Why should you fast? Here are some reasons, supported from the Bible, which may help you to see the power of fasting (going without food).
Jesus Fasted – and We Should Follow Jesus’ Example
Jesus fasted and spoke the Word of God to overcome Satan (See Matthew 4:1-10; Luke 4:1-13). Fasting combined with the speaking or confessing of God’s Word is extremely powerful. We are to live, not by bread – natural food – alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. By suppressing the flesh and the voice of the flesh, we are more likely to hear and value the word that comes from God’s mouth. Also, if our mouths are consecrated and belong to God, then there will be power and spiritual life that comes out of our own speaking of the Word of God.
Fasting Brings Spiritual Power
Jesus fasted to begin his public ministry, and have the power of God and the anointing (Luke 4:14). Jesus after being baptized in water was full of the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:1), but only after his fast was he full of the power of the Holy Spirit (vs 14). This helps us to account for the fact that many Christians today are “spirit-filled” and pray in tongues, but don’t manifest much power.
Fasting to Prepares ourselves to Cast out Demons
Jesus in Matthew 17:21 (KJV and NKJV) mentioned that a certain kind of demon only comes out through prayer and fasting. Jesus had done his fasting beforehand, so He was fully ready to cast out the most obstinate kinds of demons. Like Jesus, we must fast at times – and hopefully do at least one long fast – if we want to be fully effective in deliverance ministry (and in healing ministry). You can go to a certain level without fasting, but not to the level of greatest effectiveness. People need help – they are suffering greatly – so hopefully we will love God and people enough to go the extra mile here.
Prophets Fasted for Revelation – We Can Too
Few of us are really “prophets” in the New Testament sense. But we can all become more prophetic by growing in revelation knowledge. Fasting prepares the heart for revelation. The greatest prophets in the Bible all fasted.
Elijah was discouraged and needed to fast 40 days before he heard God’s voice again (1 Kings 19:8). Sometimes, like Elijah, we can become discouraged or even depressed. The cure is fresh revelation and assignment from God. But often fasting is the step that prepares us to hear God again.
Moses fasted to receive the Ten Commandments and the Law of God, and to see God’s glory and goodness. Moses waited before the Lord on the mountain, and eventually was invited to enter the place of God’s glory. Moses really did two forty day fasts in rapid succession, which were supernatural in nature. But this time at Sinai was very important in the history of Israel as a nation. Moses also got the revelation of the design of the tabernacle during this time. It is believed by some, though not explicitly stated in the Bible, that God showed Moses these things in heaven. We do know from the book of Hebrews that the tabernacle items were copies of things in heaven. If Moses did visit heaven or see heaven in a vision, then it is more evidence fasting also can prepare us for supernatural visitations.
Fasting Prepares for Apostolic Mission
The elders, prophets and teachers in Antioch fasted and ministered to God, which resulted in the launching of Paul and Barnabas’ apostolic ministry to the Gentiles (Acts 13:2,3). Likewise we should fast and pray before getting involved in full time ministry and mission work.
Jesus says to us in Matthew 6:16, “When you fast…” not “If you fast”. A true disciple of the Lord will fast at times.
God made it clear through the prophet Joel that the last days outpouring of the Spirit will be in proportion to our fasting and crying out to God in humility, hunger and repentance. (Joel 1:5; Joel 2:12).
Even wicked King Ahab’s fast moved God so that he did not bring full judgment down on him in his own lifetime (1 Kings 21:27).
Fasting for Protection and Success of a Mission
Ezra the priest fasted for God’s protection while carrying valuable things for God’s temple. We too can fast for God’s protection. (Ezra 8:21-23). Are you living in a house or a neighborhood where there is a serious risk of being attacked? I believe that through fasting God sends angels to help us (see Daniel 10:12) and these angels are capable of stopping demonic inspired crimes.
In conclusion, we should fast because in doing so we are following the example of Jesus Christ – the apostles, and the true prophets of God. Fasting brings spiritual power by subduing the flesh so that the Holy Spirit can rule. Fasting helps in the casting out of demons. It helps us to receive revelation from God. It prepares for apostolic mission, and it is a powerful appeal to God for protection and the success of a mission.