As Christians we have many weapons in our arsenal for spiritual warfare: the blood of Jesus, our testimonies, God’s Word. But there’s one more weapon that is often overlooked and underused: fasting. In this message, Dr. Stanley covers the principles of fasting as well as the purposes of it. Though it requires discipline and sacrifice, fasting is an indispensable tool for focusing our attention on God and attuning our spirits to His will. This message is Part 3 of the series: How to Talk With God – Volume 1 CD Series:…

Part 1: Unveiling The Hidden –    • Unveiling The Hidden – Radio Classic …   Part 2: Praying With Authority –    • Praying With Authority – Radio Classi…   Part 3: Praying And Fasting Part 4: A Prayer Burden – Releasing 2/28 Part 5: Answered Prayer – Releasing Soon Part 6: When It’s Spiritual Warfare – Releasing Soon How to Talk With God – Volume 2 CD Series:…

Part 1: Why Our Prayers Are Unanswered – Releasing Soon Part 2: How To Pray In The Will Of God – Releasing Soon Part 3: A Time To Stop Waiting In Prayer – Releasing Soon Part 4: The Power Of Your Prayer Life – Releasing Soon Part 5: Praying For Others – Releasing Soon Part 6: Praying Is Where The Action Is – Releasing Soon For more messages from Charles Stanley, including this week’s broadcast, go to


