Field Notes From My Fasting Failures

Field Notes from My Fasting Failures | Jamie Rohrbaugh | FromHisPresence.comI think I’m the only person alive who can gain weight while fasting.

It’s true… milkshakes are a liquid. 😉

Ugh. I have broken so many fasts, and fasted wrongly so many times, that it’s just not funny.

But you know what? There’s grace, grace, and more grace … and today, I’m going to share about my fasting failures with the hopes that my story will encourage you.

I used to fast an awful lot. I did it for two reasons:

  • Obligation. I read books by spiritual giants about how essential fasting is to real Christianity. These books basically felt like they were guilt-tripping me into fasting.
  • Legalism. Example: I actually heard a teacher once say that if you want God to move, you’d better get yourself on a 40-day fast. Ummm… NOT.
  • Manipulating God. I fasted to try to get God to move, because I didn’t like the way He was handling things.

The only problem was, my fasting was usually not very successful.

Oh, it was painful, all right. Even milkshakes can get boring. I am a foodie who loves bread and sweets—sweet, precious sweets—and Mexican food and… you name it. So fasting was definitely unpleasant.

After awhile, a girl would do just about anything for a burrito.

Related: Read my other posts about fasting here:

Nevertheless, I never really felt like fasting had the intended results.

 

I did a lot of fasts, too. They ranged in length from 7 days, to 1 day, to 1 meal, to 21 days, to 40 days. I also fasted a lot of different ways:

  • On nothing but water–once even for a long fast (I felt like I would die and I don’t recommend this);
  • Skipping bread, sweets, and meat substitutes (I never loved soy meat so much after that, I’m sure–keep in mind I’m already a vegetarian);
  • Skipping one meal at a time; or
  • On liquids, such as smoothies and soups, for extended periods.
  • Sometimes I would get so legalistic that I would be fasting already, but would feel like I needed God to move right then, so I felt like I had to add something onto my fast to make it even harder until He did. So if I was already skipping bread, meat/meat substitutes, and sweets, I’d also feel like I also had to skip a meal or two completely to get Him to listen.

One year, I did so many fasts that I added them up, and I had been fasting 1/3 of the year. The problem was that I don’t remember feeling any closer to God as a result of long fasts. (Sunday morning fasts before church, yes, but not the long ones.)

I don’t remember any huge miracles happening as a result of those fasts, except that I did start dating my husband in the middle of one fast—but I had been fasting off and on for years. Most of my fasts felt like a discipline–actually like I was flagellating myself–not like a miracle or a supernatural season with God.

(Disclaimer: Sometimes the benefits of fasting may not be visible in the natural realm right away. So if God did things in me or for me as a result of those fasts, I am not minimizing His work in any way at all. All I am talking about here is what I felt or perceived to be the benefits of my fasting.)

Why didn’t fasting seem to be as awesome and helpful for me as everybody said it would be?

I believe it could have been because I was fasting to manipulate God and get STUFF, rather than fasting as a love offering to Him. Seeking God first was not my primary objective in fasting.

I discovered this whole “fasting as a love offering” thing just recently. Here’s how it happened:

I was alone with the Lord one day, having my quiet time of prayer and Bible study. Suddenly, I was so overwhelmed with love for Jesus that the thought came to mind that I wanted to skip breakfast that day as a gift to Him… offering my opportunity to feed my face to Him as a gift, telling Him that I wanted Him more.

It was just as if I had been sitting at a restaurant table with Him, and I had a sandwich and He had none.

I felt like I was offering Him my sandwich, because He was hungry and I cared more about His company than I cared about the food.

So I skipped breakfast that day … and that is when I discovered that fasting could be like a dance, a waltz with my Savior, instead of like doing penance so I could comply with my Good Christian List.

It was only one meal, but that morning from 6 AM – 11 AM, I had a tremendous experience with the Lord. I went to work like normal, because I had to, but things were different:

  • I was so aware of the Presence of the Lord.
  • I was tremendously empowered for intercession, and I sat at my desk doing my job (with a supernatural flow, even!) but praying and interceding for someone I loved at the same time.
  • I was so hungry for the Lord all of a sudden.

It was like I had given Him something of value to me—one small meal only, but it was a love offering love to Him—and He was giving me the world in return.

It was a holy dance, and it ruined me.

After that, I stopped fasting to manipulate God. As a matter of fact, I stopped fasting at all for awhile; I wanted my heart to be right when I tried it again. So I just sought God, and finally I started little by little doing small fasts again.

Why? Because I am hungry for Jesus, and I am offering my sandwich (or my breakfast cereal, or whatever) to my Bridegroom.

