Fasting Doesn’t Benefit God  

It’s now day 6 of the 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting our church does, along with countless others across the nation, and it’s my 10th time to participate. The first few years that we participated, if you really wanna call it participation, we gave up things like soda and chocolate. We prayed, but put very little effort into it, if I can be honest.  We didn’t really understand it therefore we didn’t get a whole lot out of it. Then came a year that we did get serious about it and desired to really fast. We did the Daniel fast. We poured ourselves into it, dotting every “i” and crossing every “t.”  We noted everything we could eat and also everything we couldn’t.

It was hard. Really hard. We missed our normal diet and pouted about the only stuff we could have to satisfy our hunger. Sure, we prayed and participated in the prayer meetings, but at the end of that 21 Days, we mostly came away from it a few pounds lighter and had little revelation. What’d we do wrong??? We just denied our bodies and cravings of all the good food we so enjoyed for 21 days so we could be blessed! Why didn’t we hear angels singing around us and have journals full of revelations God had divinely spoken to us in the midst of our fast???

I’ll tell you what we did wrong. We were focused more on WHAT we were fasting instead of WHY we were fasting. We got so wrapped up in the guidelines and rules of what we could and couldn’t have, and being miserable about it, that we missed the whole purpose of why we were doing it. We were new to this game, and there were some lessons to be learned. I’m thankful for that. We had a mindset that we were doing this for God. NEWSFLASH!!!! It isn’t for Him!!!

Fasting doesn’t benefit God, nor is it “for” Him!  It’s for us!  We’re the ones who gain from doing this.  It’s not required of us, but so necessary when pursuing a deeper personal relationship with the only One who deserves all we have to give and who loves us unconditionally.  The point is to deny your flesh/body/mind of things that you normally wouldn’t; setting aside other things that tend to get our focus, attention and/or dependency a lot of the time, and devote it all to hearing God’s voice speaking to us.  woman-praying-profile-featured-w740x493He’s always talking to us but majority of the time we can’t hear him because of everything else going on around us. It’s easier to hear Him when we’re intentional to silence everything else. Not that enjoying other things is wrong, but making sure we acknowledge the importance of tuning out the world on occasion or more in order to hear God’s voice is so imperative. It’s also a great opportunity to reflect and see if anything may be taking too much of our time, attention and dependency and then making certain necessary changes.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalms 139:23-24

However, we must not get legalistic about it. Otherwise, we’ll miss the purpose and blessing of this beautiful challenge, which is to grow in our walk with our Savior to get closer to Him, gain greater eternal perspective in which nothing else can compare; not to deprive ourselves of worldly pleasures as punishment.  We have to focus on WHY we do it, and not focus on what we “can’t do,” nor should we feel guilty or condemned if we “slip” because there’s grace and it’s about the heart.  God looks at the heart.  We also shouldn’t fast just to fast, or make a big deal about how hard our fast is and how much we’re fasting.  It’s not about what or how much one gives up, but about hearing the voice of God.  

~~~

Your Turn:  Have you fasted before?  Are you fasting during these 21 days? Have you had moments where you were more focused on what you were fasting rather than why?  What is your perspective? We’d love to hear from you!  Please share with us below.  ~ Heather

10 thoughts on “Fasting Doesn’t Benefit God  

    1. Thank you, sister. It’s so easy to get focused on the “what” when we really do have the best of intentions. I love how He sees us and gives gentle reminders to redirect. What a good Father He is! Thank you so much for sharing and I pray you have endless revelation as you fast. 💜

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  1. Thank you Heather. This was so good! It is easy to get bogged down in the details and miss the why. Thanks for the reminder. It took me a few times of fasting with COTH before I got the why. I did it out of obedience, but did not understand the why. I did not think God cared whether I ate a banana or a pork chop, but I did think he cared how often I came to him and how often I turned away from anything spiritually unhealthy (like secular music or TV). Fasting is so much more than I ever before realized. It truly is critical to living a spirit filled life. I now start looking forward to it in December and try to periodically do short fasts throughout the month all in an effort to get closer to Jesus! God is so good to give us the grace to accept his invitation to fast for deeper relationship and intimacy with him.

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    1. Thank you, Tracey! I know!!! It’s amazing how much deeper you really go w/Him and how much more clear His voice is when we fast and make it a part of our life. Not just something we do to mark off a list each year. I grew up in a church that didn’t teach fasting, nor believe in it. So when I really experienced for the first time, it was so incredible, I can’t imagine my life w/out it now. I feel like I know Him so much more now. Thank you for sharing your heart, dear friend! I look forward to seeing you soon!💜

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      1. Actions lead, feelings follow!
        That’s exactly what you did Tracey! Because of obedience, God leads us to the place of focusing on the why!
        Don’t you just love how patient He is to us!
        He is a good, good Father!

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  2. I definitely need this reminder. I felt like I was punishing myself and spent more time the 2nd and 3rd day worrying about what I was eating, when I was eating it, when I could eat again, and so on, than the reason I was fasting in the first place. I hadn’t replaced it with prayer or listening to God, but instead with worry that I’m “doing it wrong”. These last few days, though, I’ve really TRIED more to let go of the guilt when I slip and refocus to prayer when I find myself feeling guilty. Plus, I’m sure you know the things I’ve been really praying for… So, when my husband decides he wants to hang out with me for the first time in a long time and that involves food, I’m not feeling guilty about it. I’m just thanking God for moving in my life!

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