Responding to God in Fasting
Tim Temple

Introduction

We have been talking about how we can respond to God. The first area that we have been discussing is responding to God in prayer. In the next few weeks, we will be talking about other ways that we are to respond to God. This series of studies is built on our past series, Knowing God , and we will be thinking in the coming weeks about the area of worshiping God and about giving to God, but today we want to have our final study on responding to God in prayer.

If I could show you a practice, if done properly, which would cause God to look for ways to bless you, would you be interested in knowing about that? Well, here in Matthew, chapter 6, we have just such a practice, because it was in these verses that Jesus gave one of the underlying principles of His Kingdom, and that is the practice of fasting. Fasting is a subject that for some unknown reason used to be relegated by most people to the lunatic fringe of Christianity. It is something that we think of as an Old Testament practice, something that we put in a category with snake handling and other kinds of unusual practices. Yet, as we look at the Scripture, we are going to see that fasting is something that should be a very important part of our Christian life even today. So we want to think about this very basic concept of Scripture that is so often overlooked.

The Greek word that is translated by our English word fasting throughout the New Testament is a word that simply means “to abstain from food or from water,” for whatever purpose. The word nesteuo itself is not a religious word, but every time it is used in the New Testament, or in the Old Testament for that matter, it is for a spiritual purpose. Sometimes there is a medical use for fasting. Sometimes when you are going to have a blood test, you will be told to fast for several hours before you have that blood test. They are not telling you that you need to be praying about the blood test; they are just telling you not to eat. The Bible speaks of fasting in terms of a spiritual practice.

The Reality of Fasting

I want us to look at the reality of fasting as it is presented to us in several places in the Scripture. First, there are several Scriptures that talk about the fastings related to Israel. You are familiar with the fact that fasting is mentioned a great deal in regard to the nation of Israel. One reference that makes a clear, specific mention of fasting is Zechariah, chapter 8, verse 19. It says:

Zechariah 8

19Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts; therefore love the truth and peace.

This is just a typical verse from the Old Testament that talks about the reality of fasting and the fact that fasting was supposed to be a very important part of the worship of Israel. There were specific days on which they were to fast, and then from time to time God would lead the leader of Israel—the king or the judge—to proclaim a fast. Fasting was a very important part of Israel's history and, significantly for the kind of situation that we live in in our nation today, it is important to notice the many times God works very importantly, even miraculously, for the nation of Israel in response to the fasting and prayer of just a few people.

As we talk about the importance of fasting for our day, I hope that you will keep that in mind. God seems to work in a special way when His people take the trouble to fast and pray. We tend to relegate fasting to those various fastings of Israel in the Old Testament, but there are also many examples of the fasting of individuals scattered throughout the Scripture. These show us something about the various kinds of fasting and the reasons people fast.

Jesus' Example of Fasting

In Matthew, chapter 4, we read about Jesus' fasting and praying. Let's begin reading in verse 1, to keep the verse in its context. This is before Jesus' temptation:

Matthew 4

1Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
2And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
3And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

We will stop our reading there. There are a number of things that we can learn from this passage. It is a very important part of the life of Christ, but we want to think particularly about the fasting aspect of it. I want us to see that probably in this fast, He was abstaining only from food and not water. Apparently, during his forty days and forty nights, He drank water. He was the Son of God. He was God and man, so He, unlike other human beings, could have survived without water for forty days, but I believe He only abstained from food during those forty days.

I believe this for a couple of reasons. First, we see in verse 3, when the tempter came to Him, the temptation only involved food. I think the last line in verse 2 is an understatement in the Bible. It says, “Afterward He was hungry.” I suppose He was. He hadn't eaten in forty days and forty nights.

The tempter came to Him in that area of weakness. Incidentally, let me point out to you that is always one of Satan's tactics. Satan always approaches us in those areas where we are needy. With Jesus, it was physical hunger. Maybe with you it might be physical hunger at some point, but Satan goes about, as the Scripture tells us, as “a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour,” and he knows when you are hungry, or he knows whatever other areas of weakness you have at that particular time.