Everything is totally different now.

 

I can’t fast to get God to move anymore. Yes, I pray for specific things when I fast. But mostly, what I fast and pray for is that I just want Him. I want to love on Him and offer Him something of value to me. I want to warm His heart with my gift of food (skipping food in my case). I want to set aside that time, take my eyes off food, and look at Him instead.

I don’t want to manipulate God anymore. (I don’t think I’m missing out; I am not sure it ever worked anyway!) I just want to fast as an offering to Him, a sacrifice of love that will warm His heart and show Him that He is worth anything to me.

When I started fasting just to seek my Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, I started seeing tremendous results:

  • I began to draw closer to Him than ever before.
  • I started to get my passion and fire for God back. I became hungry for Him again.
  • I began to see miracles happen in my life.
  • I started to be able to minister in a level of power I did not have before.
  • I began to see Him speak to me about things I never expected Him to speak about.
  • I started seeing other people get prophetic words for me out of nowhere, about important things too!

It has been funny. It’s almost like God meant it when He said that we should seek His face. It’s almost like He meant it when He said to seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things would be added to us.

It’s almost like God will do everything we need and more, if we will just put Him first.

So I’m going to continue seeking God’s face through fasting. I can’t do it on my own; I enjoy food too much. But I’m asking God:

  • … for desire and grace to fast.
  • I’m asking Him to keep my body healthy and stable while I fast.
  • I’m asking Him to help me fast for the right reasons, and to make me like Him.
  • I’m asking Him to open doors for me that cannot be shut, and shut doors for me that cannot be opened…
  • but most of all, to draw me closer to Him and flow through me more than ever before.

I have been a fasting failure, but I no longer care about that. I just want Jesus, and have found that fasting as a love offering to Him is a holy dance that brings me closer to the Desire of my heart.

Have you also experienced a fasting failure … or even a fasting success? What are your thoughts on this subject? I’d love to hear what you think in the comments!

Related: Read my other posts about fasting here:

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52 Comments

  1. What a moving testimony! I love hearing about other people’s aha-moments, especially those concerning God. How inspiring!

    1. I bless the Lord for your testomony, it was for me because I have been having the same failures, nos I’m not motivantes to fast because of 7days, 5 dans, 10days dry fasting i was doing that did’n produce any result ; now i know what was the poblem i just pray God should rekindle back thé zeal. Thanks you for sharing your testomony with us, remain bless

  2. I also did that for quite long time. Then I realized, why did I fasting for? other than skipping meals, what’s the point if i keep doing bad things again and again, I don’t pray seriously, what’s the point i keep doing it. So i stop fasting until I learn, why we fast and how to do it right. Your testimonial here is such a blessing. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this! I have also experienced fasting failures. This definitely was an eye opener. I’m always learning during my walk with God and is so thankful for correction.

    1. This is my first fasting experience and because of your blog, I have been able to focus on the correct reasons to fast…drawing closer to our amazing God and offering myself to Him. Thanks for the help. To God be the glory!!

  4. I swear I feel like I was just reading something I wrote myself!! I know that fasting is such a powerful part of our walk with the Lord and yet I have spent years asking myself really? What’s the big deal, I’m going through intense suffering here (because I LOVE sweets, caffeine, Mexican…) and not feeling any GREAT thing as a result. So I have been in prayer with Father about this because I know I am supposed to start this year fasting but I also know I want more. Not that I want some huge move from God, I want to see His face like never before, I want to experience His presence like never before. I want to feel the passion and excitement of living my life as a bride preparing for her wedding, anxiously anticipating the return of her groom!!! I want my gown to be the most amazing thing ever and take His breath away when He sees me. So I am anxiously anticipating this year and the fast, I want to see God move like never before. Thank you for sharing your heart and passion for Jesus!!

    1. Sarah, I can so identify! I’m so glad this encouraged you and I pray that you will draw closer to Jesus and deeper in His Spirit than ever before during your fasting in 2015! Isn’t it wonderful how He draws us to Himself??? He’s so beautiful! 🙂 Thank you for reading and commenting!!!

  5. so glad I found this site! I’m currently doing a fast with my church. Thank you for sharing this! It’s as if you are talking right at me. Those last 5 bullet points are exactly how I feel! Thank you again for sharing. You don’t how much I needed to see this. God is so good!

      1. This is exactly what i needed to hear. I am currently in the middle of a fast and failing! Thank you. Dedd

  6. I am learning how to fast i want to thank you for show me how you had struggle with your fasting. And how you had learn i am still trying.

