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The Power of Praying and Fasting

Many Christians (including myself previously) do not understand the importance of prayer accompanied with fasting. In this series, we will be looking at different reasons to both pray and fast.
 
1. Fasting and Praying is Scriptural
 
 a.“Moreover 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. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That 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.” We can see that our motives in fasting must be pure. We are not to do it in order to broadcast it, but we are to do it as quietly and simply as possible so as not to attract attention to ourselves. We are to appear to others as though we are not fasting. There are exceptions, such as when we are fasting as a group for a specific thing. Then it must be announced so that others can take part. We find this in Joel1:14, “Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the Lord your God, and cry unto the Lord.” Matthew 6:16-18
 
We can see from the above scripture that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is teaching us how to fast and there are two main things that can be taken from this passage a. He says whenwe fast not if we fast and b. results of the fast will be linked to our motives. It is not specified in Scripture how long one should fast or even how often but our personal relationship with the Lord will help prompt us when we are setting the parameters for our fast.
 
b.“As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.” Acts13:2
 
The above passage is just one example of several in Scripture where important instructions came from the Lord after a period of fasting and praying by His servants. This shows that a period of separation from something such as food that normally plays such a large role in our lives (especially in well-developed countries) can make us more sensitive to the Lord’s voice and to the leading of the Holy Spirit. May the Lord give us more understanding and grace in this area in Jesus name, amen.
 
Part II to follow.