When you are in a time of need, whether it is physical hunger or whatever else it might be, when you are in a time of need, you need to be particularly on the alert for Satan's temptations in that area of your need. Be praying that God will strengthen you, even in that time of need, against the attack of Satan.

I believe that this was a matter of abstaining from food only, because it doesn't say anything about water, and because the temptation involved food and did not involve water. The primary purpose for turning to this passage is to show that a fast can be a fast that abstains from food, but allows you to drink water or other liquids. When we are talking about fasting, it is not necessarily a matter of giving up food and water. It can be a specific area of abstinence.

Paul's Example of Fasting

In Acts, chapter 9, when we have the record of Paul's conversion—Paul got saved on the road to Damascus—it tells us just in passing that He did not eat or drink for three days. He fasted at the time of his conversion, and that fast involved in doing away with food and water. We are not told why he fasted; we are just told that he did. The purpose of mentioning that is that it came at a significant time in his life. Sometimes fasting is a part of some significant experience in our lives, or it should be, but also notice that in this case he did without food and water. There are times it is appropriate to do both.

In the Old Testament in Daniel, chapter 1, verse 8, it describes Daniel's abstaining from certain foods. He did not do away with food and drink completely, but he said he would not eat the rich food that the king prescribed for him and the other captives.

A fast can even involve limiting ourselves only to certain kinds of food and giving up some other kinds of foods or limiting ourselves to certain kinds of drink and giving up other drinks for spiritual purposes. We will talk more about those spiritual purposes in a few minutes. These verses show us that fasting is a very real thing and a very practical thing. It is not some mumbo-jumbo; it is simply a matter of doing without food or water or some kinds of food and some kinds of liquid. It is a matter of deciding to do without something for a spiritual purpose. That is the reality of fasting.

Reasons for Fasting

The question might arise, “Why would we do that anyway? What are the reasons for fasting?” These questions are what we want to look at next. One aspect of the answer is that fasting does no good at all for many people, because they do it for the wrong reason. Let's go back to Matthew, chapter 6, and notice down in verse 16, where Jesus is talking about the way that we live as Christians, and it is very different from the way many people live. He says:

Matthew 6

16Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
17But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;
18That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.

The point is, fasting is something that is between you and the Lord. Many times fasting does not accomplish anything for people who fast, because, either consciously or subconsciously, they are doing it just for show. They are doing it just so that they can say they did it, or they are doing it so someone will notice how spiritual they are. Sometimes they are doing it so people will notice how important the thing is that they are praying about. Those are, from a negative standpoint, the reasons that we should not have for fasting.

If you decide to fast, you should not ever be doing it so that other people will notice that you are doing it. In fact, Jesus explains that we should even be careful that people won't notice we are fasting. Don't go around talking about it, and if you fast for a length of time, and it begins to affect the way that you look, He says to wash your face and comb your hair, because this is not something that is done to impress people. It is something that is done to impress God, if we can put it that way.

A Demonstration of Sincerity

There are some other purposes that are demonstrated in other places in the Scripture. Turn back to the book of Jonah, chapter 3. You know the story of the book of Jonah. That was the situation where God told the prophet Jonah to go and warn the wicked citizens of Nineveh that He was going to destroy their civilization. Jonah hated the Ninevites so much that he didn't even want to go and tell them of the possibility of being rescued. He wanted God to wipe them out. It was good news to hear that God was going to wipe them out, but it was bad news to Jonah to hear that God might think about not wiping them out. You know the story of how he got on a boat and went the other way, and wound up in the belly of a great fish.

