40 Days of Prayer: Day 21

Fasting and prayer


Have you ever fasted and if so, how was it connected to prayer? 

The definition of “Fast”; to abstain from all or some kinds of food or drink, especially as a religious observance. 

We already know the the definition of prayer, simply stated, talking to and with God. Prayer and fasting being connected is not explained in scripture, but we see them intertwined through out the Bible. In the Old Testament, we see prayer and fasting when there is a need, or when the situation seems hopeless. We see prayer and fasting at times of mourning, repentance or deep, deep spiritual need. 

When you look at the book of Nehemiah, you see him fasting and praying because he is broken in hearing the news of Jerusalem being destroyed. He spent days, tearfully fasting and confessing the sins of his people. Pleading for mercy. Daniel had a similar response. 

Daniel 9:3 

So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes.

Daniel, fasted and prayed that God would have mercy on them. 

There are several places in the Old Testament that fasting is linked with intercessory prayer. Even King David prayed and fasted over a sick child in 2 Samuel 12:16, weeping before the Lord in deep heart felt intercession. Even Esther encouraged her uncle Mordecai and the Jews to fast as she planned on appearing before the King, that act could have cost her, her life. 

In the New Testament, prayer and fasting is evident, but not in regards to repentance and confession. The prophetess Anna fasted and prayed.  

Luke 2:37

and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers.

84 years old, and determined to press in at the temple with anticipation of the coming of the savior! The church at Antioch was fasting as they worshipped, when the Holy Spirit spoke to them about commissioning Saul and Barnabas into ministry. They fasted, prayed, laid their hands on them and sent them off! So in these few examples we see, worshiping the Lord and seeking favor. Fasting and prayer shows how sincere the people are as they pray, it shows that they we can go in times of crisis to the Lord, fasting and praying. 

The more intense and critical the situation, the more fasting and prayer seems necessary. Jesus casts out a demon from a boy whom the disciples could not, even though Jesus gave them the authority to do so (Mark 6:7 and 6:9). The disciples asked why they couldn’t do it. Jesus told them, this type comes out only by prayer (Mark 9:29) and Matthew adds in his account prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:21). Jesus’ point? If there is a determined foe, you MUST meet them with an equally determined faith. Remember that prayer is a weapon that is at our disposal and when we fast it helps us focus on what the target of prayer is. 

Ephesians 6:18  

With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,

So fasting helps us prioritize and give intense devotion to the Lord and the spiritual concerns we have. So what to fast? Food, maybe a meal a day? How about technology? Maybe shut off the TV or stop surfing the web. Fasting is not a diet or fad. Its taking the time you would have spent repairing and eating a meal and devoting it to prayer. Or shutting off the tv, internet or social media and focusing on prayer. Spend uninterrupted time with the Lord. 

Hebrews 10:19 

... we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,

Prayer and fasting is not a burden, its an opportunity to draw closer to the Lord and watch with anticipation on how He will respond to you and how you will change as well.  

Prayed for you all today! 

Much Love and Blessings, 

Pastor Scott 

Calvary Belmar