The Disciplines of Prayer and Fasting

            The disciplines of prayer and fasting are not reduced to a formula or a hoop that we are to jump through as if we are in a kind of spiritual circus. Nor are they physical tests or exercises in mental discipline. True prayer and fasting are attitudes of the heart and cries of the soul. God’s Word has a strong rebuke for those who fast for the wrong reasons or in an improper manner.

Improper Reasons/Motives

Prayer and fasting are improper when a person seeks…

  • To fulfill selfish desires and ambitions.
  • To attempt to manipulate God.
  • To elevate one’s status or personal agenda.
  • To promote false piety, legalism, or religious duty.

Improper Manner

Prayer and fasting are improper when they…

  • Draw attention to personal glorification.
  • Are attempted without sufficient seriousness and respect.
  • Are conducted while intentionally continuing in sin.
  • Are conducted continuing to pursue selfish desires
  • Are conducted while harboring improper, ungodly attitudes.
  • Are conducted without drawing aside daily and dedicating ample time for sincere seeking, quiet communion, and devoted prayer with God.

God Honoring Fast

            The bible is filled with references to the prayers and fasting of His people. Jesus, by His example and His teaching, demonstrates that prayer and fasting are important and integral ingredients in the lives of His followers. One purpose of prayer and fasting is to bring our hearts to a place of being filled with a sacrificial love that results in godly attitudes in our lives. True fasting will draw us closer to God and His purposes.

            Fasting brings a sharp focus to the dramatic difference between our physical and spiritual natures. Eating is one of the most fundamental things we do as physical beings. One of the most natural desires is for food. Without proper nourishment we die. By exercising our wills and depriving ourselves of food we love for spiritual purposes, we acknowledge our spiritual natures and honor our Creator. When we deny the natural for the purpose of calling upon God to do the supernatural, He will enable and empower us to experience the supernatural. True spiritual fasting will result in submission and devotion to God.

God Blesses Us When Our Prayer And Fasting…

  • Focus on Him and honor Him. (Although you will receive spiritual blessings, these are not proper motives for fasting.)
  • Have spiritual purposes. (Although you may realize certain physical benefits, these are not proper motives for spiritual fasting, e.g. for weight loss purposes.)
  • Cause individuals to humble themselves and submit to the authority of God and His word.
  • Cause individuals to acknowledge and repent of sin.
  • Deprive our natural desires and lusts to focus on the spiritual.

Even when we honor God by praying and fasting, this does not mean that He will grant everything on our wish and whim list. God will only work and bless in ways that are consistent with His will and purpose. One of the primary functions of prayer and fasting is to help us discover what His ordained purposes and will are for our lives.

Taken from  The Power of Prayer and Fasting – Ronnie W. Floyd

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