Have you set an intention to grow spiritually this year? While there are many strategies to make that happen, I want to advocate that you try fasting for spiritual growth.
To weigh in on the subject is my friend and fellow blogger, Tiffany Montgomery of Hope Joy in Christ. Tiffany recently published, “A Beginners Guide to Pray and Fast: Taking Spiritual Warfare to the Next Level“. In it, she candidly shares her experience with fasting for spiritual growth as well as reviewing the Biblical reasons to fast. It’s a dynamic combo that connects the reader to the practice of fasting and praying and equips them to honestly consider adding the discipline their spiritual practice.
Without further ado, here’s Tiffany’s encouragement for you today!
3 Reasons You Should Be Fasting for Spiritual Growth
When you were saved, something amazing happened in your heart and soul. The old man/woman was replaced with a new man/woman. The Holy Spirit of God took up residence in your person and began the process of sanctifying you – making you holy like God is holy.
How long ago was that? Do you remember the passion, the fire, that came at salvation?
- You longed to read the Bible.
- Prayer was a passionate part of your daily life.
- Everyone who knew you heard about Jesus.
- Being involved in Church was your top priority.
- You were sensitive to the voice of God and convicted of sin easily.
Are those things still true of your life today?
Most days, it feels like a chore to read the Bible, prayers become endless unanswered lists, some days you act more like the lost world that Jesus, It’s hard to prioritize church and some sins are now habitual.
Oh, I’m talking about me… but if that’s you too then you are in the right place.
The backslidden state of your spiritual life is not a surprise to God. In fact, He knew we would need a way to draw near to Him and grow spiritually again.
These are 3 reasons we all should be fasting for spiritual growth.
Reason #1 to Fast for Spiritual Growth: Jesus Said We Should Fast
There are many reasons to fast and pray and fast for spiritual growth, but the first should always be obedience to God.
“Then the disciples of John *came to Him, asking, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “The attendants of the bridegroom cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast” (Matthew 9:14-15 NASB emphasis mine)
If God said His disciples WILL do something, and I am a disciple of His, then I had better learn how to do it. Wouldn’t you agree?
The early Christian church would have understood the spiritual benefits of fasting. Their culture still regularly practiced a time of fasting. The 21st Century Church has sadly lost touch with the practice so I will explain it a bit for you.
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What is Fasting and Prayer?
LOL, maybe I should actually start with, “What is fasting?”
“Fasting is setting aside the things of earth that you seek for satisfaction, in order to seek satisfaction from God” ~A Beginners Guide to Pray and Fast: Taking Spiritual Warfare to the Next Level by Tiffany Montgomery
What do you seek for satisfaction? Are there things you turn to before you turn to God for help, comfort, direction, protection, or hope?
Maybe you seek satisfaction from chocolate, or social media, a best friend or a habit like knitting. Anything you seek for satisfaction can be given up for a set time in order to pray for spiritual growth!
How to Fast According to the Bible
In the Bible, we see many types of spiritual fasting and we don’t have time to cover them all. You can read more about How to Fast and Pray in a Way that Pleases God here.
The point of fasting is to humble yourself and seek God. There are actually many reasons to fast beyond spiritual growth, but spiritual growth will be the result no matter what.
I recommend beginning with a 3-day spiritual fast. Honestly, you may have no idea what you seek for satisfaction. It could be helpful to make a list of the things you believe fit that description and simply try them out. After you find the thing prompted you to pray the most often, plan a 3-day spiritual fast from that thing!
Reason #2 to Fast for Spiritual Growth: Fasting and Spiritual Awakening Go Hand in Hand
Fasting and spiritual awakening go hand in hand. We see repeatedly in the Bible that when God’s people humbled themselves to pray and fast, God moved to awaken their hearts.
Spiritual Awakening is like spiritual growth but in a deeper way. Spiritual growth is about maturing, growing up in your faith. You believe God, trust Him in the hard times, turn to Him instead of leaning on your own understanding.
Spiritual Awakening is about hearing God’s voice, turning to Him first and following His direction even when it defies logic. Oh, how the world would change if we had a deeper spiritual awakening! That kind of personal revival would lead to unity in the church that would change the world for Jesus!
We see God use fasting to bring spiritual awakening to the Nation of Israel thanks to the obedience of Nehemiah!
“When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.” (Nehemiah 1:1-4 NASB)
Again we see God bring spiritual growth and spiritual awakening after a time of fasting by the people of Nineveh.
“Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them.”(Jonah 3:5-9 NASB)
Check out these Fasting and Prayer Scriptures for Spiritual Breakthrough for more examples.
Reason #3 to Start Fasting for Spiritual Growth: You Will Learn The Power of Prayer and Fasting
While there are many more reasons to begin fasting for spiritual growth, I want to leave you with practice preaches power.
Practicing a time of spiritual fasting will teach you the power of prayer and fasting in ways little else will. As you practice a fast, you will learn what things draw you nearer to God. You will learn what things suck you back in and ruin your fast.
As you learn, you will grow spiritually! It’s a beautiful cycle.
Over the years, I’ve fasted as little as one meal on one day of each week to pray for my marriage. Other times, I’ve fasted 3 days, other times 7 days of fasting and prayer were in order. There were times I needed to go deeper with God and a 21-day fast was needed. Last year I had my first 40-day fast and found the spiritual benefits were better than all the rest.
Spiritual Benefits of Fasting 40 Days
First, let me clarify that I can not medically fast from food an entire day. Seek medical advice if you plan to fast from food longer than 24 hours.
For 40-days I set aside midday to spend with God.
- No projects.
- No social media (that one is really what gets me most).
- I skipped one snack (not even a meal).
During that time I focused on one verse or passage of scripture – all centered around the phrase “Be Still”. God used those 40-days to reveal sin in my life, give direction and guidance about hard things.
Prayer and fasting moved beyond spiritual growth and into a spiritual breakthrough in ways I never dreamed possible! You can get the daily devotionals I shared here: 40 Days to Be Still and Know God More.
Will You Begin Fasting for Spiritual Growth Today?
Have you heard these 3 reasons to begin fasting for spiritual growth and felt a stir to try this spiritual discipline?
- Jesus said Christians will fast and pray
- Fasting and spiritual awakening go hand in hand.
- You will learn the power of prayer and fasting.
Are you still unsure of the specific how to’s of fasting? No worries. I’ve written a short book to help guide you through the process of fasting.
Get your copy and start your journey to spiritual breakthrough today!
In the meantime, I’d love to pray over you. Let me know how I can be praying in the comments.
Tiffany of Hope Joy in Christ inspires Christian Women to grow in faith, live out Biblical Marriage Principles and raise Godly Children. She is also the author of A Beginners Guide to Fast and Pray: Taking Spiritual Warfare to the Next Level on Amazon. Join the Wives Only Facebook Group here or keep up with her through Pinterest.
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