How does fasting strengthen our prayer lives?

How does fasting strengthen our prayer lives?

This is a good question because of that fact that many of us have little experience with fasting. We do know that throughout the Bible and for hundreds of years after Christ, God’s people fasted. 

Without question, fasting is Biblical and significant. Throughout the Old Testament, God’s chosen leaders called for fasts at particular moments -- generally when the people had drifted from God’s will and way, and when they were facing a particularly threatening situation. The call for a fast was a call from God. Jehoshaphat feared for the future of the nation, and called for the people of Judah to gather from every city, to fast and seek the Lord (2 Chronicles 20). Because of the wickedness of the people, the prophet Joel called for a fast and a solemn assembly, lest God’s judgment fall immediately (Joel 1:14). The examples are many.

In the New Testament, there are no examples of fasts called by spiritual leaders. But Jesus affirmed the practice of individual fasting (Matthew 6:17,18). He Himself fasted forty days in the wilderness following His baptism -- a time of instruction and preparation for the ministry of His life. He did not ask His disciples to fast while He was with them, though He acknowledged that they would do so after His death (Matthew 9:15).

As we consider fasting and when to fast, Wesley Duewel said in his book, Mighty Prevailing Prayer:

"Fasting is a God-ordained form of self-denial...When you long to strengthen and discipline your prayer habits, add fasting. When you seek to humble yourself before God in total submission to His will, add fasting. When you face an overwhelming need, a human impossibility, and your soul hungers to see God intervene by supernatural power, add fasting." 

Fasting itself is a continual prayer before God where we say no to other distractions. It can help us to break out of routines in order to focus more time on God. Try a partial fast first, perhaps from lunch or from sunrise to sunset (if doctor approves). You can fast from food, TV, your phone...

We like this quote from Jentezen Franklin: "If it means something to you, it will mean something to God." It's a matter of the heart and a time to turn your face toward Him with renewed, undistracted, intense purpose -- seeking Him, asking His forgiveness, awaiting His direction.

Father, help us to be willing to fast as You may lead us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

a man praying in beach at sunset
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