with a message from God’s word here’s


Stanley you’ll turn to Matthew chapter 6

and I want us to read a portion of this

chapter the first verse the fifth verse

and then beginning in verse 16 through

18 and the title of this message prayer

and fasting and primarily the fasting is

what we want to deal with this morning

in the series on prayer he begins in the

Sermon on the Mount in chapter 6 by

saying take heed that you do not your

arms before men to be seen of them

otherwise you have no reward of your

father which is in heaven then verse 5

says and when you pray thou shal not be

as the Hypocrites are but they love to

pray standing in the synagogues in the

corners of the streets that they may be

seen of men verily I say unto you they

have their reward then in verse 18 16 he

says moreover when you fast be not as

the Hypocrites of a sad countenance for

they disfigure their faces that they may

appear unto men to fast verely I say

unto you they have their reward but thou

when thou fastest anoint thine head and

wash thy face that you may appear not to

men to fast but unto thy father which is

in secret and thy father which is in

secret shall reward thee

openly now what he’s saying in these

first 18 verses he’s talking about

giving to the poor arms giving secondly

he’s speaking about prayer and thirdly

he’s talking about fasting and in all

three of these things he says there are

several things for us to watch out for

number one he says you don’t do it to be

seen of men don’t be like the hypocrit

standing in the public places praying to

be seen of men you don’t give in order

that others may know how much you give

and you don’t fast and walk around with

your hair uncombed and your face look

like it’s unwashed and you’ve got sleepy

in y because you’ve you’ve not been

fasting and you want to look like you’ve

been sacrificing for God he says

whatever we do we should do it in

private and when we do it in private God

will reward us openly we have to do it

out of the motivation of love and not

out of the motivation to be seen for he

says that anything and everything we do

in those areas in order to be seen of

men if you’re seen by one person or 10

people the one person that saw you do it

that’s all all the rewards you’re going

to get if a thousand people see it all

that you receive in return is the reward

of the Commendation or the criticism of

a thousand people and what he’s saying

is not that our Christian witness should

be private not that our Christian

witness should be done in the closet but

that those areas of our expression of

toward him of giving to the poor of

prayer and of fasting should be done

secretly in order that God May reward us

openly that is never the motivation to

be seen or to be known or to be praised

by others now when you think about the

responsibility that you and I have we’re

in a Warfare Paul says in chapter

chapter 6 of Ephesians he said we

wrestle not against flesh and blood but

against principalities and powers and

spiritual wickedness in high places

which says that our battle is a

spiritual battle we have personal

private spiritual battles with Satan we

have spiritual battles that develop in

relationships with other people we have

a spiritual battle going on in this

nation right now to save it or to lose

it and so we have specific weapons that

God has given us in order to do battle

he says first of all we have his name in

the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth

Paul said or Peter said rise up and

walk we have the word of God to stand

upon as our promise and the foundation

of our request before the Lord we have

the blood of Jesus Christ upon which we

can walk and uh upon which we are

protected but we have likewise prayer as

a tool and as a weapon fasting as a

weapon we have praise as a weapon we

have faith as a weapon so that the

people of God are adequately equipped to

do what God has called us to do so what

I want us to notice here first of all

are some principles about fasting and

first of all is this we do not fast in

order to avoid obeying God whenever he

requires us to fast or when we feel

compelled or burdened to do so you don’t

fast over here and say Lord now I’m I’m

sacrificing my time and my food over

here and God is saying what I want you

to look at what’s over here and you say

Lord but I want you to see that I’m

sacrificing and I’m proving to you how

obedient I am obedience in fasting will

never atone for sin over here and

Disobedience because genuine fasting

always causes me to look with end to see

Lord Lord is my heart right with you so

you don’t fast to avoid obeying God in

the given area secondly fasting is for

the purpose of bringing the body into

subjection we all have appetites we have

appetites of physical appetites to eat

we have appetites to enjoy Beauty there

are sexual appetites there are all kind

of appetites that God has given us to be

exercised or fulfilled within the limits

of the boundaries of his word but there

are times when he says we have set aside

all appetites we have put them all aside

in order to seek him for a specific

reason or specific purpose so we’re to

bring the body into subjection that

means we are to bring everybody to the

point that more important than eating

and a greater desire than to eat is to

talk to the father now you’ve seen

people said oh my goodness it’s 12:00

it’s time for lunch I’m hungry they

never even thought about being hungry

until they watch the clock many things

we do we do out of habit not because

they are necessary needs and one of the

reasons that God wants us to fast is to

bring the body into subjection for a

deeper spiritual purpose a third

principle here is that fasting brings

the soul the mind the will the emotion

the conscience the Consciousness under

submission to the spirit within us so

that more

important than our normal life patterns

is something that God may want to say or

do in our life so when you think about

how many things you hear in a given day

all the things that come your way how

many layers upon layers upon layers of

thought patterns and ideas and the

habits that you and I fall into and ever

Dawn upon us that we are almost them

sometimes the victims of our own habits

that we think are good but for God to

get our attention and to get we down on

the inside of us and to speak to us on a