That is a great story, but a lot of times we overlook the fact, and we focus on that which is really kind of a sideline of the purpose of the book of Jonah. The fact is that Jonah's purpose was to go to Nineveh and warn those people that God was about to bring judgment. In chapter 3, Jonah came in and preached his message. Of course, by the time that Jonah came to Nineveh, after all that circuitous route that he took, his skin was probably green from being in the belly of a whale, and he was bedraggled and waterlogged. Who wouldn't listen to a guy like that? They probably heard him preaching, “Repent, because the wrath of God is about to come,” and they looked at him and said, “Man, that guy knows what the wrath of God is all about.” At any rate, beginning in verse 5 of Jonah, chapter 3, it says:

Jonah 3

5So the people of Nineveh believed God, [notice] and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.
6For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.
7And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:
8But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.
9Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?

Here, among other things was a fast that demonstrated to God the sincerity of these people. It was not done for show. It was done out of a great desire that God would turn from His anger. In fact, if you look on in verse 10:

Jonah 3

10And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

A couple of things to notice about verse 10. First, why did God withhold His judgment? Not primarily because they fasted. Notice what it says in verse 10:

Jonah 3

10And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way…

The reason that God relented and did not bring judgment upon them was that they repented; they confessed their sin. That is the only thing that brings restoration to fellowship with God, but fasting is a way of demonstrating the sincerity of our hearts about whatever spiritual activity it is that we are undertaking. God did withhold judgment from them because of that. Jonah, chapter 3, verses 5-9, demonstrates that fasting can cause God to withold judgment from a nation that is truly repentant. Again, the withholding of judgment is not because of the fast; it is because of the repentance that the fast signifies.

David's Fasting and Prayer

There is another passage similar to this in II Samuel, chapter 12. This is the story of the baby who was born to David and Bathsheba. You remember that Bathsheba was the woman who David committed adultery with. He saw to it that her husband got killed in battle. This is one of the places in Scripture that demonstrates that even the people who God uses most significantly in His work sometimes are great sinners and that God can even use a sinner who is repentant.

In II Samuel, chapter 12, we also learn that God disciplines His children when they do live in sin and don't repent. It also demonstrates that when we as believers get into sin, and we live in opposition to the Word of God, God does not prevent the consequences of our sin from taking place. David committed the sin of adultery, and he confessed that sin and got right with God, but he still had the human results of that adultery to go through. That is what we find in chapter 12. A baby was born and was very sick. In verse 15, we read:

II Samuel 12

15…And the LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife bare unto David, and it was very sick.

Notice the wording of verse 15: “the child that Uriah's wife bore to David.” David married her. She became David's wife, but in God's sight she was Uriah's wife. God struck the child, and it became ill. Look now at verse 16:

II Samuel 12

16David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth.
17And the elders of his house arose, and went to him, to raise him up from the earth: but he would not, neither did he eat bread with them.
18And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead: for they said, Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice: how will he then vex himself, if we tell him that the child is dead?
19But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead.
20Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat.
21Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread.
22And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?
23But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.

David fasted and prayed in verse 16, but in this case, unlike the fasting and the praying of the Ninevites, God did not change His mind. In this case, God went ahead and took that child. When He did, David stopped fasting. In explaining that, he established one of the Old Testament's statements about the Resurrection. David understood the Resurrection. We know that because he said, “I shall go to Him, but he cannot come to me.” He knew that the child was in Heaven with the Father. Incidentally, this is another of the reasons we know that when little babies and little children die too young to understand the Gospel, they go to Heaven. David knew from many promises from God that he was going to Heaven. David knew that he (David) was going to Heaven. He said, “I will go to that baby.” The baby was too young to understand his need of salvation. God took the baby to Heaven, and David said, “I know that I will be going to Heaven, and I will see him there.” It is a sideline from what we are actually talking about, but this is one of the places that the Bible assures us that babies and young children who die do go to Heaven.

God's Reaction to Proper Response

Maybe you are thinking at this point, “Wait a minute. You say that fasting caused God to change His mind about the Ninevites, and fasting might have caused God to change His mind about David's baby, but what about those passages like Romans, chapter 9, or James, chapter 1, that say, ‘God never changes; there is no shadow caused by turning with God.'?”

