Do you need victory in your life? Are you desperate for breakthrough in some area or another?
If so, I encourage you to seek God through fasting and prayer—and I want to encourage you today by teaching on 12 specific victories you can gain through fasting.
Let me first make it plain that fasting is not “buying” or “earning” something from God.
If you think it is, you will get into works-based religion and legalism. For example, I once heard a Bible teacher say, “If you want something from God, you’d better get on a 40-day fast.” That is absolute heresy. God doesn't say, “I won't do anything for you if you don't fast.” Fasting is not the currency of the Kingdom.
HONOR is the currency of the Kingdom—particularly honoring God.
That Bible teacher should have said, “If you want God to move, you had better honor Him and meet the conditions He attaches to His promises.” THAT would have been the truth. (Even the simple prayer of faith, when we ask God for something with no other merit than that we need Him, is honoring God.)
We do not fast to earn anything from God.
Instead, we fast to draw near to God. We fast to separate ourselves from the world and separate ourselves UNTO God. We fast to put aside earthly distractions, focus on His face, and spend extra time with Him building RELATIONSHIP.
There are different kinds of fasts, with some being more relationship-inspired and others being more results-inspired.
However, whether we start to fast because we need something or because we are desperate for greater intimacy with God, our heart has to be the same. Our heart still has to be to seek God in relationship–not to treat Him like He's a vending machine.
Know this: “Insert fast, receive miracle” isn't a Kingdom formula.
BUT, “Seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you” IS a Kingdom formula (Matthew 6:33). The bottom line is that we fast because we love, and we fast to obey Him, seek His face, and fall more in love. And while we're staring at the face of the One we love, He tells us to ask, expect, and receive.
Some people talk about “Bridegroom fasts.” Others talk about “intercessory fasts.” Still others talk about consecration fasts. I believe in all of them, and they all get results.
Related: On Intercessory Fasting
But regardless of what you call your fast, your heart still has to be right.
You simply cannot be fasting mechanically and expect your fast to matter to God. Your heart has to be right. If your heart isn't right, you're not truly seeking GOD. You're trying to get something with a work of the flesh … and by the work of the flesh no man is justified (Galatians 2:16). Righteous people live by faith, not works (Romans 1:17).
When we fast with a right heart, drawing near to God and increasing our level of intimacy with Him, there ARE very specific things that Papa loves to do for us (or help us with). These things are all based on relationship and the manifestations of relationship.
What are “manifestations of relationship”?
When I say “manifestations of relationship,” I am talking about the things that happen naturally in our lives when we increase our level of intimacy with God. For example:
- Faith: When you know Father better, you will hear His voice more and will naturally believe Him more.
- Prayer life: When you know Father better and love Him more, you will naturally talk with Him more.
- Obedience: When you draw nearer to Father, you will naturally become more in awe of Him—and will rush faster to obey Him when He speaks.
All of these “manifestations of relationship” are preconditions—pre-requisites—to receiving from God. Thus, it follows that fasting helps you receive more from God. We don’t earn or buy things with our fasting; rather, we open the pipelines from Heaven into our own lives through our willingness to seek and obey God.
Make sense? Don’t try to earn from God. Simply love, obey, and receive.
There’s a big difference between trying to earn things through your mechanical actions versus walking in a love relationship with God.
When you fast, focus on the love relationship. Use fasting as a chance to increase that love relationship–even when that involves interceding for Father's will to be done on the earth. Hey, praying for Father's will is an act of love for Him, you know!
It's not that you can't ask or be desperate for God's hand to move in your life. BUT, you need to seek His face first, knowing full well that you will also receive from Him when you seek Him.
Got it? It's a HEART issue. Get your heart right first, before you fast. As it says in Psalm 40:6-8:
Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; my ears You have opened. Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require. Then I said, ‘Behold, I come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me.
I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart.'”
Heart. It's all about the heart–and keeping (or getting) your heart right before God. 🙂
That said, here are 12 victories you can gain in your life through fasting:
In no particular order …
When you draw close to God through fasting, you will grow like a weed. Why? Because fasting tunes out the noise and static of the earth and tunes you into Holy Spirit’s voice. And when you hear Holy Spirit speak to you better, you’ll learn so much:
- He’ll search your heart and show you where He wants to do surgery.
