouldn't be alcohol.
8. Avoid Gossip And Slander
The fasting period isn't a time to slander, backbite and gossip about people. You're positioned and praying to receive something uncommon from God. It's better to focus just on that.
9. Avoid Ungodly Chatter
1 Timothy 4:7 KJVBut refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.
The fasting period isn't the right time to sit out with people to have carnal and ungodly discussions. If a Christian must discuss anything with others while they are on fast, it should be modest, noble and Godly things. Not the latest worldly news or soap opera.
Ephesians 5:4 KJVNeither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
10. Resist Letting Everyone Know You're Fasting
Here is where many people miss it:
Matthew 6:16-18 KJVMoreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.  But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;  That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
Some believe that while you're on fast, you're not suppose to take your bath or brush your teeth; that you're suppose to appear dirty and keep unkempt hair until you're done with your fast. But that's exactly what Jesus kicks against in Matthew 6:16.
Being on fast doesn't mean one has to look different; if they do, that will often cause people to ask what's up with them and they'll make the announcement that they are on fast. A Christian can be on fast and still go to work, interact with people and go about their daily affairs. But they must ensure they keep everything moderate and avoid distraction. What's not right is letting everyone know we're fasting.
Final Words On Things To Avoid When Fasting And Praying
Sometimes it's needful to avoid human presence and interaction when fasting and praying, but some of us are in a place where we deal with fellow humans day in, day out. So it's almost impossible to not talk to someone.
I believe there are many other things to avoid when fasting and praying. Although this list is not exhaustive (but just a comprehensive one) I do believe someone has learned a thing or two from all that has been said here.
God bless you.
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