  7. Wow this was so enlightening..I’ve struggled! It really is all about the dance, everything is found in his Presence, for us and for others, I simply love how he uncomplicates everything with such Grace in his presence…turning over my “box” I think he’s in every time! This was wonderful. Thank you for sharing the dance with us Jamie! 🙂 may God Bless you and keep you dancing!

  8. Dear Jamie

    Thank you for your awesome inspirational messages, I’ve learned so much and created a manuscript for myself to learn and teach from.

    I identify with fasting failures and know when I’m losing connection…know that I have an understanding, I need clarity on this :
    “because I’m hungry for Jesus, and I’m offering my sandwich…”

    I’m a shopoholic, would it be right to sacrifice any of my temptations too?

    Continue with your inspiring work, every article is such an eye opener and a blessing that I look forward to.

    1. Hi Clarissa. You can fast anything that’s meaningful to you, and offer it up as a sacrifice to the Lord. It’s not about what you fast; it’s about how much of an offering it is; what it costs you. If shopping is something that is meaningful to you, and you feel that it would be a sacrifice of love to offer it up to the Lord, then it’s completely appropriate. Pray about it and ask the Holy Spirit what that would mean to Him first. But as long as it’s something you feel led to do, go for it. That’s my opinion, for what it’s worth. 🙂
      Thank you for reading!

  9. So cool that you wrote this article! God has been laying on my heart this week that (although noit through fasting) I try to manipulate hjim in the way I pray, speak, act etc. Til He laid on me that He is for me…not against me, so why do I expect bad things otk haooe ansd feel the need to control Him? It’s been such an awakening for me!! This article really confirmed what He’s been saying to me 🙂

    1. Wow, Jennifer, that’s powerful. So glad Papa encouraged you. Yes, it’s all about the dance. The romance. The closeness. And when we treat fasting that way–as a dance with our Beloved–oh how He shows up.
      Thank you so much for reading and sharing! Have a great day!

  10. So well explained Jamie, I can so identify. I have experienced many fasting failures in years past because of not having this revelation. It made fasting so much more enjoyable when I was able to see it the way you so eloquently expressed it. I pray many reading your blog will be set freed from religious fasting to experience “dancing” with Jesus kind of fast. Love you Jamie.

    1. Amen, Norma. Is it bad to say I’m glad I’m not the only one? 🙂 LOL. Anyway yes I agree. Thank you so much for reading and sharing. I love you too! Have a great day!

  11. Yeah I’ve had some of the same experiences. Once I went on a 40day coffee ast. Now I LOVE offee and coming off caffeine almost did me in. I don’t know what that fast accomplished. I felt called to do it but—- ! Like you some of the most powerful fasts have been short, hungry for Jesus type fasts. Love your blog.

    1. That’s totally awesome, Susan. I know it’s challenging to give up anything we love–but I imagine David, who said that he would not offer to the Lord that which cost him nothing. I know the Lord honors our sacrifice, and who knows? The seeds you sowed during that fast may come up soon or years down the road… but either way, it wasn’t in vain. The intimacy with God you gain through fasting is always worth it, no matter when you see other results. 🙂
      Thanks so much for reading and sharing!

  12. Jamie I’m so glad that I found this blog. I believe that the holy spirit guided me to it this morning. I felt that I was to fast for 3 days, that he had something for me. I was unable to complete the 3 days. It left me feeling like a failure, that my faith was not as strong as I believed. I repented & realized that Satan was using this to weaken me and keeping what God has for me. So now since the beginning of this year, I have been fasting 1 day every week to him. Now with this morning reading your blog it helps me realize how much I need to see this through. I need Jesus more than anything else, and devoting this to him as a love offering is just what I needed to hear. Not that I’m expecting anything in return. Just showing him my hearts desire to love him & seek him. I too want to dance with him. Thank you for obeying and taking the time to write this, it’s so encouraging.

    1. Wendy, I don’t know how I missed this comment. You left it months ago. I am so sorry; please forgive me. It sounds to me like the Lord is teaching you some beautiful things about fasting and seeking Him. I pray that you are still doing well. I’m loving my times with Him in this way more and more. Even though it’s not comfortable for my burrito-loving flesh, the payoff is so worth it.
      Again, I apologize for missing your comment in January. I hope you are doing well.

