PRAYING AND FASTING FOR HEALING: A DEFINITIVE GUIDE
Updated: Jun 30
Praying and fasting for healing is a curious subject. It doesn’t seem to get any attention in attention in mainstream religions of Christianity.
But I know that understanding this topic can teach believers how to interpret the bible much better.
People in the different Christian denominations will often fast when told to by their pastors.
The purpose of this fast is usually for hope, rather than the genuine reason the bible says fasting is for.
Pseudo Reasons For Fasting
Some of the common reasons for a fast that are commonly taught in church are:
Defeat your enemies
To prevent people from doing evil to you
I’m sure these reasons for fasting are familiar to many people, but what do the scriptures actually say about prayer and fasting? That’s the most important thing.
To understand praying and fasting in the bible it’s every believers responsibility to research the topic them self.
The following scriptures are a reminder of what the Most High wants from his followers:
5 Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.
6 Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.
7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.
Here it’s clear that the Most High requires us as believers to look at ourselves.
It’s only when we do this first, will we know why we are not progressing, spiritually, physically and financially.
2 Corinthians 13:5
5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
Paul himself understood this as you can see in the above scripture.
Paul also tells us as believers to examine ourselves just as the Most High did, clearly reiterating the scriptures (law and the prophets).
The point here is that faith in the Most High requires self examination.
We should not be passing the blame for bad situations on external force, without first examining ourselves…
Unfortunately this is often in opposition to what many people are taught when they are told to fast and pray.
As I explained earlier I was taught that fasting was for defeating your enemies and to prevent people from doing evil to you etc. as I’m sure many or you reading were taught…
What The Bible Says About Fasting & Praying
The notions of fasting Christian’s are given make it appear as if they are powerless against external forces, except they fast and pray.
But let’s see what the scriptures says about praying and fasting in the bible.
The bible will give us the biblical benefits of fasting and praying.
The Most High knows about our misdirected fasting and he address it in the scriptures:
4 Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.
5 Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?
6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
8 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy reward.
In verse 4 here we see that a fast aimed at defeating our enemies is condemned, as not being a genuine reason to fast. That rules out fasting to defeat our enemies.
Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.
The scriptures also questions the validity of this type of fast. Because the fast is not being carried out for what it is intended for.
This same sentiments about fasting for the wrong reason is also made by the Messiah in the scripture below:
16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;
18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
As we can see the Messiah tells us that a fast is supposed to be done to put ourselves in good standing with the Most High. Not for personal needs!
This agrees perfectly with what the Most High says (Isaiah 58:6-8).
How Many Times, What Time & What Direction To Pray?
The prophet Daniel tells that he prayed 3 times a day. Morning (Before Sunrise), Noon (Mid day) and Night (Sunset/Sundown). He would also face toward Jerusalem, which is to the east.
10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.
We are are also told in the Wisdom of Solomon that praying takes place before Sunrise and at Sundown/Sunset:
Wisdom of Solomon 16:28 (KJV Apocrypha)
That it might be known, that we must prevent the sun to give thee thanks, and at the dayspring pray unto thee.
Wisdom of Solomon 16:28 (NRSV Apocrypha)
to make it known that one must rise before the sun to give you thanks, and must pray to you at the dawning of the light;
Above you can see the times that we are supposed to pray to the Most High, as always we use his creation to judge this. Before the sunrises, we are supposed to be up and giving praises…
And as the Sun goes down and daylight decreases we’re supposed to be praying to the Most High.
Proper Position For Praying
When we read scriptures we see the common potions that prayer took place from was on the knees, with hands stretched out to heaven:
2 Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto thee, when I lift up my hands toward thy holy oracle.
Solomon prayed with his hands in the air on his knees:
1 Kings 8:54
54 And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the Lord, he arose from before the altar of the Lord, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven.
As you can see Solomon had his hands spread to heaven when he prayed on his knees as you can see in the image below:
Here some more scriptures which show how Solomon, Daniel, Paul & Peter prayed on their knees also, 2 Chronicles 6:13, Daniel 6:10, Acts 9:40
The Real Purpose Of Fasting
In verses 5 to 8, we see the purpose of the fast, and what it will achieve if done correctly…
to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
Emphasis here is on us as individuals, “undoing their (our) heavy burdens, and the wickedness that they (we) have held onto”.
