There are many reasons to fast; but the motive in a fast cannot be that God will find favor with you because you gave up your favorite candy bar. The motive must be the realization that the world has crowded in around you and you need to withdraw yourself from some of these things to focus more of your time, attention, and desire towards seeking a deeper relationship with God and commitment to His will. It all comes down to the intent of your heart.
Fasting has the potential for significant impact in our lives. Through fasting and prayer, the Holy Spirit can transform your life personally and God can speak to you in new and dynamic ways.
Fasting and prayer can also work on a much grander scale. According to Scripture, when God’s people fast with a proper Biblical motive—with a broken, repentant, and contrite spirit—God will hear from heaven and heal our lives, our churches, our communities, our nation, and our world. Fasting and prayer can bring about revival – a change in the direction of our nation, the nations of earth and the fulfillment of the Great Commission. This will be an emphasis in this particular 21 Day Fast.
The Bible gives examples of God's people combining fasting with prayers so as to stir up their zeal and renew their dedication and commitment to Him, which is called personal revival. King David wrote that he "humbled [him]self with fasting" (Psalm 35:13). Fasting is a means of getting our minds back on the reality that we are not self-sufficient. Fasting helps us realize just how fragile we are and how much we depend on things beyond ourselves.
The Bible records that great men of faith such as Moses, Elijah, Daniel, Paul, and Jesus, Himself, fasted so that they might draw closer to God (Exodus 34:28; 1 Kings 19:8; Daniel 9:3; Daniel 10:2-3; 2 Corinthians 11:27; Matthew 4:2). Jesus knew that once He was no longer with them in the flesh, His disciples would need to fast at times to regain and renew their zeal to serve Him (Mark 2:18-20).
James tells us, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you" (James 4:8). Constant prayer and occasional fasting helps us to experience this.
Here are some other facts about fasting …
- Fasting was an expected discipline in both the Old and New Testament eras.
- Fasting and prayer can restore the loss of our “first love” for Christ and result in a more intimate relationship with Him. (Revelation 2:4-5).
- Fasting is a Biblical way to truly humble yourself in the sight of God (Psalm 35:13; Ezra 8:21). King David said, “I humble myself through fasting.”
- Fasting enables the Holy Spirit to reveal your true spiritual condition, resulting in brokenness, repentance, and a transformed life. (Psalm 51).
- The Holy Spirit will quicken the Word of God in your heart and His truth will become more meaningful to you! (Nehemiah 9:1-3).
- Fasting and prayer opens our hearts and minds to receive wisdom and guidance from God. (Ezra 8:21, 23).
- Fasting and prayer is a way we minister to, honor, and worship God. (Luke 2:37, Acts 13:2).
- Fasting can transform your prayer life into a richer and more personal experience. (1 Corinthians 7:5, Acts 13:2).
- Fasting can result in a dynamic personal revival in your own life – and make you a channel of revival to others. (Isaiah 58:6-7).
- When you fast, you will discover more time to pray and seek God’s face. And as He leads you to recognize and repent of unconfessed sin, you will experience special blessings from God. (Nehemiah 9:1-3).
- Through fasting and prayer and seeking God’s mercy, He has promised to spare nations (our nation?) from His wrath and heal them of their wickedness. (Jonah 3:5, Joel 2:12-13; 2 Chronicles 7:14).
- God uses fasting and prayer to grant favor with those in authority (even unbelievers) so that His will can be accomplished through them. (Esther 4:15-17).
- God uses fasting and prayer to supernaturally protect His people. (Ezra 8:21-23, Esther 4:16; 5:2).
- God uses fasting and prayer to call out, commission and empower spiritual leaders in the church. (Acts 13:1-3; 14:23).
- There is a special power in fasting when combined with prayer and faith. God chooses to do through fasting and prayer what prayer alone will not.
Matthew 17:19-21 NKJV
Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, "Why could we not cast this demon out?" 20So Jesus said to them, "Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. 21However, this kind does not go out except by prayer AND fasting."
(Although some translations omit “and fasting,” it is my belief - and that of many scholars - that this passage makes little sense without these words. The disciples prayed when they attempted to cast the demon from this boy. Prayer alone was not enough. What was missing that had the God-appointed capacity to give a greater power to their prayers? Fasting!).