things to avoid when fasting and praying

15 Major Things To Avoid When Fasting And Praying For Effectiveness.

There are some major things to avoid when fasting and praying.

Do you want to fast and pray? Would you like to see tremendous results whenever you observe fasting and prayer? Do you want to observe fasting and praying that pulls down mountains? There are some things to avoid when fasting and praying in order to get a result.

Maybe you created a 3-day fasting and prayer plan, or a 7-day fasting and prayer plan, and you want to seek the face of God. That’s great!

But, no man would be happy if he did not see a positive result after fasting and praying for a long time.

Fasting and praying have tremendous power in pulling down strongholds and moving mountains that seem unmovable. Remember, Jesus said, “However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:21). This is because fasting assists our unbelief when we pray.

In this post, we shall consider the meaning and the essence of fasting and praying, and things to avoid when fasting and praying.

See also: 10 Important Things to Do When Fasting and Praying to Deepen Your Connection with God.

Things to avoid when fasting and praying

What is “fasting and praying”?

Before listing the things to avoid while fasting and praying, let me first define fasting and praying.

What is “fasting and praying”?

Fasting and prayer are two separate practices that are combined. While praying is a spiritual action, fasting is a physical activity. This combo results in excellent outcomes.

Fasting is a discipline that involves staying away from food primarily or something else for an extended period.

“Praying” simply means “speaking to God.” Prayer is a way for man to communicate with God. It is also an act of worship. Prayer is a spiritual activity because God is Spirit.

Fasting is spiritual only when you do it together with praying. Fasting while praying shows that our need for God is greater than our bodily need for sustenance. Remember, “Man shall not live by bread alone.” (Matthew 4:4).

“Prayer is reaching out after the unseen; fasting is letting go of all that is seen and temporal. Fasting helps express, deepen, confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God.”

Andy Murray

“Fasting and praying” is thus a spiritual practice that involves abstaining from food in order to seek God.

Why fasting and prayer?

Also, before diving into things to avoid when fasting and praying, it will be expedient if I point out at least a few of the many reasons Christians fast.

Matthew 6:17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face (NKJV).

This suggests that our Lord Jesus expects Christians to fast

Matthew 17:21 However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting (NKJV).

This literally means that we cannot change some situations unless we humble ourselves before God through fasting and prayer.

Many things might have made you decide to fast and pray. These might include:

  • For repentance (Jonah 3:5-9),
  • To handle a tough situation (Esther 4:16),
  • To seek the face of God,
  • To seek God’s direction and guidance (Judges 20:26),
  • To dedicate yourself to the Lord,
  • For God’s deliverance, and so on.

Whatever your reasons are, fasting and praying is a powerful spiritual activity.

But no man would like to be hungry, especially when there is good food available. No one wants to starve himself or deprive himself of certain things in the name of seeking God, only to see no results.

Fasting can affect one’s productivity, and it is not pleasant for the flesh. So, I expect us to do it properly so that we can see results.

If we must, therefore, see results, there are things to avoid when fasting and praying. 

Things to avoid when fasting and praying.

Things to avoid when fasting and praying

From the things to avoid when fasting and praying, we can deduce the things to do when fasting and praying.

The following are things to avoid when fasting and praying.

1. Avoid Food.

Fasting, as the name implies, is abstinence from food and/or drink for an extended period. Fasting from both food and drink is common in the Bible. However, some modifications may be necessary for health reasons.

Some people say that they are fasting, yet they take food (maybe in a small quantity), but I would say, if you want to fast, fast. Stay away from food at that moment of fasting, except for justifiable reasons. 

But when there are justifiable reasons to eat, you can practice other types of fasting, like partial fasting (Daniel 10:3), liquid fasting, etc. And that’s when you can check out what foods to eat while fasting and praying.

Also, as you avoid food, try as much as possible to avoid thinking about it. Thinking about food when fasting can keep your eyes on the clock. Instead, focus fully on God and His word.

2. Avoid Not Praying. 

You should keep in mind that one of the things to avoid when fasting and praying is not praying.

