What does it mean to fast and pray?

Fasting usually means a total abstaining from food for a certain period of time. Fasting can be for a day, for a week, for 40 days, or to observe a specific holiday.

Religious fasting can be a time for humbling oneself; seeking to grow closer to God; expressing grief for a difficult situation; seeking God for the breaking of a stronghold in oneself, in someone else, or in a place. Religious fasting can be for humility and submission to God. It can be seeking God for wisdom and direction in making a decision. It can be for breakthrough in overcoming a recurring sin pattern or for breakthrough in overcoming demonic oppression.

Medical fasting can be for a day, a week or longer. Fasting can be partial abstinence or the complete abstinence of food in preparation for a medical procedure, for recovery from a medical procedure, or for the overall health benefit to our bodies.

Electronic fasting can be for those who are pregnant or have health issues that prevent them from fasting food. Electronic fasting can include turning aside from social media, television, radio, etc.

Basically, the heart of fasting is having a heart posture of pulling aside from daily distractions and seeking God’s face. It’s drawing closer to God and focusing on Him. It’s a denial of our feeding upon food, and instead a declaration we are hungry for Him alone. The normal time we spend preparing and eating food, we now spend with Him or in serving others; especially the poor.

Isaiah 58:6 says the Lord desires our fast “to release the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke; to distribute our bread to the hungry, and bring the poor who are cast down into our house; to cover the naked; to not hide ourselves from our own flesh; to remove the pointing finger; to take away speaking wickedly; to pour out our soul to the hungry; to satisfy the afflicted soul; to turn our foot away from doing our own pleasure on the Sabbath day. He asks us to build the waste places and raise up the ancient foundations.”

Isaiah 58 says the results of our fast is “for our light to break out as the morning, for our healing to appear quickly; for our righteousness to go before us; for God’s glory to be our rear guard; for us to call upon God and hear Him answer us; for us to cry out for help and have Him respond to us, saying, ‘Here I am.’

God says “our light will rise in darkness, and our obscurity will be as the noonday; that God will guide us continually; God will satisfy our soul in dry places, and make our bones strong. God promises we will be like a well-watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.” God says we will be Repairers and Restorers.

Scripture references are from the World English Bible (WEB)