- JRM Sydney
OVERWHELMING VICTORY in 2023
Updated: Jan 1
10 Days Prayer and Fasting 2023
I believe that many Christians fail to tap into one of the most powerful and rewarding spiritual reservoirs we have at our disposal — FASTING. And it’s often because we don’t know much about this important command for Christ’s followers. This article is devoted to sharing with you the “what,” “why,” “how” and “when” of this important Scriptural discipline so you can put it into action for your life. If you’ve never fasted or want to know more about it, this should cover the basics for you.
There are some Christians who believe that fasting should no longer be practiced under the new covenant. But there is definitely a place for fasting under the new covenant. The apostle Paul talked about fasting and described instances where he had fasted in Acts 14:23 and 27:21, and 2 Corinthians 11:27. The Lord Jesus Himself taught us in Matthew 6 that fasting is expectedly a part of a Christian's spiritual disciplines and one of the great secrets of Kingdom living.
WHAT IS FASTING?
Biblical fasting is giving up specific foods and drinks for a specified number of days. The type and length of the fast you choose are between you and God, and should not be determined by what anyone else is doing. (See specific Types of Fasts below.) Our JRM global family usually starts the year with a 21 Days Prayer and Fasting season as a gesture of seeking God first before anything else at the start the year. Whilst we participate in it too, we have special occasions by which we would like to consecrate ourselves and prepare for a new season that the Lord is ushering us through by His Spirit. And our annual Family Camp is usually one of those "season markers" that we have in the last quarter of the year. Fasting, prayer, and reading God’s Word go hand in hand. When you fast, also pray for God’s purpose and plan for your life to be revealed. Fast and pray about every major decision in your life.
Simply put, fasting is a way to conquer the physical and open the door to the supernatural in your life. When you deny your body, you feed your spirit, strengthen it and grow closer to the Lord.
Firstly, fasting under the new covenant is a time of expressed devotion that you have with the Lord. And like all other areas of your life, the Lord will lead and guide you on whether to fast or when to fast. Fasting should be something you practice out of an intimate relationship with the Lord. It’s a beautiful thing to honor the Lord with your appetites.
Also, in Matthew 6, Jesus gave us specific directions on how to live as children of God. That pattern addressed three specific disciplines of a Christian: Giving, Praying and Fasting. Jesus said, “When you give,” “when you pray,” “when you fast.” He made it clear that fasting, like giving and praying, was a normal part of the Christian life.
I believe that when all three disciplines—giving, praying, and fasting—are at work in your life, you release the power of God fully in areas of your life to a whole new level. It’s much like the lesson Jesus taught in Mark 4:80. When you pray, you release the thirty-fold return. Praying and giving releases a sixty-fold blessing. But when you pray, give and fast, you will see a hundred-fold return!
Remember that God does not owe you anything when you fast. Just like he doesn't owe you anything when you give or when you pray. All these are expressions of our desire to honor and worship Him and grow closer to Him. The greatest reward of fasting is not the answered prayer itself, but the depth of closeness of our heart to His as a result of seeking Him and submitting to Him; and the transformation and strength it produces in our soul and spirit.
HOW DO I FAST?
Before beginning a fast, write down a plan and make a verbal commitment to the Lord. When you approach it with determination, you’ll be less likely to waiver in weak moments. You may be surprised to find that fasting is not as daunting as you may think. But if you do find it to be a battle, don’t lose heart, God knows your weaknesses. His fasting principles allow you the flexibility to take care of your job and duties while still making a decision to honor Him through fasting. (see Fasting Q&A below)
If the traditional full fast has always made you shy away from this important principle, you may be surprised to know that there are actually many different types of fasts. Find the fast or combination of fasts that fits your needs. For example, if you choose to go on a 21-day fast, you may want to begin with a full fast for 1-3 days and then continue with a Daniel Fast or some other type of partial fast for the remainder of the 21 days. No matter which fasts you decide, you must always remember to consult your doctor and drink lots of water.
In my personal experience, there are times when I get so caught up with studying and reading the Word of God and praying in my own personal devotional time that I end up fasting unconsciously. There will come a point in your walk with God that it becomes as natural as well as other spiritual disciplines you have developed.
Also, be careful not to practice fasting legalistically or to judge and condemn others whom you may perceive to be less devoted to the Lord than you are. By all means, fast, but do it with grace, joy, revelation, and humility.
TYPES OF FASTS
Drink only liquids – especially water. On this type of fast you may also take in clear broth and 100 percent fruit or vegetable juices in order to maintain your strength. You establish the number of days for your fast in your prayer time. Be sure to consult your doctor.
There are many options for partial fasts. Below are just a few for you to select from:
Daniel Fast: The most frequently used example of a partial fast, found in Daniel, chapter 10, the Daniel Fast is a fast from meats, sweets, bread, and any drink, except water, for a specific time period (Daniel 10:2-3). The easiest way to think of this fast is you should eat vegetables, fruits, and plant-based foods; drink only water or natural juices. Be sure to consult your doctor, especially if you have any medical condition.
The following are examples of other types of partial fasts. But remember, the type of fast you select is what you and the Lord agree upon.
give up one item of food or drink such as caffeine, coffee, soft drinks, or sweets or give up one meal.
fast for a specific number of days . . . one day, three days, and so on.
choose to fast on an 8-hour or 12-hour window, i.e. 6 AM to 2 PM; 10 AM to 6 PM; or 2 PM to 10 PM; or from sun-up to sundown. When doing this type of fast, consider your work and sleep schedule. The hours that you sleep should not be considered part of your fasting period, so the timeframe for this type of fast may vary.
The Lord speaks of Private fasts and Corporate fasts in Scripture:
A Corporate fast is a joint fast of believers for a specific purpose that
can yield powerful results. Although this fast involves others, it is also very much a “private and personal experience.” Esther called all of her people to fast for protection against danger (Esther 4:16). Samuel declared a fast for national revival (1 Samuel 7). Ezra called for a fast for the nation's restoration, etc.
WHEN SHOULD YOU FAST?
If you want to make fasting a way of life, work out a plan for the entire year to include days or meals to fast that work into your lifestyle. You may decide to fast one day a month or one meal a week. You may even decide to do a partial fast for one week every other month. Options are endless. There are also other unexpected times that you may feel a need to fast—during family struggles, financial problems, major decisions, etc. Specific times when you need to capture and focus on God's heartbeat; His purpose and direction in your life.
Here are some of the most-asked questions about fasting:
Wherever you are in life or whatever your needs today, fasting can benefit you personally, your family, and your ministry. If you are struggling with your health or finances, if you need a breakthrough in a major aspect of your life; fasting is a powerful spiritual tool. Maybe you need specific guidance and direction from God or supernatural intervention for your family. Fasting is a private discipline with public rewards. It is the spiritual key in certain seasons and situations of your life. Whatever your season in life, release the benefits of fasting into your needs.
***Excerpts from Jentezen Franklin, Tony Evans, Joseph Prince, Mike Bickle, and E. M. Bounds.