Praying While Fasting

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Praying while fasting adds an element of depth to the spirituality and amazing power that fasting promotes. According to the Bible, Christians have long prayed while fasting. From Old Testament readings where Moses fasted to New Testament readings where Jesus himself fasted for forty days in the desert, it has long been a Christian practice to abstain from food and devote time to deep prayer. While some secular fasts don't include the option of prayer, fasts throughout Christianity do.

1 History

The Bible offers many examples of praying while fasting.

Bring an added dimension to your act of fasting by adding prayer to the event. Christians believe that the combination of prayer and the act of fasting will result in a life transformation brought on by the Holy Spirit. It is also believed that when fasting and prayer are combined for purely unselfish reasons, God hears these petitions from Heaven. He then heals lives, churches, communities, and nations.

2 Significance

Prayer deepens the meaning of the act of fasting.

Fasting was expected during both Old Testament and New Testament times. Jesus fasted for 40 days and often reminded his disciples to fast as well. Moses fasted for at least two 40 day periods according to the Bible. King David says in the Psalms, "I humble myself through fasting." It is said to be a way to cleanse one's soul and petition the Lord with requests of prayers.

People sometimes fast when serious issues arise, such as the serious illness of a loved on, a problem within the church or an issue within a community. Many Christians prayed and fasted in an effort to seek God's will for the most recent Presidential election.

People fast when in mourning as well. They also fast when they are ashamed of sinful behavior that pains God.

"I proclaimed a fast...that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a straight way for ourselves, our children, and all our goods." That's from Ezra 8:21,23 and 31.

3 Considerations

Christians are instructed to pray while fasting.

Fasting has gained unpopular notoriety in recent times. Some people feel it isn't healthy. People shouldn't fast if they aren't in good physical health. People should not fast if they are pregnant and/or nursing, Those unable to participate in the physical aspect of fasting for these reasons are heartily encouraged to prays for those who are fasting. Praying for those who are fasting is as important as the prayers of those who are actually doing it. In fact, many church groups or Bible study groups assemble groups of people to pray specifically for the strong will and endurance of those fasting. It is believed that such prayers increase the resolve of those taking action, making it less uncomfortable to complete the set amount of fasting time.

4 Considerations

Fasting draws believers nearer to God.

Fasting, in its truest sense, involves abstaining from food for a determined amount of time. Praying is done simultaneously. There are 92 examples of praying while fasting in the Bible. During the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:16-18), Jesus gave specific instructions on fasting. These guidelines included the act of praying while fasting. While not all fasts lasted for forty days, the implication of praying throughout the entire endeavor is certainly stressed.

People can set their own time frame and duration for fasting. Preparing in advance for fasting includes hydrating the body properly and planning on how often water will be ingested. In addition, many people plan to read Bible passages and "pray the Scriptures." The people then say their own prayers as well.

5 Considerations

Fasting without prayer becomes an empty experience.

Engaging in the act of fasting serves additional purposes. Confession and repentance are required when seeking to draw closer to God. Through acts of fasting combined with prayers of contrition, it is said that this may be accomplished.

People also fast as a way of responding to the love that God has bestowed upon us. Praying prayers of praise and thanksgiving show God that we are truly earnest in our relationship with him. It shows that we are making a sacrifice in light of the blessings we have already received.

6 Benefits

Praying while fasting obviously goes hand in hand. One isn't as completely effective or deeply meaningful without the other. While people do pray daily without fasting, they shouldn't be fasting without praying. If this occurs, the deeper meaning of the act is somehow negated. According to the Book of Jeremiah, Chapter 29, verse 13, we will find God when we seek Him with all of our hearts. By encouraging intercession by the Holy Spirit, it is believed that one cannot come any closer to God Himself than through selfless fasting combined with earnest prayer.

Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, N.H. She has authored five books and hundreds of articles and short stories. Her work has appeared various publications, including "Parenting," "Writer’s Digest," "Vacations" and "Discovery Travel." She studied at the University of Maine and later pursued her writing studies through numerous classes and workshops.