Progressions of Fasting – Part 1
Getting Beyond the Baby Steps of Prayer Paired with Fasting – Part 3
This has to be my most favorite topic as it relates to discussing the practice of prayer paired with fasting. In fact, what I need to do is give you a brief disclaimer as I introduce this concept to you. I’ve often used what’s about to be shared as an aid for people who are new to the practice of fasting paired with prayer. This should not be viewed as a law, nor a rule. It is simply a method, a tool, an example, and an exercise one can use to condition oneself for getting more into this spiritual exercise that we call prayer and fasting. The purpose is to provide an understanding of how prayer paired with fasting WORKS.
One of the leaders, who was influential in setting up the early Christian church, made a statement that is really remarkable. He emphasized that “if any person adopts the practices of Christianity, meaning they follow Christ, becomes one with Christ, he or she becomes something totally different, something new.”  That process is what I want to introduce to you as it relates to prayer paired with fasting. It is the process we know as metamorphosis. It is a transformation. It is the same thing that happens to an insect that we observe, the caterpillar. The caterpillar undergoes a metamorphosis that occurs, which causes it to morph into a beautiful butterfly.
The fasting-act is like that process of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. In order to do this justice, we will use this example to demonstrate what fasting should do in a person’s life. It should take you through a metamorphosis, a change into something totally different. That’s the point of fasting. Fasting is not an exercise that you take for granted or commit to arbitrarily. It is an act, an elevated act, I might add, and a next level act paired with prayer so that you can get some results that you would not normally get without fasting going along with it. Jesus’ response to His disciples, who asked why we could not deal with or handle the unclean spirit that we encountered, confirms this notion. “[T]his kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”  You can only handle this with elevator rights! That’s what fasting does when paired with prayer; it elevates your rights. It gives you some elevated rights to transform, to alter your course, and do something different.
The same leader, Paul that is, makes another interesting statement in one of his letters to the church that he was overseeing. “Lord who is Spirit makes us more and more like Him as we change into His glorious image.”  God’s spirit transforms us. It causes a metamorphosis to occur. Fasting is a method we’ve been given to aid in this transformation process. Let me warn you to not be too spiritually-deep when you read this scripture. When we do, we miss the main idea behind it. It’s more about the change that we will undergo when we come in contact with God. We will be transformed. You’re going to go from a caterpillar to a butterfly, so to speak. Your experience in becoming a believer in Christ, if you are a Christian, says that you have experienced this metamorphosis. When it comes to prayer paired with fasting, the goal, the idea, is you go in one way, but you come out a different way.
Fasting is no different than a person taking on the characteristics and nature of a caterpillar. It happens in three stages or progressions that I wish to examine a little closer.
Progression 1: Preparing Your Cocoon
The caterpillar must prepare its cocoon. In preparation for the cocoon, a caterpillar must decide on a location and environment that’s suitable for the change it’s about to experience. When you’re entering your time of prayer paired with fasting, you too need a suitable environment for the metamorphosis that’s getting ready to take place. Find a perfect spot, the perfect conditions, and the perfect environment. Prepare your cocoon. Prepare for your time of prayer paired with fasting.
Progression 2: Isolate to Your Cocoon
A caterpillar forms its cocoon and isolates itself. This cocoon is a space that’s tight and minimalistic. In other words, the caterpillar has freed itself from any distractions, attachments, and any other outside influences. Now that the caterpillar is in a place where it is isolated and protected, it can inhabit the cocoon for the length of time needed for its transformation. The cocoon is a place designed to maximize the caterpillar’s development. This cocoon stage is similar to how a person participates in the exercise of fasting. Like the caterpillar, we enter one way, spend time isolated, but will exit totally transformed. During the cocoon stage, this is where the transformation takes place.
Progression 3: Emerge from Your Cocoon
Something miraculous happens when a caterpillar emerges from its cocoon. That is stage three. In light of the caterpillar that went into the cocoon, it went in one way, but it came out transformed into a butterfly. That’s what we call a miracle. It is no longer the same. It becomes something totally different, “a new creation.”  When you come out of prayer paired with fasting, the goal is for you not to be the same, for you to reach an objective, for you to strive to achieve an outcome. This is the goal and purpose of pairing fasting with prayer. We desire to emerge transformed. You’re going in one way, with the expectation that you’re coming out a new way, “a new creation.” 
This is just an introduction into the progressions of fasting. Remember, don’t think of this as a law, or a rule, but as a method or process to prepare you for the exercise of pairing prayer with fasting. From now on when you hear the word “fasting,” I want you to think “caterpillar to butterfly.” I want you to think of the transformation you are getting ready to experience. It’s done using these three steps:
- Prepare to go into the cocoon.
- Isolate yourself within the cocoon.
- Emerge transformed from your cocoon.
I can’t wait to go into each one of these sections in more detail so that it adds to your knowledge and gives you more ideas about prayer and fasting. Probably the most important thing I’m looking forward to is making sure that you’re excited about your next prayer paired with fasting opportunity. This is next level prayer!
Question: What can you conclude from observing a caterpillar becoming a butterfly that can help you to think about how your metamorphosis can take place?
 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT, Bible.com, accessed June 23, 2023, https://www.bible.com/bible/116/2CO.5.17.NLT
 Matthew 17:21 NKJV, Bible.com, accessed June 22, 2023, https://bible.com/bible/114/mat.17.21.NKJV
 2 Corinthians 3:18 NLT, Bible.com, accessed June 22, 2023, https://www.bible.com/bible/116/2CO.3.18.NLT
All Scripture references used by permission, see our Scripture copyrights.