I recently wrote how prayer is one of the weapons that God has given us in spiritual warfare, and that our prayers affect what is happening in the spiritual world.
Daniel 10:12-14 shows Daniel receiving a visit from an angel in answer to his prayers. It also says that the angel was held up in spiritual battle during a 21-day time frame while Daniel prayed. A few verses earlier we find another key to this story:
“In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.”
Not only did Daniel pray, but he fasted. Just as his praying impacted the spiritual world, so did his fasting.
Fasting is to abstain from food for spiritual purposes. There are many benefits to this spiritual discipline, and it is something that Jesus both practiced and taught. Yet, fasting does not seem to be a normal practice for many believers in the Western church.
Does Fasting Impact Spiritual Warfare?
It is somewhat of a mystery to me, but fasting has an impact on the spiritual realm. Once, when the disciples could not cast out a demon Jesus said, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting” (Mark 9:29). Apparently, sometimes fasting is a necessary part of deliverance from demons. When spiritual breakthrough is not coming, adding fasting to your prayers is one way to seek God for greater direction, wisdom, and power to win the battle.
A lifestyle of prayer and fasting brings us into a place of intimacy with the Lord, which then empowers us to see greater works for His kingdom. Remember that when Jesus was about to start His public ministry, He was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness for a 40 day fast. In this time He faced and overcame a direct assault from Satan, thus preparing Him to step into the next phase of His life and ministry.
Isaiah 58:6 says:
“Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the heavy burdens,
To let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke?”
This passage applies to physical oppressions and injustices, but I believe there is a spiritual principle as well. Fasting is a weapon to help loose the devil’s bonds from people’s lives, lift off heavy burdens, and break the power of demonic oppression.
As we take on the discipline of fasting, let’s expect to receive greater anointing to break the enemy’s power and set captives free!
Just today God impressed on my heart to consider what would happen if there was a movement of disciplined prayer and fasting. What would happen if those of us who are called by His name would pray for the spiritual condition of the nation? – You may have come up with the movement… ‘#FastForwardAmerica.’ 🙂
I love that Melinda! #FastForwardAmerica
#FastForwardAmerica is a great idea, count me in Melinda! Fasting is kind of like taking a shortcut to dying to self. I believe that fasting and prayer can work well even on smaller levels than Daniel’s 3 week fast. Fasting on a weekly basis, even only for a day at a time and committing extra time to prayer is a great way to “live a fasted lifestyle”. #FastForwardAmerica in 2015!
I agree Chris, great comments!