- He’ll teach you keys that will help you walk in faith.
- He’ll show you areas of your life where you’ve been disobeying Him.
Simply put, you can’t help but grow when you listen to Holy Spirit. And since fasting tunes out the noise of the world and sharpens your ears to hear God, you’ll grow by leaps and bounds when you fast.
2. Love for God
When you stare at God long enough, you can’t help but fall in love. Where else in Heaven or earth could you possibly find such love, such purity, such mercy? Where else but in Jesus could you ever find such understanding, empathy, and grace? Where else but in God could you ever see such holiness and majesty?
The answer is “nowhere.” Only God is worthy of adoration and praise. That’s why all of Heaven cries out, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!” (Revelation 5:12).
When you separate yourself unto God by fasting, you will see Him more clearly than you’ve ever seen Him. And when you see Him better, you can’t help but love Him more.
When you fast, the Lord will purify your heart and life if you’ll let Him. This is particularly important if you’re bound up in lust, fornication, homosexuality, or any other kind of ongoing sin.
How does it work? Again, it’s simple. (The Gospel is SO simple, beloveds! I wish we would stop complicating it!) When you fast, you separate yourself from the world and you look at Jesus alone. And when you see Him as He is—the pure and spotless Lamb—you become like Him.
John the Baptist said it best: “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” Our job is to behold Him, believing that He is the Lamb of God—our Savior who redeems us. HIS job, which He does as soon as we do our part, is to take away our sin.
Simple. We behold; He takes away.
That will mess with every legalistic road to freedom anyone has ever invented.
You don’t have to do penance twelve times, recite ten “Hail Marys,” or do a pilgrimage to Zion, Idado to have your life changed. Just look at Jesus. When you stare at Him long enough, you’ll fall helplessly in love with the pure and spotless son of God. He’ll become, as Pastor Mike Bickle so aptly puts it, “Jesus, our Magnificent Obsession!”
And when He becomes our Magnificent Obsession—when we behold Him and keep on beholding Him—He takes away our sin.
That’s how and why you can purify your life when you fast. It’s all about Jesus and His work in your heart.
Related: How to Get Rid of Your Desire to Sin
4. Personal victory
When I say “personal victory,” I’m talking about patterns in our thought life or hindrances that have been holding us back. For example:
- Perhaps someone hurt you or left you, and you haven’t been able to move on.
- Perhaps you struggle with one particular way of thinking, and you try to stop thinking like that but haven’t succeeded.
- Perhaps your life is ruled by your emotions, rather than by your faith in God.
- Perhaps you have a really bad habit, and you’re desperate to break that habit and walk in freedom.
When you find yourself stuck in a rut and unable to dig out, fasting can break you out.
Sometimes certain habits become so ingrained in us that they don’t come out any other way. It’s not that our bad habits aren’t subject to the name of Jesus; it’s just that we don’t want Jesus enough to exert the effort.
As so many people say, “You will stay the same until the pain of staying the same exceeds the pain of change.” That is a very true statement, my friend. We all have the grace at any moment to break out of our bad habits. God’s grace is sufficient for you, for His strength is made perfect in your weakness. That is the truth any day of the week.
But you know what? You’ve got to want it.
And we often don’t want it badly enough.
But when you fast, you stare at Jesus enough and feed on His Word so much that SUDDENLY …
… sometimes without realizing it’s happening …
… your desire for Him increases; your faith increases; and you’re suddenly willing to step out on the water with Him.
That’s when you find the personal victory you seek. That’s when you become willing to surrender your hurts and wounds to Him. And THAT’S when your heart and life changes—when you surrender.
Fasting simply pushes you over the edge of surrender.
If you need a miracle, and your miracle has been a LOOOOOOONG time coming, fasting will often push you over the edge. Again, it’s NOT mechanically “earning” something from God. Your heart has GOT to be right, and trying to earn something from God is NEVER right!
But fasting produces breakthrough because …
- It increases your faith.
- It spurs you to pray.
