You’re wondering if prayer can help you lose weight. The answer is yes and no, but mostly yes. Several years ago, I attended a conference. I witnessed a group of ministers praying for one of the leaders regarding weight loss. Prior to the prayer, the leader expressed her struggle with obesity. She shared the toll it was taking on her everyday life and her ministry. I distinctly remember her speaking about the faith she had that God would heal her from being overweight.
When the prayer began, I wasn’t sure whether the prayer was geared toward an instant manifestation in which the pounds would shed before our eyes, or if the group was praying for a more gradual intervention that would eventually lead to her weight loss. But then, as the ministers prayed, I noticed the prayers were becoming more intense. They were seeking some sort of miracle apart from any personal changes in behavior. Something felt counterintuitive about that, but it wasn’t until I embarked on my own health journey that I began to make sense of those conflicting feelings. It was years before I understood the connection between my health and my purpose and how closely both were tied to developing new healthy habits.
The irony, looking back now, is that directly after the prayer at that conference we sat for dinner and ate fried chicken, mac and cheese, and sugary candied yams—need I go on? At the time I knew something didn’t make sense. Specifically, eating unhealthy food and at the same time asking God for weight loss.
Prayer can help you lose weight
And this helps us answer the question of whether prayer can help you lose weight! When I combine all that I know about weight loss and prayer with that experience at the conference, I am totally convinced that yes prayer can help you lose—but only if you allow God to change your lifestyle overall.
When we come to God in prayer about losing weight, we must be open to also losing some of our bad habits that got us where we are. We cannot expect results if we pray out of one side of the mouth for weight loss while we put potato chips in the other side of the mouth. We can’t tie God’s hands by refusing to explore the nudges He gives us to change our habits.
Answered prayer for weight loss
So, what does answered prayer for weight loss look like? It may show up as a new understanding of our relationship with food; we may begin to see the ways we use food to fill emotional or spiritual voids in our life. It may show up as us tapping into God’s strength rather than reaching for that slice of chocolate cake. It may also show up as a shift in mindset in which you’re convinced that God wants you healthy and your actions reflect that. Or It may also show up as new inspirations. For example, strategies to overcome the systemic barriers you face when it comes to eating healthy.
There are so many ways that God will answer prayer when it comes to weight loss, and they may not be numbers on the scale right in that moment.
The Daniel Fast can be that nudge
Remember: while your main concern may be seeing the scale numbers go down, God is always trying to get to the root cause rather than putting a Band-Aid on the solution. God works in mysterious ways. He leads us to finding resources to develop healthier habits around food, sleep, movement, and mindset that will eventually result in weight loss. This was true for me. When I started praying for weight loss, God led me to the Daniel Fast and that revolutionized my health. Weight loss on the Daniel Fast has helped others as well.
When we pray to lose weight, we must be open to let God into new spaces in our health journey, where He had been left out. When we pray to lose weight, we are seeking to access God’s strength during our health journey, and while that doesn’t relieve us from doing the work it takes to get healthy, it does give us the strength to keep going.
So then why did I answer “yes and no”? Where does the no come in? It means that no, prayer will not remove the need for personal development. God rarely overrides the natural consequences of unhealthy living.
God is in the transformation business
You see, God isn’t in the weight-loss business. He is in the transformation business. That’s what it will take to consistently walk out healthy habits that lead to weight loss. God brings us to willingness. He helps us bring faith to our kitchen table by examining what is at the end of our fork. God wants us to be at our healthiest weight. He wants us to pray about our struggles in this area. What He will do is change our desires and behaviors. With that change, the miracle we are seeking has room to grow.