deeper level than happens day by day

fasting focuses our attention upon God

the Father focuses our attention Upon

Our Own sinfulness and we get a whole

new glimpse of what life is all about

and then a fourth principle involved

here is this that fasting fasting has a

tremendous effect upon us when we begin

to seek the Lord in worship and we’re

willing to fast now what would in the

world would happen if you and

I began to fast on Saturdays before we

came to the Lord’s House on Sunday I’ll

tell you I can’t tell you exactly what

would happen but I can tell you this it

would never be normal again whatever

normal is because when people fast and

pray and they begin to seek God and he

becomes the priority of their thinking

the priority of their feeling the

priority of their actions the priority

to their behavior something begins to

happen not only to them but to everybody

around them so there’s some principles

here that God has given us all through

the scripture now what I’d like to do

for the rest of the time is to share

with you for a few moments the purposes

why is it that God wants us to fast now

he said In this passage here that he

certainly does not want us to do it in

order to be seen of men then what is the

real purpose that God has in mind the

first one is this and that

is that our spirit that our spirit would

be disciplined toward the things of the

father and you recall when Jesus was uh

tempted in the wilderness it followed

his baptism a tremendous highlight in

his life and then 40 days of seeking the

mind of the father before he began his

ministry and no doubt in his own human

as well as his physical because he did

have hungers and thirst and appetites

like we do but 40 days and 40 nights of

disciplining his human aspect of himself

his human body in order to find the mind

of his father to know the mind of his

father be before he

began that time of Ministry for three

years whereby the whole world and all of

eternity would be changed but what about

us he didn’t have to deal with sin he

didn’t have to deal with an old carnal

nature such as we though he was tempted

by Satan but fasting brings our

spirituality to a point that it becomes

the priority the body the soul of man is

under subjection and we discipline

ourselves in order to bring ourselves in

a position where that he might be able

to bring us to reach the maximum of our

potential now you can live a Christian

Life and walk in the spirit without ever

fasting but what fasting does to prayer

it intensifies it it makes it possible

for us to reach down in the innermost

being of our spirit and to feel

legitimately and rightly and accurately

and precisely what often times we cannot

feel haven’t you heard people say well I

don’t know what I’m feeling I can’t

quite distinguish what I’m feeling

fasting sifts fasting prunes fasting

peels off layer after layer after layer

after layer of feelings and attitudes

and experiences and thoughts and so

often we can’t really get down to the

hardcore of what God is trying to say to

us fasting is a disciplining of the

spirit a second purpose for fasting is

this and that is to find the will of God

for your life in a given situation for

example let’s say that you’re

contemplating marriage do you know

that’s the will of God for your life are

you sort of think it is you say well

I’ve prayed and I’ve talked to this one

and I’ve been counseled by that one let

me suggest something if you’ll take

three days that may be difficult for you

you may have to work up for the three

days if you’ll take three days in the

word of God Alone on your face before

him and fasting and praying and I mean

without food but drink water and you

begin to seek the Lord and tell him that

you want him to show you in his word I

guarantee you whatever you seeking the

mind of God about whatever it may be if

you will Fast and pray bringing the body

and the soul in subjection to him and

submission to him he will clear your

eyesight he’ll clear your ears he’ll

clear your heart he’ll clear your spirit

your focus of attention will be upon him

and you’ll be able to hear from God what

you’ve never heard before it’ll come

very very clear very precisely very

accurately you will know for an

absolutely uncertain without any doubt

whatsoever this is what God wants me to

do that’s exactly what Daniel did when

he was fasting and praying in that ninth

chapter tremendous chapter on fasting

and praying he said God I don’t know

what the answer is but I want to know

the Bible says he set himself to fast

and pray before the Lord and you see

there is a sacrifice there is a giving

up there is a surrendering there is a

subjecting of the body and the spirit

but you see what we have to ask is Lord

do I want to reach my potential for you

or am I willing to be satisfied to grow

up around down here and have the

Applause and the praise and the pleasing

of others or do I want to reach my

maximum am I willing to bring this body

this soul the spirit in absolute and

total subjection to you that whatever

you want to do in my life God I’ll be

fit and ready and not only that I’ll

know what you want to do you see if

enough people are willing to get on

their face before God and to seek his

mind God will show us how to change this

nation he’ll show us how to put homes

back together he’ll show us how to

become the Catalyst that set fires in

churches and homes All Over America but

you see we’ve got another mind of God

and the reason that burdens me is this

usually at 99% of the time what is the

natural normal way of doing a thing

isn’t God’s way at

all so how do you find out how to do it

you’ve got to find his mind and we can’t

rush around seven days a week doing our

thing and find the mind of God not very

often about major things not very often


all that’s another purpose he has in

mind here and that is genuine personal

repentance and confession before him for

example let’s say that you’ve got got a

habit in your life that you just can’t

overcome let’s say that there’s a given

area in your life in which Satan has a

stronghold I mean he doesn’t have a

little toe hole he’s got a tremendous

stronghold in your life in fact he’s

just got one whole big whopping section

of you and you’re saying Lord I’ve

prayed I’ve read the Bible I’ve been

counsel I’m trying to walk in the spirit

why is it that I can’t get victory over