The Scripture says that God never changes as to His holiness, His purity, and His power. Those attributes of God never change, but God has reserved the right, we might say, to change His mind about particular actions that He may take. Even when He changes His mind about the action that He is going to take, He still never changes His nature; but at the same time, the Scripture clearly says that sometimes as God's people respond properly, He will change what He was planning to do. For example, in Jeremiah, chapter 18, verses 7-8, God said through the prophet Jeremiah:

Jeremiah 18

7At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it;
8[Notice this] If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.

This is a very clear statement of the fact that God changes what He plans to do. He doesn't change His nature. He is no less holy. He is no less powerful. He is no less merciful. He is no less righteous. However, there are those instances in which if human beings respond properly to what God reveals to them, He will change what He plans to do.

Again, I want to emphasize to you that this is very important for us as a nation to understand and for us as Christians who live in a nation that surely we must be close to the judgment of God. If God judged the nation of Germany, which I fully believe He did, though it was beyond the time that the Bible was being recorded, for killing six million of the chosen people, how can we as a nation escape when we have killed more innocent babies than that and keep killing that many more year after year? We are in a time that is very close to the judgment of God, so we as Christians ought to be very familiar with Jeremiah, chapter 18, verses 7-8. If a nation will repent, if a nation will come to their knees and change their minds, God will change the judgment that He intends to bring. That is one of the ways that God operates. The Ninevites are an example of that, even though it was so many years ago.

The next verses in Jeremiah, chapter 18, go on to say that God also changes His mind about the blessings that He has promised to give a nation. Even though God has given blessings to a nation and has been very good to a nation, if that nation goes on in sin and refuses to repent, God changes His mind about the blessings that He had planned to give to a nation.

I believe that God has been extremely good to this nation and has brought unequaled prosperity in the history of the world, unequaled accomplishments in the history of the world, because it is a nation that was built on the principles of His Word. However, if this nation continues to ignore the principles on which it was founded, God can very easily change His mind. We have historical proof of the fact that He can withhold and withdraw that blessing that He has given in the past. Just because He has given blessings in the past is no indication that He has obligated Himself to continue to bless forever. These are very significant points to keep in mind.

What we are saying here is that the first reason for fasting is that it demonstrates the attitude of heart which may cause God to change His mind about something that He has planned to do. It is not the fasting that changes God mind, but it is what that fasting demonstrates. If you and I, or we as a nation, or if we as God's people within a nation, are brokenhearted enough and sincere enough to actually do without food, do without water or abstain from something as a demonstration to God of our sincerity, God has been known to respond to that, and God has promised to respond to that.

Combining Prayer With Fasting

There is a second reason for fasting, and it is described for us in Daniel, chapter 9. In this chapter, Daniel had received a revelation from God. He had had a dream, and he couldn't understand the dream. He began to study the Word of God, and he read in the book of Jeremiah and still did not understand. In Daniel, chapter 9, verses 1-3, we read that he prayed about that dream and about that which he did not understand. It tells us that he did without food and he prayed. Down in verses 20-27, God gave the answer to that prayer. God responded and gave him understanding of that prophecy about the seventy years of captivity. He told him it would be 70 weeks of years—groups of sevens of years.

The point of this is that fasting sometimes brings understanding of God's Word. As you study the Word of God, or particularly if you are in a situation where perhaps you are going to teach the Word of God to other people, or whatever reason, when you come to a portion that you do not understand, one of the things that is open to you is to actually fast and pray and ask God to unlock that portion of Scripture for you. There are many well known Bible teachers who have done that, and who have come to a deeper understanding of the Word of God by fasting and praying and asking for God's understanding.

Other Practical Reasons for Fasting

The book of Ezra contains two more reasons we can fast. The book of Ezra tells about how after their captivity, the Israelites went back to Israel. The Israelites had not repented and turned back to God like the Ninevites did. The prophets had warned them that if they didn't repent of their sin, God would have to judge them and even let them lose their nation. They didn't repent, and God did judge their nation, but after seventy years, He let a few of them go back. Nehemiah led an expedition of people back to Israel, and a few years later, Ezra came back.

