When we are in trouble, we seek the help of God through prayers. But there are times when, in spite of our prayers, the Lord just do not grant our petitions. Well, this should not be surprising. Even the disciples wondered why they were unable to cast out a demon that had possessed a boy. In the past, they were casting out demons and were very successful but not this time, they were not. When they asked the Lord Jesus why, he replied, “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting” (Mark 9:29 KJV). Indeed, fasting brings breakthrough. If prayer is not enough, fast.
Fasting is one way of the Lord testing the sincerity of our prayers. It is easy to pray when it cost us nothing. But when we fast and it hits us to the core of our being, as when we deny ourselves of food and drinks, the Lord will see that we are dead serious about our prayers. This was how Queen Esther showed her sincerity in seeking the deliverance of the Jews from annihilation. She sought the same commitment from her fellow Jews and said, “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” (Esther 4:16) They fasted as were instructed and they were delivered. But what must be done to make fasting effective?
Feast in the Lord. One who is fasting should actually be feasting in the Lord. He is not sitting idly in a corner. Rather, he is actively communing with the Lord, delighting in him and feasting through song, music and the reading of the Scriptures (Psalm 37:4). When we feast in the Lord, miracle happens. This exactly what happened to the apostle Paul and Silas when they were locked up in imprison. “When they were praying and singing hymns to God and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose” (Acts 16:25-26). Fasting is not for show, Jesus warned: “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full” (Matt 6:16)
Abstain from worldly pleasure. Fasting is not just denying yourself of food and drink. It also includes denying yourself of the entertainment of the world, or the things that you love to do that can be a distraction to your prayers. This was the case of King Darius when he was trusting that Daniel be saved from the lions when he was thrown into the lion’s den. Though not a godly man, the king knew that God would intervene in Daniel’s case if he will do his part. After Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den, “Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep” (Daniel 6:18). Undoubtedly, the king was fasting in his own way and praying to God because he was hoping that Daniel will survive the lions. Indeed, God spared the life of Daniel. If we do not submit to the world’s pleasure but spend time in prayer, we will surely be favoured by God. The apostle John said, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).
Saturate your mind with the Word. There is no better place for the devil to play and wreak havoc in the life of believers but in their idle mind. If the mind is devoid of the word of God, then doubt and unbelief come. It is through the Word that we overcome all the lies and works of the devil. Using the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, Paul said, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). Therefore, Paul again reiterated, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Col. 3:2)
Turn to God. When we fast by denying ourselves of food and drink, we come to the realization that we are weak. We could no longer stand on our own strength but be dependent on God. Even the Lord Jesus had to emphasize this when he said, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” (Matt 26:41). When we cannot handle our situation in life because of our physical weakness, it is then that the Lord will work to help us. This truth he said to the apostle Paul when he was sick, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9) Our fasting help us refocus our attention to God who is able to help us in our times of weakness. Hallelujah!!!