  13. Thanks for sharing. I think you are on the right track. I have prayed about this for years, initially hearing all the things you mentioned from other ‘people.’ I never agreed, as I thought most of those people were just in it to manipulate God. So, I just didn’t fast for a long time. A couple of years ago I started fasting one day a week, just to show Jesus I loved Him and wanted to be obedient. There were lots of things in my life that I prayed about during that time, and like you, I never saw any ‘big’ miracles. Yet, it did bring me closer to God and in the long term, I see little things changing. Even though, I did give it up after a year or so. I can’t even remember why. But, I have started it again with a desire to not only please Him, but I had gained weight and it is (if I speak honestly) one of the easiest ways to diet. Yet, my desire to lose weight, I try to tell myself, is also an offering to Him. As, I want to be a person who is healthy for Him, my body strong and able for Him, His temple, not living to eat, but eating to live…. for Him. And, as a side note, I am praying this conviction will also minister to my husband who is clinically extremely obese, with various addictions. I will leave it at that, praying this will encourage someone, as you do with your transparent testimonies. Thanks again!

    1. Tammy, hi, I got your second comment and I searched for your first one because I didn’t know I had any that weren’t approved yet. I am SOOOOOO sorry. No, you didn’t say anything wrong at all. I am just very behind on comments. 🙁 And I thought I had moderated all of them–the first time someone comments, my system is set to where I have to approve it in case it’s spam–but I had missed this one. Please forgive me.

      I actually remember getting the email with your comment when it came in. I think fasting one day a week to show Jesus you love Him is a beautiful thing. What a fragrant incense that your offering must be. I think it’s wonderful–you are presenting yourself a living sacrifice to the Lord, and His fire will always fall on sacrifice. 🙂

      Again, I’m so sorry for not moderating and responding to your comment. I’m struggling with getting caught up but I do so appreciate your reading and your sharing of your story. May Papa give you grace and peace and every good gift today as you seek Him. 🙂

  14. I have struggled with fasting for DECADES! Literally. I have never heard it so simply and succinctly explained. Thank you Jamie for once again being God’s instrument to get through to me.
    ❤️

  15. I appreciate your reflections on this difficult topic and have experienced much of the same. Yet, I am curious about your blog comments. Yours is the first blog I have ever responded to. Besides today, I commented about a month ago. My comment was never published or responded to. Maybe there was some technical difficulty. But, my subscription to your sight and response my email to comments is working. I would appreciate any insight you might be able to give me on a decision to not publish, so I can make more appropriate comments… I didn’t think I said anything offensive and if I did, I am truly sorry.

    1. Hey Tammy, you didn’t say anything offensive at all. It’s completely my fault for missing your original comment. I just found it and responded to it–hope you got the response. Please forgive me. 🙁

  16. Hi Jamie. Love your posts.never heard of fasting quite like this…I grew up in church and it was more like I fasted bc 1. I knew denying my flesh would bring me closer to God and 2. also certain breakthroughs happen only while fasting.
    And fasting had to 1. Consist of more prayer than usual 2. getting into his word even more. Based upon scripture. Or it would be more like a diet than a fast.
    I like your analogy that its like your giving Him your food since he has none.
    I have experienced this*waltz* but it has been when I didn’t even realize it and just trying to seek him. I have done a 7day+ fast and I was trying to check all the boxes to make sure it “worked”
    I just finished a fast today too so this was just in time! I have a question though. ..how do you think a fast for breakthrough for a major area in my life should be approached with this new attitude? Thank you again. may God bless you even more.

  17. You could not have ķnown that I fasted today. Yesterday my husband was going to fast and so I was going to fast with him but failed by 12:00 pm. Today I woke up and was in prayer and than the Word. It became as you say a love offering to help with my weight. There was a difference today as opposed to yesterday. I think you just it explained it. Yesterday it was for a decision of his guidance. The Word already says he will guide us. I wasn’t able to sustain the fast yesterday. Today it seemed a super natural empowering like your article discussed. I can’t put my finger on the difference but today it was easy and he show up right on my bed with me while fasting. I didn’t pray for him to come just was looking at beautiful autumn pictures and he showed up. Thank you for this article because now I believe I understand the difference. Truly you are sent by the Lord to confirm what happened today as opposed to yesterday.

    1. I definitely didn’t know… but HE did! I’m so thankful He showed up in that way for you. Fasting is such a beautiful dance. May He dance with you in new and special ways every time you seek Him through fasting for the rest of your life!

  18. I know this post is from last year but I had to chime in since we started yesterday and are headed to 5777. I did a three day nothing but water fast, awful, by the end of the day, I had a piece of bread and grape juice, this was even before The Meal That Heals, I flunked out of a 21 Day Daniel’s fast, which is vegetarian. I did it because I was desperate, because I thought you had to, then I excused not doing it because I thought the phrase in italics was added by translators, and it was just unbelief that kept the disciples from cast out a demon. Then I started back giving up a little along. I was ready for this one, not to lose weight, not for anything but love. Day 2 going great, thank you, Lord and the devil is annoyed.

