During this time of season Christians have times of prayer and fasting. Some announce 21 days of fasting abstaining from different kinds of food and drink such as The Daniel Fast which is a popular fast over the Prince of Persia.
“When this vision came to me, I, Daniel, had been in mourning for three whole weeks.” Daniel 10:2 NLT
Fasting is more about self-denial than it is for self-improvement. Some fast to lose weight or to impress God, or other people such as their Pastor or church leaders. Our motives need to be pure.
Jesus encourages us to pray and fast in the sermon on the mount. Matthew 6:5-18.
“And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. Matthew 6:16-18 NLT
Jesus said, “when you pray” and “when you fast,” do not do as the hypocrites do. I realize corporate prayer and fasting can be challenging to keep secret, but there are times in our personal walk with the Lord we need to proclaim a fast along with prayer. Queen Esther shows us a powerful example of prayer and fasting where God intervened to save the Jews.
Jesus teaches us some answers to prayer for overcoming, victory or deliverance from strongholds in our lives or others come by both prayer and fasting.
“When Jesus saw that the crowd of onlookers was growing, he rebuked the evil spirit. 'Listen, you spirit that makes this boy unable to hear and speak,' he said. 'I command you to come out of this child and never enter him again!' Then the spirit screamed and threw the boy into another violent convulsion and left him. The boy appeared to be dead. A murmur ran through the crowd as people said, 'He’s dead.' But Jesus took him by the hand and helped him to his feet, and he stood up. Afterward, when Jesus was alone in the house with his disciples, they asked him, 'Why couldn’t we cast out that evil spirit?' Jesus replied, “This kind can be cast out only by prayer and fasting,” Mark 9:25-29 NLT.
You may have a great need or someone else has a great need and you decide to declare a fast with prayer in faith.
The times we go on a fast should not be out of duty but being led by the Spirit of God so the power of heaven can intervene in your situation or for someone else who may need a miracle and some kind of spiritual breakthrough.
Fasting can help us with better focus and a sharper mind. God shows us things in our own life as we seek His face and pray as we fast. The Lord reveals sins we cannot see such as pride, arrogance, gossip, envy, jealousy, etc. God desires that we make it right with Him and repent of anything that displeased Him. We can so easily label and judge others, yet God is showing us it is you or I who need to make things right, so we do not grieve the Holy Spirit.
Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. "And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption," Ephesians 4:29-30 NLT.
Hannah in Samuel 1 was childless, greatly distressed, and desperate for God’s intervention. She made a vow to God if you will indeed look on… “Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord. Eli the priest thought she was drunk. “Oh no, sir!” she replied. 'I haven’t been drinking wine or anything stronger. But I am very discouraged, and I was pouring out my heart to the Lord. Don’t think I am a wicked woman! For I have been praying out of great anguish and sorrow,'” 1 Samuel 1:10, 15-16 NLT.
God blessed Hannah with a son she named Samuel saying, "because I have asked of the Lord."
Is the Lord is speaking to you to ‘pour out your heart’ to him today? Fasting can be a meal, a day, a week, etc. Or it can also be eliminating, TV, electronics, social media to take that time and spend with God or be involved in a group or corporate prayer and fasting.
However long God leads you, keep praying and fasting until you experience answered prayer or a miracle breakthrough. He will help you even in your trying moments. I challenge you to make the effort by faith because God is waiting to give you a miracle today!
Pastor Andy Provitola