“And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting” Matthew 17: 20-21.
Here in Mathew 17, we find Christ’s simple keys to unlock mountain-moving faith. The first, we are pretty familiar with: prayer. But it’s the second key that stops us in our tracks and and feels like taboo to our ears; Fasting. The literal definition of fasting is “the voluntarily going without food to focus on prayer and fellowship with God.” Fasting is a time to remember how helpless we are and how amazing our God is, and to show God how serious we are about finding His will for our lives. It is not a time of manipulating God to bring to pass our desires; it is simply to change our desires to His.
There is a lot in the Bible about praying and fasting. The real question is:
Does it apply to Christianity today?
There is only one time in Scripture that prayer and fasting were required, and that was on the Day of Atonement (Jeremiah 36:3). But in Scripture you will see a pattern of when prayer and fasting were practiced: immediately after a crisis or trying time. For instance:
David fasted when he learned that Saul and Jonathan had been killed (2 Samuel 1:12).
Nehemiah fasted upon learning that Jerusalem was still in ruins (Nehemiah 1:4).
Darius, the king of Persia, fasted all night after he was forced to put Daniel in the den of lions (Daniel 6:18).
Crisis often illuminates a great need of the soul.
When some of the greatest Christians in history found themselves at their lowest states, they turned to the only One that could give them hope: the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
But that was for Old Testemant saints. What about Christians today?
Let me ask you a question. Do we as Believers still suffer through trying times? Do we still face trials and temptation?Of course we do! Well, then there is still reason to pray and fast.
Here is a few things prayer and fasting does for you:
It Prepares and Equips
We are going to face spiritual giants and we need to be well equipped to fight against the “fiery darts of the wicked.” Even Christ Himself fasted and prayed 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness before being tempted of Satan (Matthew 4:2). Christ could obviously have ended Satan once and for all that day, but He was teaching His children a valuable lesson: prepare. The stormy winds of trial and temptation will come and nothing will be a better help then to be prayerfully ready!
It is Self-Denial Training
Now the question also arises, can we fast from things other than food?
Take something that is precious to you, whatever it may be, and substitute that time with prayer for God’s will in your life. You can fast from things such as:
The key is to not let your motive be selfish gain, but to have a willingness towards whatever God may want for your life. When you fast from something that fulfills a fleshly need, you are denying yourself and the desires of your flesh. It is a special time of solitude and sobriety to God That transforms your will to the will of the Father.
Have you ever fasted and prayed for God to work in your life? Comment below of a time in your life where you sought the Lord through a season of prayer and self-denial.