Fasting without praying is not a spiritual activity. One who is fasting in the name of seeking the face of God and doesn’t pray is just starving or on a hunger strike. 

But there are other benefits of fasting that are not spiritual but good for improving one’s health.

If you want to fast for the sake of seeking God’s face, make sure you pray. 

Even if you still go to work while fasting, make sure you tune in to heaven. Make sure you pray, even though it is on your mind while you do your work. Praying while fasting is very important. At intervals, please pray. Pray short prayers, ejaculatory prayers, and even long prayers if time allows. Pray fervently. Make sure you pray. Pray!

Read also: Men ought always to pray: 11 reasons to be prayerful.

Consider the nature of your work and look out for where to fix prayers. 

Some Christians would wait until after 5:30 p.m. to pray to end their fast, which they observed from, let’s say, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. That’s decent, but not great. It shouldn’t be that way. A lot of praying should accompany fasting. Your fasting will produce tremendous results when you pray extensively.

I’ll just say this. Don’t fast for a very long time, mostly because others do. Don’t let hunger take the place of prayer. It’s not good to allow fasting to keep you from praying. Some people fast so much that they become unable to even pray. That is not something I endorse. As long as a long fast is good, praying while doing it is what makes it powerful.

3. Avoid not reading and meditating on the Word.

The word of God is very vital. It gives spiritual nourishment to our hearts. 

God’s word contains everything we need for a successful Christian life and also for a fruitful fast. 

God may decide to talk to you through his word while you fast. And because fasting and praying is a means by which we seek God, it is not appropriate to neglect the study and meditation of His word while doing it. 

So, one of the things to avoid when fasting and praying is the temptation to not read and meditate on the word of God.

3. Avoid a proud heart.

Proverbs 21:4 A haughty look, a proud heart, And the plowing of the wicked are sin. (NKJV)

By saying, “a proud heart,” I mean you should avoid, as much as possible, exalting yourself in your heart. 

Having an exalted heart while praying and fasting or thinking that because you are fasting, you are more righteous, can make the entire act of praying and fasting futile.

Fasting and praying is a very good spiritual activity but can lead to pride if you don’t take proper care

Consider this Pharisee.

 Luke 18:11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.
Luke 18:12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’
Luke 18:13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’

Note that fasting is one of the biblical means by which we humble ourselves before God. It is never a thing to boast about. 

Therefore, while fasting, see yourself as one in need of God’s mercy and that has nothing to boast of.

4. Avoid making a show of it.

To “make a show of” something means purposefully displaying a specific feeling, attitude, or action. When you make a show of something, you are making it clear or performing something for the attention of others.

Jesus said in Matthew 6:16-18,

Matthew 6:16, Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.
Matthew 6:17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,
Matthew 6:18 So that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

Making a show of fasting is among the don’ts of Christian fast. Therefore, resist the temptation of intentionally letting people know or finding out that you are fasting.

6. Avoid anything that takes strength.

While fasting, it might be very necessary for you to keep up with your work. But there are some things that might be unnecessary at this moment that can take one’s strength, like working out. Stay away from such things. Conserve your strength and use it more appropriately

While fasting and praying, avoid wasting your strength on things that are unnecessary at the moment.

7. Avoid talking unnecessarily.

The time of fasting and praying is never a time to be loquacious. It is a time to talk more to God. 

Talkativeness is among the hindrances to spiritual growth because talking unnecessarily is completely destructive for profound spirituality. That is why it is among the things to avoid when fasting and praying. 

8. Avoid things that are sensual.

By saying, “sensual things,” I mean things that induce pleasurable or erotic sensations.

If you’re married, at the point of active fasting and praying, it is better to avoid making love with your wife or husband. But, please, this should be agreed upon because you have no authority over your body, rather your wife or husband has.

1 Corinthians 7:3 Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband.
1 Corinthians 7:4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.
1 Corinthians 7:5 Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

If you are not married, please avoid sexual sins. Avoid lusting, avoid fornication, and flee from all forms of youthful lust. Though this should not be named among us Christian (Ephesians 5:3).

