Spiritual Health: Transformative Power of Fasting & Prayer

Written by Kala Lovegrove (Murray Bridge, South Australia)

Kalah Lovegrove is an Aboriginal Christian Comedian, Domestic Violence Survivor & Advocate and the Founder of 'A Time To Heal'. She is a single Mum of 4 who loves writing/journaling, Body Groove Workouts, studying the Bible, knitting, travelling & spending time in nature.

May 21, 2024

Why Fasting and Prayer Matter Today

Fasting and prayer are deeply rooted in biblical teachings and stand as pillars in the Christian faith, providing a transformative and spiritually enriching experience.
Today, we are going to delve into the five different types of fasts mentioned in the Bible and reflect on their relevance in our lives. 

1. A ONE-DAY FAST (SUNRISE TO SUNSET) 

They mourned and wept and fasted till evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the army of the Lord and for the nation of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.

2 Samuel 1:12 (NIV) 

The men of Jabesh Gilead fasted for seven days, mourning the death of Saul.
This short, intense fast serves as a model for seeking the Lord earnestly in times of grief or decision-making. 

2. A THREE-DAY FAST 

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 attendants 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 (NIV)

Esther called for a three-day fast during a moment of crisis, emphasizing a deep dependence on God during urgent times. This fast symbolizes intensified seeking after God’s guidance, grace, and intervention. 

3. A SEVEN-DAY FAST 

Then they took their bones and buried them under a tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and they fasted seven days.

1 Samuel 31:13 (NIV)

The men of Jabesh Gilead fasted for seven days in honor of Saul, representing complete dedication, and seeking divine favor.
This extended period allows for repentance, consecration, and spiritual breakthrough. 

4. A TWENTY-ONE-DAY FAST 

I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.

Daniel 10:3 (NIV)

Daniel’s three week fast, abstaining from pleasant food, meat, and wine, exemplifies seeking God for insight and understanding.
This period allows believers to experience spiritual breakthroughs and gain clarity in areas of uncertainty. 

5. A FORTY-DAY FAST 

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.

Matthew 4:1-2 (NIV)

Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments.

Exodus 24:38 (NIV)

Both Jesus and Moses observed a 40-day fast.
Jesus fasted in the wilderness, preparing for His ministry, while Moses fasted on Mount Sinai in communion with God.
This period symbolises purification, consecration, and deep communion with the divine.  

Amid modern life’s distractions, fasting and prayer remain essential for believers seeking spiritual depth and connection with God. These disciplines allow individuals to: 

  • Deepen spiritual connection. Fasting and prayer create a sacred space for cultivating a deeper connection with God, fostering intimacy, and reliance on His guidance. 
  • Seek clarity and direction. These practices enable believers to seek clarity and guidance in the face of life’s complexities, following the biblical examples of seeking God’s direction. 
  • Experience spiritual renewal. Fasting and prayer serve as a spiritual reset, offering an opportunity for renewed faith, overcoming spiritual dryness, and revitalizing the relationship with God. 
  • Express dependence on God. By voluntarily abstaining from physical needs, individuals express and demonstrate their dependence on God and acknowledge His sovereignty over every aspect of their lives. 

MY RECENT FASTING TESTIMONY 

I have been fasting for years. I implemented intermittent fasting for weight loss and Biblical fasting with prayer for spiritual breakthrough.
Intermittent fasting helps me gain control over my eating.
I usually follow the 16:8 rule, which is fasting for 16 hours and eating within an 8-hour period.
As someone who has struggled with overeating, having a cut off time for eating allows me to stay disciplined. 

Biblical fasting brings me clarity, direction, breakthrough, and a deeper connection with God.
My two eldest children were at a Christian Youth Camp recently for three days.
During the first two days, I fasted and prayed the full days seeking God for spiritual renewal and closeness with God for my children.
When my children came home, my son shared moments of spiritual renewal and breakthrough that he had experienced on camp, that he had not experienced before! 

I was also praying for provision and the day after my two one-day fasts, I received a phone call about our new home.
My family moves in a few weeks and I learned that my inheritance from my Mum will be coming through next week! Praise God! 

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Mark 11:24 (NIV)

PRAYER AND REFLECTION 

  • What specific areas of my life do I need to seek God’s guidance and intervention through fasting and prayer?
    How can I incorporate fasting and prayer into my routine to deepen my spiritual connection with God?
  • In what ways can fasting and prayer help me navigate challenging situations and decisions in my life? 
  • What is one step I can take today to prioritize spiritual disciplines like fasting and prayer in my journey of faith? 

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