Theme: The Grace To Pray And Fast, Matt. 6:7, 16-17
is favour, the favour of God to man. It is totally undeserved as exemplified by
Christ’s sacrifice for sinful humanity in order that man might be reconciled to
God, Rom. 3:23-25.
does not have the capacity to pray, consistently or effectively, I Tess 5:17.
You need divine grace not just to pray but to fast too, in view of the discipline
and personal sacrifice required.
as your mind may be assailed by fear and doubt, even in the place of prayer,
your senses of sight and smell may very well undermine your focus during the
period of fasting unless, by Grace, you are able to resist satanic enticements
as Jesus did, forcing the devil to flee, at least for a while, Matt. 4:13.
should the believer pray? Because prayer works wonders and those who pray
earnestly are aware of its power. God is a listening and merciful Father. Our
prayers tap into the compassion in His heart, especially when we are confronted
by challenges well beyond our control. The children of Israel prayed at the
peak of their anguish in Egypt and God responded positively and decisively, Ex.
you call on Him He answers, Job 14:15, Ps. 50:15. He even encourages you to
pray rather than wallow in your problems, sitting back, mourning, when you can
seek His face, Luke 11:9-10. He wants you to call on Him believing that He will
if you live in disobedience He will not respond to your prayer, I Sam. 28: 5-6.
makes it easier for the believers to have access to divine mercy. It also
empowers those who may embark on special assignments to prepare themselves for the
tasks ahead. When Jesus was to begin His
Ministry it was the Holy Spirit, His earthly companion, that led Him to the
wilderness to be tested by satan, Matt. 4:1. He fasted for 40 days and 40nights
during which He was, as might be expected, very hungry. The three issues raised
by the evil one were designed to destroy the very foundation of His Ministry
even before implementing His missionary plan, Lk. 4:18. But the fast had
prepared Him for any such encounter, at the human or spiritual level. He was
focused. He was determined. He was not going to surrender His crown to a crafty
impostor even before the fight that satan was bound to lose, I John 3:8. That
is what you achieve when you fast in accordance with divine will.
Moses went to Mount Sinai to collect the Ten Commandments he fasted for 40 days
and forty nights, Ex. 34:27&28. You don’t work with God, as Moses the “Law
Giver” did, without seeking to be in top shape spiritually, for which fasting prepares
the reign of King Darius in Babylon Daniel prayed earnestly and fasted for 3
weeks, Daniel 6:10-11 and Daniel 10:2-3 and the heavens opened unto him. In the
New Testament Era the Apostles regularly fasted even as they prayed for divine
guidance and protection against satanic roadblocks as they served the Lord,
Acts 13:1-2, 2 Cor.11:27.
The Purpose of Fasting
1. When you have a problem that will not go
away, even when you have prayed your heart out you add fasting. For women, in
particular, who have delay in child bearing, fasting may be a way out, to
persuade God to open their womb as He had promised those who steadfastly obey
and serve Him, Isaiah 54:1; Ex. 23:25&26.
2. Fasting enables children of God to
discipline the flesh, to ensure that the believer is not dominated by a life of
lust and luxury as these provide the entry points to satan, Gal. 5:16-17.
3. It enables you to hear regularly from God.
When you fast you seek the face of God, in the knowledge that He is never
really far away from you, Isaiah 55:6.
4. Moreover God would empower you afresh as He
knows that you can confront the devil and he will flee from you, James 4:7; I
5. Yet there are christians who fast and do not
achieve results most likely because they play the Pharisee, seeking to impress
man rather than God, Matt. 6:16; Isaiah 58:3-5.
What then is required of you when you
fast? Sacrifice, humility and compassion. Then you can expect answer to your