- It spurs you to pray again, and again, and again (Luke 18).
- Your fast itself becomes a continual prayer and intercession–a sweet fragrance in Papa's nostrils.
- Fasting helps you know who God is; and if you know who God is, you can claim anything in prayer you know Him to be. (You can receive any manifestation of who He is, as long as you know who He is.)
Fasting produces atomic power with God because of the intimacy it produces; because of the love-relationship it fosters; and because of the prayer life it nurtures.
6. Finding your calling:
It’s obvious when reading the Scriptures that God calls people when He encounters them:
- He encountered Saul on the Damascus Road and turned him into the apostle Paul.
- He encountered Levi Matthew at the tax office and called him to be a disciple.
- After the resurrection, He encountered Peter on the shores of Galilee and called him to feed Jesus’ sheep.
And when you fast, you encounter God.
Put these elements together and you can see where I’m going with this. If you don’t know what you’re called to do, setting yourself aside in fasting and prayer for a time brings you into encounter with God. And when you encounter Him, He’ll tell you what He wants you to do.
The Bible is filled with promises about how God will provide for you abundantly. However, God’s promises often come with conditions:
- You have to obey God’s commands (Deuteronomy 28:1-2);
- You have to ask, sometimes asking over and over again (James 4:2; Matthew 7:7-8; Luke 18:1-8);
- You have to seek (Matthew 7:7-8);
- You have to knock on doors (Matthew 7:7-8);
- You have to ask with a right heart (James 4:3); and
- You have to believe that God will give you what you’re asking for (James 1:7-8).
Fasting helps you fulfill all these conditions:
- Fasting purifies your life and helps you yield to the work of Holy Spirit, getting sin out of your life;
- Fasting increases your prayer life;
- Fasting builds your ears to hear God, which builds your faith;
- Fasting helps you draw near to God; and, from that position of closeness, you will hear His instructions and guidance; and
- Fasting breaks your heart for what breaks God’s heart so your motives will be right.
In addition …
John 6:10 shows us that the people had to rest in order to receive. Fasting increases our faith and trust, which help us rest in God. Also, John 6:11 shows us that giving thanks was a precursor to abundant provision. Fasting changes our heart toward God and, if we are willing, helps us develop a grateful and thankful heart.
Simply put, provision follows intimacy with God. Fasting increases our level of intimacy with God in all its aspects, thereby opening His supernatural flow of provision into our lives.
When you hang out with God enough, He’ll send you out to do something for the Kingdom. And when He sends you out, He backs up His commission with signs, wonders, and miracles.
Hebrews 2:3-4 says:
… how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?”
Did you get that? God bore witness to the preaching of His own Word with signs, wonders, miracles, and gifts of the Spirit. That means:
If you want miracles, preach the Word. 🙂
It’s very simple. God works miracles to confirm the preaching of His Word. That’s what we read again in Acts : that the Lord worked with them, confirming the Word with signs and wonders.
So what does fasting have to do with miracles?
Fasting increases your level of faith, obedience, and intimacy with God—which produce boldness. Fasting brings you into knowledge of your calling. And when you obey God and go out obeying His commission, He’ll work with you with signs, wonders, and miracles to confirm the preaching of His Word.
9. Strength in intercession:
When you draw near to God through fasting, He’ll give you His heart. And when He gives you His heart, you won’t be able to help yourself but to identify with Jesus.
When you’re in love with Jesus, you want what He wants. And what Jesus wants is:
- For Father’s Kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven;
- That no one should perish, but that all should come to repentance;
- That Father God would glorify His own name;
- That He, Jesus, would receive His full inheritance;
- That you would walk in every victory He, Jesus, purchased for you on the cross.
That’s not an all-inclusive list, but it is a pretty powerful one.
When you have the heart of God, you’ll care about these things as much as He does. That passion for His purposes will compel you to your knees. It will drive you there. It will wake you up at night and compel you to pray as you’ve never prayed before.
Fasting makes you a stronger intercessor because it draws you closer to Jesus—the Ultimate Intercessor—and makes you like Him.
