What is Prayer & Fasting?
The Bible describes four major types of fasting:
A REGULAR FAST – Traditionally, a regular fast means refraining from eating all food. Most people still drink water or juice during a regular fast. When Jesus fasted in the desert, the Bible says, “After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.” This verse does not mention Jesus being thirsty.
A PARTIAL FAST – This type of fast generally refers to omitting a specific meal from your diet or refraining from certain types of foods. Daniel 10:2-3 says, “At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks (21 days). I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips, and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.” Certain foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, salads, or anything that is grown naturally can be consumed. This is called a “Daniel Fast.”
A FULL FAST – These fasts are complete – no food and no drink. Moses fasted like this 40 days, as did Elijah and Jesus. Acts 9:9 describes when Paul went on a full fast for three days following his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus: “For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.” Esther also called for this type of fast in Esther 4:15-16.
Prayer and Fasting – A Definition
Prayer and fasting is defined as voluntarily going without food in order to focus on prayer, the study of God’s Word (spiritual bread), and fellowship with God. Prayer and fasting often go hand in hand, but this is not always the case. It is when these two activities are combined and dedicated to God’s glory that they reach their full effectiveness. Having a dedicated time of prayer and fasting is not a way of manipulating God into doing what you desire. Rather, it is simply forcing yourself to focus and rely on God for the strength, provision, and wisdom you need.
Prayer and Fasting – What the Bible Says
The Law of Moses, in the Old Testament, specifically required prayer and fasting for only one occasion, which was the Day of Atonement. This custom became known as “the day of fasting” (Jeremiah 36:6) or “the Fast” (Acts 27:9). Moses (as did Elijah and Jesus) fasted during the 40 days and 40 nights he was on Mount Sinai receiving the law from God (Exodus 34:28) in connection to the Day of Atonement (a time of fasting and national repentance). King Jehoshaphat called for a fast in all Israel when they were about to be attacked by the Moabites and Ammonites (2 Chronicles 20:3). In response to Jonah’s preaching, the men of Nineveh fasted and put on sackcloth (Jonah 3:5). Nehemiah prayed and fasted for Jerusalem’s will in ruin (Nehemiah 1:4).
Prayer and fasting also occur in the New Testament. Anna “worshipped night and day, fasting and praying” at the Temple (Luke 2:37). John the Baptist taught his disciples to fast (Mark 2:18). Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights before His temptation by Satan (Matthew 4:2), during the season of fasting and repentance that Jews observe before the Day of Atonement. The church of Antioch fasted (Acts 13:2) and sent Paul and Barnabas off on their first missionary journey (Acts 13:3). Paul and Barnabas spent time in prayer and fasting for the appointment of elders in the churches (Acts 14:23).
Prayer and Fasting – What Does it Accomplish?
Release of Spiritual Power in your personal life
Release of Spiritual Power in your ministry
Release of Spiritual Power to break the power of the Delayer in your life
Release of Spiritual Blessings over your life
7 Main Purposes for Fasting – Isaiah 58:6-11
Fasting to get freedom from addictions– (Verse 6) Loose the Bonds
Fasting to solve problems– (Verse 6) Undo heavy burdens
Fasting for revival and soul-winning- (Verse 6) Let the oppressed go free
Fasting to conquer mental and emotional problems(Verse 6) Break every yoke
Fasting to meet the physical needs of others- (Verse 7) Give to the poor and needy
Fasting for clearer insight in decision– (Verse 8) Light shall come forth (Illumination)
Fasting for Health and healing- (Verse 8) Check with your physician for medical approval
21 Days of Prayer & Fasting
“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
Joel 2:12 NIV
“The Lord says, “I will give you back what you lost…”
Joel 2:25 NLT
“Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty…”
Malachi 3:7 NIV
WEEK 1: RETURN TO OUR FOCUS ON JESUS
Monday: Worshipping Him – John 4:23
Tuesday: Surrendered to Him – Romans 12:1
Wednesday: Dependence on Him – Zechariah 4:6
Thursday: Committed to Him – Proverbs 3:6
Friday: Obeying Him – 1 John 5:3
Saturday: Experiencing Him – 2 Corinthians 3:16-18
WEEK 2: RETURN TO GOD’S WORK IN ME
Monday: Freedom from Bondage – Galatians 5:1
Tuesday: Healing from Disease – Isaiah 53:5
Wednesday: Vision for My Life – Habakkuk 2:2-3
Thursday: Blessing over Trouble – Philippians 4:19
Friday: Victory over the Enemy – 1 Corinthians 10:3-5
Saturday: Miracles for the Impossible – Matthew 19:26
WEEK 3: RETURN TO OUR MISSION TOGETHER
Monday: Revival in Our Nation – 2 Chronicles 7:14
Tuesday: Building of Our Church – Matthew 16:18
Wednesday: Fighting for Our Families – Nehemiah 4:14
Thursday: Reaching Our Sphere of Influence – Acts 1:8
Friday: Salvation for Our Generation – 2 Peter 3:9