What to Expect From a Fast
Excerpt from “You Are Not What You Weigh” by Lisa Bevere
1) Fasting Creates a New Hunger
When you fast ... you become hungry. At first, it may be
“So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.” ~Ezra 8:32hunger for food or whatever you are fasting from, but as the initial hunger pangs or longings cease, a new desire is formed. Fasting causes you to hunger in the midst of abundance.
2) Fasting Increases Sensitivity to God
“There was also a prophetess, Anna...she never left the temple but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem” ~Luke 2:36-38
From this account of the widow woman, Anna, we can see that fasting and prayer had developed such a keen sensitivity in her that she perceived the Christ child at only a few days old. She could hear clearly what God was saying.
3) Fasting Works Humility
“Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting. When my prayers returned to me unanswered...” ~Psalm 35:13
When we fast, we deny ourselves food; we often feel our natural strength waning. In our weakness, we find ourselves more dependent upon God. It is a confrontation with the flesh; a time when we deny it satisfaction and provision. It is a time of turning aside from what we can provide, and turning toward what God alone can give. This is often the setting for a confrontation between the spirit and the flesh. After forty days in the wilderness, Jesus was hungry physically; Satan came to tempt Him - to use His position as the Son of God to create bread from stone. But, instead, Jesus humbled Himself and answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” ~ Matthew 4:4
4) Fasting Chastens or Disciplines
“When I wept and chastened my soul with fasting that became my reproach.” ~Psalm 69:10
David maintained His spiritual life by means of bringing his body into subjection. Through self-inflicted chastening, we steady and strengthen our spiritual walk.
5) Fasting Changes Our Appetite
While fasting, you may find that God reveals a “change of plans” from what you are currently doing or even feel “called” to do. God often uses times of fasting and prayer to speak to the desires of our
“While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them’.” ~Acts 13:2hearts, and to reveal His purpose and destiny for our lives.
6) Fasting Increases Our Capacity
“Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” ~Esther 4:16
This fast prepared Esther to overcome the fear of man - and even greater, her fear of death. This fast increased her capacity for self-sacrifice while it imparted wisdom. The survival of a nation depended on her willingness to lay down her life. She knew it was more than she could face in her present condition with her present information, so she drew on God’s strength.
7) Fasting Brings Answers to Prayer
“Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and He will say: Here am I.” ~Isaiah 58:9
A godly fast will bring answered prayer. It is the atmosphere for answers to questions, direction, help, and the revelation of God. It is a time when He says, “Here I am...I’m over here. Come to me.” This revelation may come through His Word, or as a still small voice, or by a strong confirmation of what He has previously shown us.
8) Fasting Leads to Quick Healing
“Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear.” ~Isaiah 58:8
God set up the fast as a manner of healing His people - a time when the darkness of oppression, depression or infirmity is dispelled by light, such as the dawn. When this light breaks forth, healing soon follows. This could mean many things. It could be a revelation of sin, which, when repented of, allows healing to spring forth. It could mean a revelation of His will or Word, which brings healing and freedom where there was once darkness or ignorance. This healing could be physical, mental or spiritual.
Even natural medicine supports this - many illnesses occur in the digestive system. A short fast gives your body a chance to refocus its energies on healing instead of eating. (Please consult a physician before undertaking a fast if you are ill.)
9) Fasting Opens the Door to God’s Protection & Provision
“Then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard” ~Isaiah 58:8
God promised to be a guard before us and behind us. A fast renews your righteousness and sends it on before you. Then, as you give God the glory, He returns righteousness as your rear guard.
10) Fasting Looses Chains of Injustice
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke...”
The kind of fast God leads us into has the power to loose any unjust chains that bind us. It also unties the cords tethering us to any yoke. This application is not limited merely to a personal liberation for us - it represents God’s desire to see us reach out and loose the ties that bind others and remove the chains of oppression.
11) Fasting Frees the Oppressed & Breaks Every Yoke
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke”
A fast is a time when we take our eyes off of ourselves and our own needs and look around at the oppression and pain of others. In response, we learn to reach out in compassion and help - becoming agents of healing.
Jesus said that His yoke was easy and His burden was light. When we are carrying a burden other than His; it is cumbersome, awkward and heavy. There is nothing more frustrating than feeling responsible for something over which you have no authority. It will weigh you down with hopelessness and frustration. During a fast, God checks these areas in our lives and exposes the yokes of fear, worry, stress, and turmoil. He removes them and readjusts His yoke for our life, the one that keeps us dependent upon Him. If you’re feeling weighed down perhaps you are carrying too much.
12) Fasting Motivates Us to Provide Food for the Needy
“Is it not to share your food with the hungry...” ~Isaiah 58:7
The benefit is obvious - if you are not eating because of a fast, then you are free to share your portion with those less fortunate. Maybe you should give away any food lingering in your refrigerator or pantry that has a significant pull on you. Share with someone else, but don’t proclaim or herald your fast... just give it to them.
Fasting is Not a Burden - It’s a Privilege
Fasting is intimate and private. It originates in the secret place between you and God. He waits in the secret place for you to join Him. After we visit Him in secret, He will reward us openly. Inward transformation brings about an outward anointing, blessing, and provision. Inward transformation positions us for the promotion of the Lord. He will:
Prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
~ Psalm 23:5-6