FASTING & PRAYING
WHY IT IS VALUABLE FOR THE CHRISTIAN
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
This scripture is often quoted when in times of turmoil in our land. Yet, just as often, only the part about prayer is usually remembered. God is not a genie, nor are we His robots. The Christian is called to cooperate with God while on Earth and do His will, obey His ways for living. In this scripture we read what is important to God:
- Humility – losing our prideful ways.
- Seeking Him – a genuine desire to draw close to Him by reading the Bible, asking for insight and wisdom, obeying Him.
- Repentance – turning away from our sinful ways – ungodly habits, immoral activities, etc. This should be a lifestyle.
There is no biblical command that followers of Jesus Christ must fast. However, Jesus sometimes fasted (Matthew 4:2), and He assumed that His followers would also fast on occasion (Matthew 6:16–18; Mark 2:20). Fasting is not about manipulating God. Fasting will not cause God to do something that is outside of His will.
People in the Bible fasted and prayed because they wanted something specific to happen. They either wanted God to change them, to change their circumstances, or to reveal something to them.Fasting and praying is a discipline of faith. It is an act of focusing your mind and will on God, and to demonstrate commitment. Fasting and praying is not a works activity to make you more pleasing to God. Rather, it is a spiritual act of worship and it is a weapon of spiritual warfare. It is something done freely to cut through the heavy fog of worldliness in your life. It is the practice of a spiritual warrior in Christ to sharpen the sword of the Spirit and be more alert to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit in prayer.
During a fast of even 12 hours, your body or mind will begin telling you “you must do xyz” because it’s your normal habit. Your faith, along with the power of the Holy Spirit within you, has authority over your fleshly body to say, “No, I’m going to pray.” This is when you are battling spiritually against your flesh and the devil. Neither wants you to increase your spiritual strength and resolve to pray in God’s will.
Drink lots of water while fasting. Those with medical conditions, especially conditions involving dietary restrictions (diabetes, for example), should consult a doctor before fasting.
Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:17-18