Intercession still can’t be done under your own power; you’ll need Holy Spirit to intercede through you and for you. But He is ready and willing to do that as soon as you are ready to let Him (Romans 8:26-27).
10. Health and healing:
Healing isn’t purchased through fasting. Your healing was purchased by the shed blood of Jesus on the cross, and by the stripes He endured at the end of a Roman lash.
But you know what? Your understanding of healing can increase when you fast. Your revelation about healing can increase when you fast. And your FAITH for healing can increase when you fast.
Fasting, therefore, can help you see your healing manifest in your body.
Not because God wasn’t ready to heal you without fasting; He was and is. However, sometimes we aren’t ready to receive—because of doubt, unbelief, unforgiveness, disobedience, or whatever else—until we draw closer to God through fasting.
11. Personal revival:
In Revelation 2:4-5, Jesus had a beef with the Ephesian church:
Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent” (Revelation 2:4-5).
Whoa. These folks had originally loved Jesus with great passion, and they still had the work and fruit to prove it. However, their heart had changed. Somewhere amidst the work and labors of the Gospel, they let their love grow cold.
I don’t know about you, but that speaks to me.
I have been guilty so many times of letting my love grow cold.
But, you know what? Every time I have noticed this and turned to the Lord in fasting and prayer—telling Him that He is more important to me than satisfying my flesh is—then He has fired me up again. He has taken me from apathetic to fired-up; from tired to awake (spiritually speaking); from bored to hungry and desperate for Him again.
Sometimes it has taken a fast of a few days. Other times, it’s only taken one missed meal. And other times, He’s done it in 0.02 seconds—as soon as I’ve committed to fasting.
Reclaiming our first love is a big deal.
I am so grateful that Father gives us grace by warning us when our love for Him has grown cold. I’m so thankful He gives us the spiritual weapons of fasting with prayer in order to combat that coldness, aren’t you? And every time we use these weapons, He helps us find the fiery, passionate love for Himself that sets Him as a seal upon our heart and a seal upon our arm (Song of Solomon 8:6-7).
For many of the same reasons we’ve discussed above, God will often vindicate us when we fast. AGAIN, it’s not because God is a vending machine. “Insert cold, mechanical starvation diet; withdraw vindication” is not a “thing” in the Kingdom.
But you know what? Prayer is a “thing” in the Kingdom. Brokenness and humility are “things” in the Kingdom. Clean hands and a pure heart are “things” in the Kingdom …
… and fasting with right motives produces those “things” …
… because fasting with a right heart yields holiness, intimacy with the Lord, and faith.
When you have all those things going for you, God will vindicate you when you need it.
Psalm 91:15-16 says:
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation” (Psalm 91:15-16).
Did you hear that? “He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him.” “I will be with him in trouble.” “I will deliver him and honor him.” That’s YOU God is talking about:
- You who will call upon the Lord.
- You whom He will answer.
- He will be with YOU when YOU, yes you, are in trouble.
- He will deliver YOU; and
- He will HONOR you.
When God honors you, He does a good job, too.
He makes sure you have clean hands and a pure heart first, but then He’ll flaunt you to the world. He’ll elevate you above your enemies. He’ll demonstrate His work, power, and grace in your life to everyone with eyes to see.
That’s some good vindication, there. He knows what He’s about! When God does something, He does it well.
Does fasting purchase your vindication?
No. But fasting IS a sacrifice that increases your intimacy with God, and that intimacy is the catalyst for pretty much everything in the Kingdom—including vindication.
In conclusion …
Fasting is not “earning” something from God. But fasting IS drawing near to God with the goals:
- To pray continually;
- To know Him more;
- To hear Him better;
- To obey Him in every way; and
- To see Jesus glorified on the earth.
And when those things become your desire, God will not withhold anything from you. As it says in Psalm 84:11:
For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”
Have you developed a lifestyle of fasting and prayer yet? If not, won’t you prayerfully consider doing so? The reward of knowing God better far exceeds the sacrifice. And as you become obsessed with His face, His hands will move powerfully to work in your life.
Does this message challenge you to seek God through fasting in greater ways than ever before? If so, please leave a comment below! I’d love to hear from you.