Fasting and praying are not part of a human-engineered method or plan. They are not the means to manipulate a situation or to create a circumstance. Fasting and praying are Bible-based disciplines that are appropriate for all believers of all ages throughout all centuries in all parts of the world. The Holy Book has a great deal to say about both fasting and praying, including commands to fast and pray. It also gives us examples of people who fasted and prayed, using different types of fasts for different reasons, all of which have very positive results. Jesus and Moses fasted and prayed for forty days. Jesus’ disciples fasted and prayed too after the Resurrection. Many of the Old Testament prophets too fasted and prayed. The followers of John the Baptist also fasted and prayed. Many people in the early church too fasted and prayed.
In the thirty-fourth chapter of Exodus, it is recorded that Moses did not eat for forty days and forty nights. He was on the mountain with God and lived right in His mighty presence. When Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone (verse 30). Fasting truly brings one into the glory of the Lord. There are some people who drink juices when they fast. If you cannot drink juices on a weak and empty stomach, then however, corn flakes or a cooked cereal with milk and without sugar would be fine.
Always drink plenty of water when you are fasting. God never asked us to do anything that will harm our bodies and people have hurt their bodies by not drinking enough water on a fast. Water flushes the poison from your system; many doctors feel that fasting is beneficial so long as you drink plenty of water.
I sometimes hear people say, “I’m giving up chocolates and smoking” and they regard this as a type of fasting. I think this is a rather frivolous approach. The first and foremost purpose of a biblical or spiritual fast is to get a breakthrough on a particular matter that one lifts up to the Lord in prayer. A spiritual fast involves our hearts and the way in which we relate to and trust God. It relates to discerning and receiving strength to follow through on what God might reveal to us about circumstances in our lives or a direction we are to take.
Abstaining from food is often God’s way of showing that His desire for us is that we regain mastery over all the things associated with our flesh in order to subdue our flesh and elevate our emphasis on spiritual matters. God’s promise is to help us as we overcome the flesh and put all carnal temptations into subjection. One reason that fasting is a part of being a Christian is that we live in an evil world. If we are not careful, we can be lured into indulging in sin. Fasting will put ourselves more under subjection to God. Doubts will be dispelled and faith will take its place. One can fast at any time of the year and not just on Ash Wednesdays, Good Fridays and First Fridays of the month.