If you’ve considered fasting but are not sure about its purpose, looking to the Bible reveals some surprising stories concerning fasting and its remarkable results. Scripture gives us examples of individuals like Daniel, Moses, and Jesus, who turned to fasting for powerful breakthroughs in their lives. Jesus urges us as well to set times aside to fast (Matthew 6:17).
Through practice and study of God’s word, we discover fasting is more than just abstaining from food, but also involves humbling one’s self before God. Biblical examples help us understand why and how we should fast.
Below are 4 prayers for powerful breakthroughs focusing on fasting for preparation, understanding, facing temptation, and God’s mercy.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
1. A prayer to prepare your heart to fast:
Scripture describes how individuals fasted in preparation for fulfilling God’s purpose and calling in their lives, such as Moses, who was called by God to deliver His people out of Egypt.
Exodus 34:28 describes how he fasted during one of the most significant times in his life. “Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tables the words of the covenant--the Ten Commandments.”
Luke 4:1 describes how Jesus was “full of the Holy Spirit” when he entered the wilderness to be tempted. And Luke 4:14 describes the results of how He walked out of the wilderness after forty days of fasting “in the power of the Spirit.”
A prayer to prepare your heart to fast:
How priceless is Your unfailing love.
You have fearfully and wonderfully created us. You have ordained all our days and written them in your book before we were born. All your thoughts towards us are precious.
We praise You because we are Your handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, ones You have prepared in advance for us to do.
We come before You today to humble ourselves before You, submitting to Your will for our lives. Because of You, Father, surely goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives.
Let us be devoted to living out Your will on earth, to be more concerned with storing up treasures in Heaven than on earth.
Lead us, Lord, in the way we should go. Direct our steps and fulfill Your plans for our lives. Let our feet run swiftly to follow after You.
In Jesus name, Amen
Download a free PDF: Hope for Healing: A Biblical Guide to Healing and Prayer
Photo Credit: Thinkstock
2. A fasting prayer for seeking God’s understanding and wisdom:
The Old Testament follows Daniel’s experience in seeking understanding for a vision he received from God. “I, Daniel, was worn out. I lay exhausted for several days. Then I got up and went about the king’s business. I was appalled by the vision; it was beyond understanding” (Daniel 8:27).
Daniel 9:3 explains his efforts to find it. “So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes prayed to the Lord my God and confessed.”
As he did, God sent the angel Gabriel with a message. “He instructed me and said to me, ‘Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the word and understand the vision” (Daniel 9:22,23).
Like Daniel, we can turn to fasting and prayer to receive understanding beyond our abilities to comprehend.
A fasting prayer for seeking God’s understanding and wisdom:
All praise, honor, and glory belong to You, our immortal, invisible, only true and living God.
You are the revealer of all mysteries and the source of all wisdom and knowledge. In You are all the secrets of the universe, yet You grant us to know the mysteries of Your kingdom. You reveal the deep things of the darkness and bring utter darkness into light.
Thank You for hearing us when we pray and for giving us understanding when we ask You. For sending Your word to us and entrusting us with Your truth.
We praise you for revealing the true knowledge of God’s mystery, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Like You responded to Daniel, Lord, send Your word to give us understanding.
In Jesus name, Amen
Photo Credit: Thinkstock
3. A fasting prayer for resisting temptation:
All of us face temptation in life. Even Jesus was tempted in the wilderness and is our example of how to face it.
Matthew 4:1,2 describes, “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.”
Like Satan tempted Eve in the garden with food (Genesis 3:1-3), he first tempted Jesus with food, too. “The tempter came to Him and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.’ Jesus answered, ‘It is written; “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:3-4).
Unlike Eve who had plenty to eat, Jesus was without food in the wilderness. Yet, through fasting and obeying God’s word, He resisted temptation and defeated the scheme of the evil one.
A fasting prayer for resisting temptation:
You are a righteous, holy, and just God, awesome and blameless in all your ways.
Lead us in the way of Your righteousness. Help us, Lord, to walk in Your obedience so that we may live and flourish and extend our days.
Father, strengthen us to fix our eyes on Jesus. Let Your word equip us to follow His example in resisting temptation.
Deliver us, Father, from the schemes of the evil one, for You know how to rescue Your godly ones. Help us to take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.
We praise You that with every temptation, You are faithful to give us a way to escape it.
In Jesus name,
Photo Credit: Thinkstock
4. A fasting prayer for mercy:
Scripture describes times where God was moved by fasting. So much so, instead of sending judgment, He granted mercy. One such account involved King Ahab. “(There was never anyone like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, urged on by Jezebel his wife. He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols, like the Amorites the Lord drove out before Israel.)” (1 Kings 21:25-26)
Yet, when the Prophet Elijah delivered a message from God to Ahab, of His anger and the calamity to come, Ahab tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted (1 Kings 21:27).
When he did, God noticed how he had humbled himself before Him, and because Ahab humbled himself, God did not send the disaster upon him (1 Kings 21:28).
Even the most wretched of sinners can move the heart of God to receive mercy, by humbling themselves through fasting.
Another remarkable story is found in Jonah 1:1-2, where God asked Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach against it because of its wickedness before God. Unlike his previous experience where he ran away and ended up inside a whale, this time he obeyed. Jonah preached of the coming judgment to the city of Nineveh (Jonah 3:4), to which they responded from the greatest to the least, by believing God, fasting, and putting on sackcloth (Jonah 3:5).
As the story goes, “When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, He relented and did not bring on them the destruction He had threatened” (Jonah 3:10).
A fasting prayer for mercy:
What a compassionate, merciful God You are. All Your ways are perfect.
Lord, we come before You to humble ourselves at Your feet, asking You to bring mercy where judgment has been earned. We are deeply sorry for allowing our hearts to be led astray by our own desires and the things of the world, for the ways we have turned away from You, and sinned against You and You alone.
Although we have been disobedient and our sinfulness deserves punishment, You forgive and pardon those who humble themselves before You. Where judgment is warranted, You give mercy.
Forgive us Lord and be merciful to us. Soften our hearts, God, to be tender towards You, to seek your face, and to long for your presence in our lives.
In Jesus name,
Photo Credit: Thinkstock. Video credit: Photo and music from wave.video library
Originally published Monday, 10 January 2022.