this thing in my life here’s what

happens when you begin to fast and

sometimes it’ll be like hell on Earth

the first few hours was because Satan

will attack you listen I don’t mean that

all fasting that way but if you go to

God telling him that you want freedom

you want Liberty you want Victory you

want healing in the Inner Man and you

begin to fast you can just watch it

Satan calls for every demonic power that

is available for attack and he’s going

to attack you and here’s what he’s going

to say you don’t think that’s going to

work do you and besides that it’s almost

time for lunch listen to your stomach

growl what is is your wife or your

husband going to think what are your

children are going to think and after

all the Bible says you shouldn’t do it

in public and and your family already

knows that you’re going to fast today or

tomorrow the next three days they know

you’ve gone away for three days and they

you don’t think God’s going to answer

I’ll tell you he’ll put every evil

diabolical Wicked thought he can come up

with and he’s got gobs of them to cause

you to doubt to do anything he can to

get you get you up off your knees

because Satan knows what is God going to

do he’s going to reveal sin that we do

not normally see he he’s going to strip

us open inside and out lay us bare we’re

going to look upon him and we see him

we’re going to see ourselves when we see

ourselves in the light of seeing him we

going to see sin and wickedness and

carnality in our heart we’ve never seen

before but that’s part of the process

when we begin to see what’s inside of us

in the light of what he’s like and we

confess and repent of this and God

cleanses our life out and gets us

straightened out friends you become to

come become a Powerhouse for God God is

going to move in your life as he’s never

moved before there is no incident in the

Bible of people fasting and praying and

repenting toward god without the release

of God’s Supernatural power in their

life and you see what we take for

granted and one of the problems in this

country is we’ve got too

much the real truth is that most of the

nations in the world the people are

fasting every day

anyway the problem is they don’t have

anything to

eat and and friends we’re so blessed

we’ve got it coming and going three

meals a day four or five snacks you name

it you can buy a drink of this and a

piece of that and a bar of that and one

of these and one of these in any the

machine anywhere in this country you can

find all you want to eat and more than

most Americans

need I’ll tell you something interesting

in the

Bible how many times you’ll see the

relationship between

overeating and

sin and you just take Israel they got

got across the Red Sea the Bible

says they met together they ate and they

rose up to play and all kinds of homs

and all kinds of things begin to happen

there is something about the human body

that Satan takes advantage of there all

legitimate appetites but if Satan can

get one of them off balance if he can

get one of them perverted if he can get

one of them over here on some Avenue and

we begin to focus on that then he wipes


up very important if we going to get

right with God and you say I’m not

saying that you have to fast every time

you confess but I want to ask you this

are you one of those persons who’s

saying I want to be everything God wants

me to be but somehow I just can’t do

that I want to but I can’t break out in

fact I don’t even know what it is that

has me changed I don’t even know what it

is that keeps holding me back I just

know what I want to be I know what I

believe God wants me to do and I can’t

do it then I want to challenge you to

start with one day take a Saturday if

that’s your your day off what it may be

and you just say to your wife quietly

don’t make any big to-do out of it honey

I want to just fast today or if your

wife and you want to do that you tell

your family your husband and look I’m

willing to cook uh three meals today if

necessary but it would certainly be

easier on me if I didn’t have to go in

the kitchen uh today and just be by

myself alone to pray and husband surely

you’ll take the kids out and do whatever

is necessary won’t hurt you to

cook ah and teach you to appreciate your

wife a little more

and you just take care of that while she

sets aside a time to pray or if the

husband and wife want to take a time of

fasting and praying together or the

whole family fast and pray God will do

something Supernatural in your life and

in your family and friend there is a

Power released when you fast and pray

that does not come any other way look in

the Bible to see what he says then there

is the concern over a nation the concern

turn over a nation to protect the nation

and one of the most beautiful of all

chapters is 2 Chronicles chapter 20 when

Jehoshaphat heard the enemy was coming

the Bible says he fell on his face

before God called for fasting and

praying and he prayed before God before

the whole Congregation of Israel and

when he finished his prayer God spoke to

a prophet who was standing in the

congregation and he stood up and told

him what to do and they did the most

unnatural thing they got the Army

together they got the choir they put the

choir in the front of the army the

natural normal thing to do was put the

choir up on the hill where everybody

could see them with all the Trumpets on

one side and the singers on the other

and the and the armies would go out

inspired by the choir and the and the

orchestra up on the bank where it was


safe Jehoshaphat said God said put the

choir and the orchestra in the front of


army well you can amaz be amazed or you

can you can imagine how amazed the enemy

were when the choir came out

first but but you see it put him in

confusion God defeated him but he didn’t

do it the natural normal way and you see

God will save this country God can

change this nation God can send a

tremendous sweeping Revival in America

but I want to tell you he’s going to

have to do it his way and the only way

for him to do it for him to get all the

glory and praise and honor is for people

to pray if God sent some sweeping Mighty

evangelist through America to start a

Revival we give him all the credit we do

it anyway we are prone to give people

credit God wants glory not men having

credit and when we fall in our face

