Fasting is a spiritual discipline mentioned throughout the Bible, practiced by God’s most fervent followers. Why? Because there are certain strongholds that cannot be thwarted by prayers of faith alone. In Matthew 17, Jesus delivers a young boy from a demon, something his disciples weren’t able to do. When they asked Jesus to explain, he replied to them, “This kind [of demon] does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” (Matthew 17:21 NASB, emphasis added).
When there is a strikingly stubborn problem in your life, like chronic anxiety, or even temporary anxiety that you may be experiencing because of the coronavirus, a fast may be what God wants you to use to give you victory.
The purpose of fasting is to draw us nearer to Jesus. Many people have shared how, during a fast, they feel Jesus’ presence like never before. They tell of how they experienced anew the full sufficiency of Jesus.
When you are abiding in Jesus, and he alone is your sufficiency, his life flows through you. Slowly, as you fast, your anxieties will be uprooted. Faith will replace despair. Belief will push aside worry. Doubt will diminish before God’s sovereign presence.
Jesus expects his followers to fast. As with prayer, Jesus said, “When you fast…,” not if you fast (Matthew 6:16). Jesus assumed that his disciples would fast regularly – that his followers would use the power of prayer and fasting.
How long should you fast? From what? The object and length of your fast is not important, but the purpose is paramount. Why? Because the purpose of fasting is to draw you deeper into Jesus. What matters most is your heart’s desire to be in God’s supernatural presence. As you fast, God looks at your heart. If you truly desire to address a problem in your life, he wants to help you.
Fasting reveals our idols. We are able to see more clearly what we are turning to for comfort in creation instead of turning to our Creator. Fasting reveals the creation-worship in our hearts. Social media. Food. Sports. Alcohol. And that is what God wants us to address: our idols. What we depend on in creation for our lives to feel good.
Fight your anxiety by fasting. Find the time and a place to be alone with God in prayer, and to be alone with his word while you seek him.
See if because of your deepened relationship with him through fasting, anxiety doesn’t flee.