Fasting and Prayer

Fasting and Prayer

Read this article to know all about Christian fasting and prayer which will enable you to share a closer and stronger bond with the almighty God. Read on...
"Jesus has many lovers of His kingdom of heaven, but he has few bearers of His Cross. Many desire His consolation, but few desire His tribulation. He finds many comrades in eating and drinking, but He finds few hands who will be with Him in His abstinence and fasting... But those who love Jesus purely for Himself, and not for their own profit or convenience, bless Him as heartily in temptation and tribulation and in all other adversities as they do in time of consolation. And if He never sent them consolation, they would still bless and praise Him." ~ Thomas A Kempis

Fasting and prayer is something that is encouraged by the Holy Bible in various chapters. The Lord encourages us to fast and pray to build a deeper bonding with Him. It's not that He won't listen to your prayers if you don't fast, for sure He will! The power of prayers cannot be neglected! But, what is important is the reason behind your praying and fasting. There are many believers in Christ who pray but don't fast. On the contrary, there are some who fast in body but not in mind! Before you decide to fast and pray, you need to prepare yourself for the same, both physically and mentally. Below is a short guide that will inform you about the important stages and steps that you may encounter on the path of fasting and praying with Christ. Have a look!

Christian Fasting and Prayer Guide

The process of getting spiritually close to the Lord can be very challenging, especially for the believers who are fasting for the first time. There are various types of fasting that believers choose to follow. This includes fasting for a single meal, fasting for 24 hrs, and the 40 days fasting which is done by many Christians during the time of lent. You need the inner strength, for which you should seek the help of the Holy Spirit. The journey of fasting is divided into 3 parts. First, preparing yourself to fast and pray; second, during your fasting and praying; and third, ending your fasting, but continuing your prayers. These are explained as under.

Preparing Yourself to Fast and Pray
If you think you have a strong reason, and a stronger will power to be able to take your cross and walk the footsteps of Jesus in terms of fasting and praying; if you think that the almighty God has called you to follow his footsteps; and if you seek and believe that He will help you in the journey, it's time to prepare yourself! Have a look as to how you can do that.

Determine the reason behind your fasting and prayer. Tell the Lord the motive behind your stand. Ask Him to give you the strength to successfully finish the process, and ask Him to answer your prayers under God's will. Another important thing that you need to do before you start walking the steps of the Lord, is to lay off your burden. By burden I mean the burden of sins and grudges that you hold within you. Fasting and praying is a medium of spiritual healing, which is not possible without forgiving others, and most importantly, forgiving yourself. Therefore, confess your sins, and make it a point that you forgive others as well.

Commit in front of the Lord in terms of how do you plan to fast. Whether you plan to do it for a day, a meal, few days, several weeks, or for the entire 40 days, which is usually the case during the lent season. Also, tell Him the kind of fast you are planning to keep. For instance, will it be a water only fast, or water with fruits and vegetable juices. How many hours will you pray in a day, and what all activities will you let go during the fasting period.

Preparing yourself both physically and spiritually is also important! If you are new to fasting, don't jump into it all of a sudden. Start eating small portions of your meals and start eating raw fruits and vegetables at least 2-3 days before starting the actual fast. Also, start devoting more time in prayer and meditation. It is necessary to give you the inner strength to successfully continue and complete your fast.

During Your Fasting and Praying
"When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." ~ Matthew 6:16-18.

As said by Mathew in the above verse, you need to fast and pray with an enthusiasm which shows that you are enjoying the journey of being close to God in mind and spirit! Fasting and prayer gives you immense strength spiritually, and things start falling into place by the increased faith that you put in the lord God. But beware of the Satan as he tries to tempt you by putting your bodily needs before your spiritual ones. Many a time, it so happens that you tend to fall ill during fasting which makes you stumble on the road to Christ. Be determined and focused in mind and ask the Holy Spirit to help you overcome temptation, just like Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights before His temptation by Satan (Matthew 4:2). This is what you need to do.

Avoid drugs and unnecessary medication. Limit your social and physical activities, this includes watching television, if that's possible for you. Try to spend as much time as you can in praying and meditating. Also exercise moderately as your excess activities might make you feel hungry and tired.

The first 3 days are the hardest when it comes to keeping fast. This is also the time when the devil tempts you the most to quit and to find excuses to let go! Therefore, prepare yourself for some mental and physical discomforts which includes hunger pains, dizziness, mental discomforts, crankiness, headaches, tiredness, etc. It is advisable to increase your liquid intake which helps get some relief in such situations.

Follow a set schedule of getting up, drinking juices and praying. Avoid consuming caffeine, chewing gum, or mints; as all these things stimulate the digestive action in your body. Stick to drinking natural juices as they will help you lift up the hunger and also give your body essential nutrients that are required.

And the most important thing to do during this phase is to pray, pray, and pray. There is no other source which can give you all the spiritual strength and peace that you need, to be successful in an endeavor as challenging as this. Devote a significant time in meditation. Read inspirational verses from the Bible, join group meditations and prayers. All these activities would definitely help in renewing your energy and enthusiasm in the process.

Ending Your Fasting and Continuing Your Prayers
Fasting is occasional, while praying is continuous. Praying is the only way to speak with God, to convey to Him what we seek. A mixture of fasting and praying makes us stronger in spirituality and faith, it enables us to not only convey, but also to speak with God and praise His glory! Overcoming temptations and being steady in keeping your fast is an achievement in itself. It is also important to properly end the fast. Make sure you do it the following way!

Do not start consuming proper meals and solid food immediately after your body is used to the liquid diet. This can prove harmful to the body! Start with eating fruits like watermelon and oranges. Slowly start adding raw fruit and vegetable salad to the diet on the first day, and consequently start adding boiled potatoes and steamed vegetables from the days that follow, and finally start eating solid meal from the fourth or the fifth day!

So these were the steps that one needs to follow when fasting and praying. It is a way to empower your spirit and your belief in the powers of God. The entire process helps you understand the plans that God has for you and how your prayers and fasting can help influence and inspire many other believers who still need to work on strengthening their bond with Jesus Christ. I hope this article enlightened your mind to walk in the way of the Lord with joy, hope and grace. Amen.