before God and weep and confess and

repent and praise and sing God is going

to hear that it’s sweet to him because

he knows his people are getting honest


him another thing another purpose for

for uh fasting is this that is a concern

for God’s work and you’ll recall in

Nehemiah chapter 1 when nemiah who was

the cup bearer of our xeres the

scripture says that he was serving the

king and of course he was a u uh he was

a um not a he was a prisoner but uh he

was a prisoner who had a acceptable

responsibility of being sort of a a

butler there and the scripture says that

when he heard the news of how the walls

were broken down in Jerusalem and the

gates were burned and here he was

hundreds of miles away in Babylonian

captivity that he just wept and wept and

wept and his heart was broken over the

whole situation and he says and it came

to pass when I heard these things that I

sat down and wept and mourned certain

days and fasted and prayed before the

god of heaven and I said I beseech thee

Oh Lord God Of Heaven the great and

terrible God that keepeth Covenant and

mercy for them that love him and observe


Commandments let thine ear now be

attentive and Thine Eyes Open that thou

mayest hear the prayer of thy servant

which I pray before thee now day and

night for the children of Israel thy

servants and confess the sins of the

children of Israel which have sinned

against thee both I and my father’s

house have sinned and dealt corruptly

against thee listen that’s the kind of

prayers the leadership of this nation

needs to pray anyway Nehemiah began to

pray he didn’t say a word to anybody he

fasted and prayed and besought the Lord

day and night now he had to fulfill his

responsibilities before the king the

second chapter says he came in before

the king when then the king says what’s

the matter with you nemiah you look down

in the heart your spirits grieve what’s

the matter with you and that’s exactly

what Nehemiah had been mourning somebody

to ask him at the right

time and so he opened his heart he said

my people are dispersed they’re

scattered my God is is shamed by the

dispersion of my people the city of

Jerusalem God’s holy city the walls are

broken down the gates are all burned and

my heart is grieve for my people and the

King said listen watch this here is a

heathen Babylonian King who doesn’t even

believe in the god of Nehemiah here is a

man who’s a servant and a slave to the

the king and the king of Babylon Under

The Sovereign control and the power of

the almighty God who is our almighty God

today said to him Nehemiah what can I do

for you and Nehemiah said I’d like to go

back I’d like to see my people revive

you know what he did he gave him a work

order and that work order said that

every all the all the supplies that he

needed all the people he needed and all

the time he needed and all the

protection he needed to go back to

Jerusalem rebuild the walls rebuild the

gates that he had not only the king’s

supplies he had the king’s blessing and

the King’s

protection that is a demonstration of

what happens when God’s people fast and

pray in concern for God’s work now

friend when they got desperate God

moved and the problem in America is

we’re not desperate we still think we’re

going to pull it off and we’re not I

guarantee you God isn’t going to let

this nation pull off anything except

repentance and confession and

humiliation before him and you know

where that starts my heart your heart

the hearts and the families and the

homes all over this nation when people

pray things begin to

happen well let me just go through just

two or three things quickly that I’ve

already mentioned about what happens the

first thing that happens when God’s

people begin to fast and pray is is a

sharpening of the mind there is nothing

that makes the mind so Keen nothing that

gives such Clear Sight as fasting it

peels off every hour you and I are

fasting and praying is peeling off one

layer of fog and Haze where we’re able

to see the innermost being of what God

is thinking able to see ourselves as

we’ve never seen ourselves before able

to see those around us as we have never

been able to feel their feelings and see

their condition we’re able to understand

scripture like we’ve never understood it

before able to get the mind of God able

to discern his will and most of all the

supernatural power of God is strangely

miraculously but definitely released

when God’s people are willing to Humble

themselves before him bring themselves

in subjection to him and say God I can’t

but you can more important to me than

food more important to me than any

Intimate Relationships of any kind any

need that I have more important than

that is my relationship to you that I

find what you’re saying to me and friend

we have the privilege of Watching God do

a supernatural work in our midst the

greatest work will be in our hearts and

it’s my prayer that God will burden your

heart that you’ll never be satisfied

with less than the maximum of your

potential for him now father we thank

you in Jesus

name for giving us the examples of

fasting and praying all through the

scripture and there’s so many of

them we thank you for that beautiful

chapter of Isaiah 58 that describes how

we ought to go about fasting and I pray

that many today will commit themselves

to prayer groups many today will commit

themselves to begin to fast and to pray

and to seek your face confessing and

repenting of sin

that you may be able to use each and

every one of us and all of us together

in small groups and a great body and a

whole nation of people that through all

of us you may demonstrate your

Supernatural power that you’re alive

that you’re God that you’re Sovereign

that everything on this Earth and

everything Beyond it is under your


control I pray for somebody here today

Father who is unsaved for they cannot

pray except they first pray for mercy

and forgiveness and cleansing and


I pray for fathers and mothers who have

families who ought to be a part of this

Fellowship who ought to join this

fellowship and grow up with us in

understanding the truth of the

scriptures and growing in their life and

providing the teaching and the

admonition and the nurture of their

families they will bring about strength

and stability and stalwartness and

mighty in spirit this we ask in Jesus

name and for his