  19. I am still seeking the Father in relation to fasting . Your article encouraged me as alot as it showed that someone else has gone through what i am going through now. Thank you…

    1. Denise, you’re definitely not alone! Some of the preachers to whom I love to listen the most (Lou Engle, Dr. Bob Rodgers) talk openly about how many fasts they’ve tried and then broken, too! But there’s so much grace. We just get right back up and go for it again! And we take the Kingdom by getting back up and pursuing. 🙂

  20. All I can say is WOW! I have had so may fasting failures. Take for instance yesterday and today. Just reading this, I could feel the presence of the LORD! Thank you so much Jamie for these encouraging words. Fasting will not be a chore anymore.

    1. Fasting failures… you and me too, sister! But I pray the Holy Spirit would continue to encourage you, and give you His special grace to seek Him through fasting.
      If you didn’t see it yet, I wrote a post a couple of days ago with some practical helps and encouragement that will help make fasting easier. Here’s the link if you’d like to check it out: https://www.fromhispresence.com/10-practical-tips-for-fasting/
      Have a wonderful day! Thank you so much for reading my blog!

  21. I thank Papa for sending you my way to reveal Jesus to me in a more intimate way. You are such a blessing to me and everyday I learn something new. I’m always looking forward to read your emails/ notes– they are uplifting. I can feel the LOVE OF JESUS through your writings .

    I shared your notes with my daughters and my sister — it is so exciting. You really made it clear about the fasting — I followed your instructions to pray to desire Jesus more than food.. I feel a passion in me for my Lord.. I can be sitting praising Him , thinking about Him and tears rolling down my face. I now understand — you explained it so clear that a little child can understand.

    May Papa continue to bless you and keep you in Jesus Name! Please pray for me and my family to stay in constant communication with the Mind of Christ through Holy Spirit. I want to be able to hear clearly in specific details and continually walk By the Spirit.

    THANK YOU!

    Blessings in Jesus Name!

    1. I prayed for you, Winnie. Thank you so much for sharing with your family also. As I was reading your comment just now again, I got encouraged all over again to seek Jesus more myself! Thank you for sharing your thoughts so we can all be encouraged who read. 🙂 Much love and big hugs to you and yours today.

  22. I’ve done fasting the right and the wrong. I’ve done a lot of fasting myself. I fasted for 40 days the summer that my found out that she had stage 4 cancer. I had a wonderful experience with the Lord. My precious mother lost her battle to cancer a month ago this May. I have not been able to do another extended fast like that, I believe it’s because my dad rejected me after my mother’s passing. I have fasted off and on. The right and the wrong way. Here lately I have faced my biggest struggle. I want to fast and draw closer God so that I can completely be restored. God has done a lot of healing in my life, but I need to be complete.

  23. Thank you Jamie for blessing me with this word. It came in at a right time. I had started my fast but I was feeling not encouraged to continue.. I broke it off today so that can get more incite about how best I can do it. Thank you, it is so encouraging and am learning too much. May Papa God bless you more and more.

  24. Thank you Jamie. I too have experienced fasting failures. You testimony have given me new direction on how to do my fasting.

  25. Thank you or being to genuine and open to share your mistakes. It takes a load off to know that I’m not the only one battling with fasting . I tend to try to make fasting suit me best – when I’m too busy to think about food anyway , when I’m feeling heavy and could loose a few pounds – but this is not what fasting is for! Thank you for reminding me that fasting is an act of love – we are so blessed that when we act in love for God – he provides – letting us feel filled by his presence and love, even when out tummies aren’t full. But for it to truly be an act of love – there can be know selfish agendas . To practice this I am stepping away from fasting food for a little , I’m going to give up daily human-comforts to show God , I desire Him more – things like my daily run and coffee are a good start.

  26. Mom insisted on going out to eat, (she’d go out “7x day 30x day’s a week” if I’d take her), I was fasting chocolate at the time—she doesn’t understand nor like warfare or things that don’t line up with her view of God—-I had a free desert at the restaurant & thought I’d have the white chocolate cheese cake since I couldn’t have the chocolate cake. I texted my prayer partner to see if she thought God would allow it since white chocolate isn’t technically real chocolate. She sent info proving it. BUT GOD wouldn’t let me since it had the word chocolate in its name. Lol so key lime pie it was!

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