I believe that prayer and fasting is one of the keys to walking in a greater anointing for deliverance. Fasting means to abstain from food for a spiritual purpose. There are various types of fasts, and fasting can be done for different lengths of time. Jesus both practiced and taught about fasting, and we should incorporate this spiritual discipline into our walk with God.
Right after being baptized by John the Baptist and anointed with the Holy Spirit, Jesus entered into an intense period of fasting: “Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry” (Luke 4:1-2).
Jesus fasted for 40 days and faced off with the devil in a series of temptations. He overcame every temptation, using the Word of God as His weapon. Look at the description of the conclusion of this battle: “Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time. Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee” (Luke 4:13-14, emphasis added). He was filled with the Spirit, led by the Spirit, and now He was empowered by the Spirit. It seems that through the process of fasting, a greater dimension of the Spirit’s power was released into His ministry.
There is something about fasting and praying in secret that prepares us for victory in the time of need. Jesus conquered the devil in private before He conquered him in public. Though our ultimate victory was secured by Christ’s finished work on the cross, we live in an age where a spiritual battle is still raging. While I don’t fully understand how all of this works, I do know that fasting has an impact on the spiritual world. When Daniel prayed and fasted it affected the battle going on in the heavenly realm (see Daniel 10:1-14). Fasting is a weapon of warfare against the devil and his kingdom of darkness.
One time the disciples were not able to cast out a demon from a boy in need of deliverance. Jesus came on the scene and delivered the boy from this tormenting spirit. When the disciples asked Him about this He said, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting” (Mark 9:29). Jesus lived a lifestyle of prayer and fasting that allowed Him to walk in the faith and power that was needed in each moment. Behind the command that set the boy free was a secret history with God in prayer and fasting. It wasn’t just about the moment, it was about the history of relationship with the Father and obedience and devotion when no one was watching.
If you are in need of deliverance, fasting is a great way to prepare the way. It can have the effect of loosening the ground, so to speak, so that the works of the enemy and demonic strongholds can be uprooted. If you minister in deliverance, I encourage you to combine prayer and fasting in an intentional way, seeking God for a greater empowerment of the Spirit to cast out demons and set captives free!