9. Avoid sin in general. 

No genuine Christian sins willfully, but a time of fasting and praying is a time to be more conscious of sin.  

The devil may attempt to rob you of what God has planned to do for you. Avoid yielding to any temptation the tempter comes with.

Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights and was hungry. Then the devil came, but Jesus prevailed. Observe what happens next. 

St. Luke 4:13 And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.
St. Luke 4:14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.

Sin, as basic as it sounds, is among the things to avoid when fasting and praying

10. Avoid being hindered by your past or by the guilt of sin.

This is also among the things to avoid when fasting and praying.

Please note this. Even if you have been grievously sinning, let it not hinder you from fasting when you are supposed to. In fact, that is why you should even fast and pray so that God can help you overcome the sin next time, even if it is an addiction. 

Don’t allow the guilt of sin to trouble you when fasting and praying.

You might also like to read, “Does God love me even though I keep sinning?”

11. Avoid getting dehydrated.

Some fast without drinking water. That might look good, but it is actually not healthy, especially when you are fasting for a long time. This is because water is very important to the human body.

How long can one live without water? The average time that the body may go without water intake is 3 days, after which complications and possibly death may set in.

To avoid dehydration, it is advisable to take water while you fast.

12. Avoid giving up easily.

Have you ever thought of quitting and getting something to eat while fasting? This can happen when the hunger pang becomes so severe. 

If the challenge is just hunger, continue! Don’t give up so easily, for man shall not live by bread alone.

13. Avoid distractions.

Can you watch TV while fasting and praying?

Some may say yes, while others may disagree. But my answer is to avoid everything that is a distraction, of which the TV may be a part of it.

Fasting and praying is a spiritual activity whereby we humble ourselves before God to seek his face. Therefore, we ought to keep our focus on God while we fast. 

We should avoid every form of distraction. For example:

  • Unnecessarily visiting people
  • Social media
  • TV programs
  • Distractions from your phone
  • Not being organized or not planning yourself properly, etc.

This issue of avoiding distractions has led to many asking this question, “What can I have while fasting and praying?”

Distractions are really among the things to avoid when fasting and praying because they can make you focus on things that are irrelevant at the moment. So, watch out for distractions.

14. Avoid unforgiveness or holding grudges when fasting and praying.

Mark 11:25, And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. ” (NIV).

Jesus said, in St. Matthew 6:12, “… and forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.”

As long as we pray during fasting, it should be a period of forgiving everyone that has wronged us. We are to forgive even offenses that seem difficult to forgive. This is so that God will forgive us and consider our fasting and prayers.

Unforgiveness hinders prayers. That is why it is among the things to avoid when fasting and praying. 

15. Avoid being selfish.

Selfishness is among the things to avoid when fasting and praying.

Even if you are fasting and praying for personal reasons, it would be good if you remembered others. Pray for others, give alms to the needy, release the oppressed that are within your power to set free, show love to people, etc. 

Avoid being self-centered when fasting and praying.

Read also: Can I fast from 6 am to 12 pm as a Christian?

Other things to avoid when fasting and praying.

There are other things to avoid when fasting and praying. 

  • Avoid not reflecting on your ways. You ought to think deeply about how you have been walking with God so that you can discover the areas of your weakness and pray about them.
  • Avoid not praying according to God’s will. Praying against God’s will is like pouring water on a stone. It doesn’t produce any fruit. David tried it when he prayed against the death of the first child Bathsheba gave birth to for him.
  • Avoid not giving thanks to God while you fast.
  • Avoid thinking that you can get merit with God or get cleansed from sin through fasting. Only the blood of Jesus cleanses sin.
  • Avoid doubt. Doubt is also part of the don’ts of Christian fast.

Things to avoid when fasting and praying


To note the things to avoid when fasting and praying, and avoiding them, is also part of how to fast and pray for a breakthrough.

Though God wants us to fast, he doesn’t reward all fasts. There is a kind of fast he accepts. I hope this post helps us to begin to do fasting and praying the way that God accepts and rewards.

1saiah 58 is about the type of fast God accepts.

God’s grace!

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