What’s all this talk about fasting and why should I do it? I can understand this question. I didn’t grow up in a home where fasting was big. Dieting? Oh, yes! My mother tried everything the experts could dream up in the 1960s and 1970s. Dieting didn’t seem too effective, and we always had so many grapefruits around during these diets.
I had read Richard Foster’s classic book, Celebration of Discipline, when it first came out in 1978. My goal wasn’t to improve my walk with God; I wanted my prayers to get quicker results. I think I believed fasting would underline and bold my particular prayer requests as they went to heaven. Over time I came to understand that God did indeed hear all my prayer requests, even if they didn’t get answered right away. Maybe through fasting, I learned that prayer requests that involved people needed the people to “want to” change their lives to align with God’s purposes for their lives. This process could take a long time. It wasn’t that God didn’t want the same thing I was praying. God allows people to come to the point of wanting what God wants for their lives in their time frame. Often, this explained the time delays.
All the while, I continued fasting. I learned there were many benefits to fasting. The challenges would come and go. Problems would get solved. The fasting discipline stayed and continues to be part of my life.
Fasting brings me closer to God. My intimacy with God increases. After a day of fasting, scriptures jump off the page and into my heart. I feel God is personally involved in my life. Fasting brings about heart changes in me. I’ve learned I can love my enemies. I love the people I thought I loved with a deeper and no-strings-attached kind of love. I enter into the process of receiving more of God’s heart in mine for others.
I fast when problems seem so overwhelming that I don’t know where to begin praying. A good example of this is praying for my state and national governments. I pray for the laws to have the people’s interests at heart. I pray for godly and life giving principles to be part of lawmaking. I pray for supernatural wisdom for our political decision makers.
I fast when I am engaged in a spiritual battle and the good side needs more prayer support. This is for situations where the circumstances seem beyond my control. It also applies to situations for friends that need prayer support in spiritual battles.