After we have fasted to improve ourselves. Only then are we supposed to follow up with acts of kindness such as feeding the poor and clothing the hungry.
All this is what leads to a reward with the Most High i.e. Eternal life!
What Does Fasting Do To Demons And Evil Spirits?
Now for the spooky stuff! Personally I’m not spooked out, but the public norms program us to discount spiritual entities.
When we read the scriptures more closely we see bible verses about prayer and fasting having power over demons. We also see sickness that can be caused by demonic entities.
14 And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying,
15 Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.
16 And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.
17 Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.
18 And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.
19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?
20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
Here a man that has a son who is mentally ill (lunatick). He is heeled by the Messiah, who tells the disciples why they were unable to heel him.
He tells them that that kind of devil (demon) “goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”
Now we know the reasons for fasting, we need to also know how it should be carried.
How Fasting Is Carried Out According To The Bible
When I attended the church fasting was definitely one of the most challenging things for a christian to do.
The different fasts I encountered in church were the “dry fast”. Which meant eating no food at all until the end of the fast.
The “water fast” which meant you were only allowed to drink water during the fast.
You may or may not be able to relate to these fasts? If not, it just further proves that in church there is no universal way to fast.
The length of the fast was often from 6 o’clock in the morning until 6 pm or 12 am in the evening.
It was never for the whole day, which you will find out is contrary to scriptures. In order to understand the length of a fast in the bible we have to read scripture, where a fast takes place.
We find this when we look at an appointed day called…
Day of Atonement, this gives us the blueprint of what the Most High considers a one day fast.
27 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
28 And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God.
29 For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.
30 And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people.
31 Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
32 It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.
We can see from the above scriptures that the day of atonement last one biblical day.
It begins on the 9th day in the evening (i.e. when it’s dark) and finishes the following day on the 10th day in the evening.
So with that we know have a definitive answer about how long a one day fast actually last.
The terminology used here for not eating is to “inflict your soul”.
You now have a biblical, definitive fasting time.
The Right Things To Do When Fasting
Here are the steps to take when fasting:
When you fast you have to first understanding its about forgiveness and finding favor with the Most High. The first thing you should consider is forgiving anyone that has wronged you. Matthew 6:15
2. Fast For Yourself
Remember why you’re carrying out your fast. It is to get rid of your personal internal (Spiritual) problems, not to kill your enemies. Isaiah 58:6
3. Fast For Others
The reason for your fast is always for your own personal spiritual issues or to strength your self when helping others.
You can also fast to help others get well. Matthew 17:14-21
4. Remember To Give
Being in the spirit of giving and helping others when fasting, is one of the main reasons for fasting. Isaiah 58:7
5. Don’t Boast About Fasting
Fast and pray in secret and not for audience. The Messiah warns us not to fast and pray like the unbeliever’s.
He gives an example of those that like to be seen praying. He says if we do this then we will receive nothing. Matthew 6:16-18
What To Avoid When Fasting
We have spoken about the power of fasting, but it’s also important to know what you shouldn’t do when fasting.
You should avoid these things because the Most High only requires sincere believers.
So let’s begin…
1. Keep Fasting Personal
Fasting is for your personal affairs for the most part. You can also fast for others as explained.
You should avoid telling people you’re fasting if you can. Fasting is not a scoring system, it’s to be done honestly. Matthew 6:16
2. Don’t Fast To Hurt Others
The scriptures tell us that the Most High does not respect a fast that is centred around strife. Strife can include killing your enemies, to protect yourself. Isaiah 58:4-5
3. Don’t Be Unforgiving
Forgiveness is the name of the game (Matthew 6:14). This is emphasised in the staple prayer that the Messiah tells us to pray in Matthew 6:9-13.
Praying and fasting for healing yourself should be the main objective when fast. From all the scriptures presented hopefully you see that fasting is used to cleanse our selves first.
Scriptures tell us that fasting has the power to get rid of demonic entities. This is an unspoken subject, but it’s a very real one. Being inhabited by demonic entities doesn’t mean that you’ll be turned crazy.
A demonic entity may urge you to do things, such as being greedy and insatiable. When we fast and pray we starve our bodies of things, that we may only be doing because of internal influences.
These entities do not want to live in an environment (body) that doesn’t feed their insatiable desires. Or a body that can’t be influences by their suggestions, this is the true reason for praying and fasting for healing.