Monday, January 11, 2010
Fasting & Prayer
"Howbeit, this kind, goeth not out but by prayer and fasting." Matthew 17:21
As we continue to progress together toward January 31st and our time of refreshing, let us try and clear up a few things on the subject of fasting. Fasting, simply put, is doing without something necessary for physical sustenance in order to focus on what is even more necessary which is spiritual sustenance.
FASTING IS NOT A HUNGER STRIKE AGAINST GOD TO TRY AND GET WHAT WE WANT! Instead, fasting is saying visually, "I cannot live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. I need spiritual food more than physical food.
Fasting is often coupled with mourning. Oftentimes, in the Old Testament they would fast, while sitting in ashes and wearing sackcloth. Oftentimes, this would be in conjunction with a time of grief and/or mourning over sin, such as the people of Ninevah in Jonah's day. Jesus said, "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted." We must mourn over our sinfulness, our apathy, our sleepiness, our ease, and our complacency, while the world and country around us have died and gone to Hell.
Fasting is a great way to cleanse the body and mind. It helps to clean out the cobwebs in our mind, hearts and lives, where we can be more focused mentally and spiritually on the things of God. It will help to reduce some of the ground noise so we can hear the words that are coming down from above.
Fasting, finally, is a way to add urgency to our petition. It gives the sense that I desperately need God to move on my behalf. It is a way to see God breakthrough in our own lives and the lives of those we are praying for. If ever there was a need for fasting it is now, because we have "THIS KIND" all around us. People are being wrecked and ruined by alcohol, divorce, unbelief, deception, and false teachers. We must fast and pray and seek God, trusting that He will send revival! As Manley Beasley once said, "It is always God's sovereign will to send revival, but we must lay the tracks in prayer." Between now and January 31st, let us lay the tracks in prayer!
Be watching for the next post in a couple of days, which will get more into the nuts and bolts of how to fast and how long to fast. God bless!