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Should You Fast to Start the New Year?

by Barbara Cerullo

Hello dear friend.

Have you ever experienced a fast, perhaps because of a special need you were asking God to remedy? Fasting means to intentionally abstain from food, and this can be a wonderful time to “come apart” from our daily lives and pray.

When we fast, we’re telling God He is the most important Person in our life. We’re making the choice to give up the things we enjoy for the single purpose of communing with Him.

Many people in the Bible fasted: Moses, David, Nehemiah, Esther, Jeremiah, Daniel, Anna, Paul, Peter, Jesus…and even the whole nation of Israel!

A few years ago, I received a very old book on fasting that is now out of print. It shared amazing testimonies of people who fasted for several weeks. Some were healed of sickness even though they weren’t necessarily fasting for that purpose. Others had fasted for evangelistic events in their cities, and the Lord visited their meetings in powerful ways, with many people saved or healed.

Why Fast?

There are many reasons to fast. First, Jesus fasted, and if He fasted, then we should too! In Matthew 6:5-6, Jesus said, “When you pray…” He didn’t say, “If you pray,” but “When you pray.” A few verses later (vs. 16-17), He added, “When you fast…

The Lord’s message is clear: Prayer isn’t optional for those of us who are believers, and fasting shouldn’t really be either.

Another reason for fasting is to gain greater authority in the spiritual realm. When the disciples were unable to cast out a demon, Jesus said, “This kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:21). The disciples couldn’t take authority over this demon by prayer alone.

Fasting is a time to seek God with all of your heart and make sure He’s first in your life. Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

When fasting is mentioned in the Bible, it is typically coupled with prayer. Fasting enables us to see a greater fulfillment of God’s Word and His purposes for our lives. Fasting is also a way to take our minds off ourselves and intercede for the needs of others.

Immediately after Jesus was baptized, He was led into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil for 40 days. He fasted the entire time in preparation for the ministry He was about to begin.

Although the devil tempted Him, Jesus refused to give in to the temptations. And when He came out of the desert, the Bible says, “Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee” (Luke 4:14). After Jesus fasted, the Holy Spirit was manifested in His life with new power.

My Own Experiences

When I fast, I usually learn a lot about myself. Sometimes the Lord shows me attitudes that need to change. Fasting also helps me filter through all the “stuff” of life so I can begin to focus once again on what is really important. I experience God’s presence as I sit in contemplation or worship and praise Him.

During one fast, I did something I had never done before…I felt led to dance before the Lord. I was in the privacy of my bedroom, and no one was home. It was a delightful experience, and I felt His pleasure as I danced. It was amazing!

Another time, I was confessing sin to the Lord and repenting, but I was feeling nothing. I asked Him what else I needed to do, and He said, “Just yell.” So I did. Thankfully, no one was home, and I yelled for about five minutes.

I’ll admit, this felt a little awkward. But after I was finished, I just sat quietly, and the Lord said, “I am coming with healing in My wings to you and to all who you love.” Looking back, I believe some strongholds in my family were broken that day.

By now you might think I’m crazy. Please don’t think that. I’m just trying to share my experiences.

I don’t ever want to put God in a box and tell Him what He can and can’t do, or what I will and won’t do. I always want to stay open to Him and do what He tells me to do, and I believe He wants me to make fasting a regular part of my life.

Although health concerns make it impossible for some people to fast, most of us are healthy enough to fast for at least one or two meals, if not longer. There is SO much more to be said about this important subject, and I hope you’ll take time to study it on your own.

Fasting can be a great adventure – one that will bear much fruit in your life. I encourage you to give it a try, and there’s no better time than at the start of a new year!

Your friend on the journey,
Barbara Sig

Barbara Cerullo is devoted to authentically sharing God’s love with women. She authors From Barbara’s Heart, where her spiritual insights, heartwarming family stories, and delightful anecdotes encourage readers with God’s faithfulness. Her husband, David, is CEO of Inspiration Ministries.

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