In Ezra, chapter 10, we read of how when Ezra came back to Israel, he found the people of Israel living in sin. Verses 1-5 tells us that they had intermarried with the nations around them. He knew that he had to confront these people, and he knew that it was going to be very difficult for them to understand what they had done wrong. Look at verse 6, of Ezra, chapter 10:

Ezra 10

6Then Ezra rose up from before the house of God, and went into the chamber of Johanan the son of Eliashib: and when he came thither, he did eat no bread, nor drink water: for he mourned because of the transgression of them that had been carried away.

He wanted the people that he was about to confront to understand their need, so he fasted and prayed about that. The next verses tell that they did understand. After he had fasted and prayed about it, it came to them; they understood what their need was, and they repented of that. Fasting can be done to bring recognition of the need that other people may have. It may be a need that we see, but they don't. Fasting was effective in that particular situation.

Then move over to Ezra, chapter 8. This is backing up a little bit from the time that Ezra got there, but it is telling how that when he was planning the trip to Jerusalem, he needed protection, and they needed protection as they traveled to Jerusalem. They didn't want to depend on the pagan king that had captured them to provide protection for them, so they fasted and prayed about that. Look at Ezra, chapter 8, verse 21. As they were moving out on this expedition, Ezra said:

Ezra 8

21Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance.

Here is a situation where they needed protection and guidance, so they fasted. I hope you are thinking with me, even though we are moving around to a lot of different passages of Scripture. What we are seeing here is that there are practical, everyday situations in which fasting is effective. It is important to understand this matter of God's changing His mind about judgment, not just in lofty matters like the judgment of a nation, but even a matter of helping somebody else understand where they are wrong, or even a matter of asking for God's protection. Fasting can be done even in those kinds of situations that we think are everyday situations, not nearly as important as the judgment of God on a nation. Fasting is a practical thing. It is important and usable in those important national kinds of issues, but it is not limited to that. It can be used in these everyday kinds of things such as wanting to understand the Word of God, wanting someone else to understand the Word of God evand how they are violating it, or wanting God's protection and provision in a situation that we face. It is a very practical thing.

Risks Involved In Fasting

We have talked about the reality of fasting. We have talked about some of the reasons for fasting, but we also need to recognize that there are some risks involved in fasting. I want us to look at a couple of Scriptures that talk about that. One of the risks of fasting is legalism . We have already talked about it in passing, but the idea that fasting will kind of put the screws on God by doing something unusual, that we can somehow force God to do something that He would not otherwise do. Don't go into fasting with the idea that because I am fasting, God is going to be obligated to do something for me. As I have said several times, fasting is simply a demonstration of our heart attitude. Fasting is something that we do because of our brokeness of heart, because of our repentance, because of our sincerity in what we are asking God to do, so be careful that you don't fast as a means of legalism, as a means of trying to force God to do something that He would not otherwise do. It doesn't work that way.

Fasting In Secret

Another risk of fasting is back in chapter 6. It is exactly what Jesus is referring to in that chapter. It is called advertising . It is easy, if we are going to fast, to advertise the fact. We may have several motives for advertising it. We may just want people to know how important it is, but we may also just want people to know how spiritual we are. If you are going to fast, Jesus says to basically keep it a secret. There may be some reasons to tell somebody that you are going to fast. It may be that you are going to ask someone to fast with you. There may be some situation where it would be legitimate to mention it, but basically, God says to keep it a secret. There is not much reason at all to mention that you are fasting. It is a real risk that we run of being anxious that other people know how spiritual we are. Jesus said to be very careful that you don't fall into that trap.

There is one last thing that we want to talk about, and that is what I am calling the rightness of fasting. I want to emphasize again to you the rightness of fasting. As I have mentioned before, most Christians tend to relegate fasting to the Old Testament, but from a dispensational standpoint, we need to recognize that it is something that is done all through the New Testament.

