Kneeling With the Savior, 21 days of prayer and fasting, began Sunday, May 27. Prayer, talking with God, is a familiar concept for most. Not only can we pour out our hearts fully to Him, but He also uses our prayer time to speak with us. There are many types of prayer and various formats in which we can pray. Prayer is not so we can receive answers to a grandiose wish list of personal wants. Prayer is how we connect with our Heavenly Father as we strengthen our relationship, and learn about His will for us.
What may be unfamiliar or uncommon for us is the concept of fasting. This is one of the elements we’re encouraged to engage in during the 21 days. Fasting is rapidly gaining popularity in the health and fitness world. Intermittent fasting and other variations is a method people use to control their weight and their digestive processes. Fasting, from a spiritual perspective, serves a different purpose.
The Bible highly recommends that we fast. Matthew 6:16 begins with these words: “And when you fast…” It’s not if you fast, but when. This implies that at some point in our prayer lives, we will attempt fasting. There are a number of experiences in the Bible when people fasted in addition to their prayers. God answered prayer. But when fasting was added to the equation, God moved in a jaw-dropping and undeniable way in response to those prayers.
Fasting is a private and personal decision. Even though we’re choosing to sacrifice a pleasure for a specific period of time, the Bible is clear that we’re not to draw any attention to ourselves. We’re not fasting to impress anyone or for personal admiration from our peers. Fasting puts us in a more vulnerable position where we can be more receptive to what God has to say. To go without something essential means that we’re trusting God to be our strength and hold us up.
Food is the most common pleasure that people choose to fast from. Some use the guidelines of Daniel for their fast and consume natural foods that are unprocessed and unsweetened. Others choose to fast from their guilty pleasures for a period of time. Fasting can also include abstaining from our favorite entertainment sources, pass times and more.
What happens when you get an urge to eat or to do what you might usually do? Pray. This is a great time to seek God and remember that He will sustain us. Don’t focus on how we’re struggling or suffering by going without. Instead, ask God to speak through our struggle. Ask Him to reveal things in our character that need to be changed. The biggest change in fasting is the transformation that will happen in our hearts as a result of trusting God more.
For more on fasting, here are some practical pointers for prayer and fasting.
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Written by Sabrina Jacques-Rowe
Henderson Highway Church