There is incredible power in the biblical practice of prayer and fasting. Jesus told a story about how it can help us find the spiritual breakthrough we’ve been seeking.
Mark 9:14-29 tells us about a time when the disciples were unable to cast a demon out of a boy. When Jesus arrived, He cast out the spirit, and the boy was set free and healed. His disciples did not understand why they had power to perform some miracles but not this one: “And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”
God doesn’t need anything from us to move in the world—God can do anything. But for some reason, God chooses to invite us to partner with Him—He calls us to pray and fast. And He moves on our behalf and increases our faith when we do.
When you are burdened by the problems in the world, pray and fast
When the greatness of the problems in the world overwhelms you and when you see the brokenness of the world around you, let the urgency lead you to a desperation for God to move. Let it lead you to seek Him in an even greater way.
When you are hungry for more of God, pray and fast
The amazing thing about the gospel is when you receive Jesus, you are satisfied like you have never been before, and yet you will always be hungry for even more of God.
Paul said, “I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil. 3:8). He had a hunger to know God more every day. Sometimes we are so hungry for God we will fast if it means we can experience Him more.
There is something about that experience that opens our hearts to receiving more of God’s presence in our lives. It might not happen in the middle of the fast, because we will probably feel weak and frail. But either during or after fasting—even in the months or years following a time of fasting, we will see the strong results of seeking more of God.
When you need a breakthrough, pray and fast
Author and pastor Ronnie Floyd writes, “Fasting is the gateway to breakthrough” in our lives. When he was enduring personal trials, including his wife’s cancer diagnosis, he set aside special seasons of prayer and fasting and saw God do greater things than he had ever seen before—in both his own life and that of his church.
There is something about this discipline that breaks strongholds over the things we have been praying for. God moves in an even greater way.
When you sense God is preparing you for something new, pray and fast
God will give you a greater desire to pray and fast when He is about to move in bigger ways in your life.
Author and pastor Jentezen Franklin says, “God calls us to fast when He’s preparing us for something new He is about to do, something that’s ahead.”
We need a special grace from God to do so. The Bible tells us that God desires obedience from us, not sacrifice. He isn’t looking for us to be radical or intense, but obedient and faithful to what He is stirring in us to do.
While fasting seems to be a forgotten discipline for many believers, I have recently seen a growing hunger and desire for it, including in my own life. I believe God is giving His people an increased desire to fast because He is about to move in greater ways in our lives, churches, and world.
Matt Brown is an evangelist, author of Truth Plus Love: The Jesus Way to Influence, host of Think Eternity with Matt Brown, and founder of Think Eternity—a ministry dedicated to amplifying the gospel every day through podcasts, devotionals, videos, live events, and more. Matt and his wife, Michelle, have three children and live near Minneapolis, Minnesota. You can follow Matt at @evangelistmatt and thinke.org.