In the book of Acts, the early church, who are our direct forefathers after the Cross of Christ, from the Old Testament into the New Testament, they fasted again and again. All through the book of Acts, we read about people fasting and praying. The Christian history after the completion of the Scripture records the early Christians fasting often, just as the book of Acts does.

Fasting for the Church Age

Matthew, chapter 9, specifically tells us that fasting is for the Church Age. In this chapter, we see that the disciples of John had a question for Jesus. Look at verse 14:

Matthew 9

14Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?

Notice in verse 15 how Jesus answered them.

Matthew 9

15And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.

In order to understand Jesus' answer, we have to understand the illustration that He used in the answer. The illustration is one that doesn't fit our way of doing things in our Western civilization. They lived in the Eastern culture, and in weddings in those days, the focus was on the groom. Girls, aren't you glad you live now? The focus in the Jewish culture was that the groom was the central figure of the wedding. I think that is sad, because in most cases the husband is already the focus of the marriage, so why should he get to be the focus of the wedding, too? However, that is the way that it was. When they were having the marriage ceremony—it lasted for days—there was a lot of rejoicing and partying, and it was focused around the bridegroom.

Jesus had said that He was the groom who was going to marry the Church, so what He is saying is, “Look, My disciples are spending their time in My presence. I am the One who all of this focuses on. I am the groom, if you want to use that illustration, so there is no reason to fast. They are in the very presence of God, but when the Bridegroom is gone, then they fast.”

When did our Bridegroom leave? He left at the Ascension, after the Resurrection, didn't He, when He returned to Heaven? What Jesus is saying here in Matthew, chapter 9, is that the very time to fast is the day in which we live. We live in that day in which the Bridegroom has left, and He has gone to Heaven, and He is waiting for the wedding to take place, for we who are the Bride of Christ to join Him and be married to Him in Heaven, so this is the very time to fast.

It is more legitimate to fast in the New Testament day than it was in the Old Testament. It was legitimate in the Old Testament, but it is just as legitimate in this day. In fact, it is specified, in this obscure verse that is often overlooked, as a thing that ought to be practiced by Christians who live in this time when Jesus is back in Heaven, when the Bridegroom has gone and is waiting for the Bride to join Him.

Focus On the Lord

The common denominator in all the recorded instances of fasting is people who were simply willing to put aside the routine affairs of life to wholly focus on God. That is what fasting is. It is to decide that you are going to give up something for a specified period of time. Apparently, God allows us to choose the time. There is no instruction about how long a fast should be. Apparently, we are allowed to decide what we are going to give up and how long we are going to give it up. It is a very simple matter of deciding to give up food or to give up drink, or both, for x number of hours or x number of days, and focus my attention directly on the Lord.

People who have fasted and who have written about it—there are several Bible teachers who have done that—say that a sideline benefit of that is that as we fast, and particularly when we fast for more than 24 hours, there is that initial hunger, and that initial wondering what is going to happen, but once you get past all of that, there is an intense clarity of thought. There is an intense sense of relationship with God, and it is something that does bring a clear understanding of Scripture or does bring power in prayer. It may be even a physical result of doing without food or doing without that drink, but the main focus is not what it does to us physically, but what it does to us spiritually.

Conclusion

Coming back to our original point, one of our ways of responding to God is in fasting and prayer. Yes, even in this day in which we live. I want to challenge you to think about the possiblity of spending some time before the Lord in fasting and prayer about whatever that thing is that you are concerned about. It is between you and the Lord. We are not going to set up a church-wide fast or anything like that, but I want to challenge you to think about the importance of making this a part of your walk with the Lord. Make this a part of your response to God. I know that many of you are burdened about particular things. Why not include in your relationship with God about that burden, a time of fasting and prayer. It is something that pleases God. In fact, II Chronicles, chapter 16, verse 9, says that about not only fasting, but any kind of effort we make to know the Lord:

II Chronicles 16

9For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him…

God is looking for people who want His blessing. God is on the search for those who want to turn their hearts completely toward Him, and certainly, fasting is one of those things that would help in that process.


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