“So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer” (Ezra 8:23).
Christian author, Steve Hawthorne, recently described a seven day fast he experienced as he was seeking direction for ministry. At the end of the fast, a friend asked him if he received the guidance he was seeking. Steve replied, “Probably not… but I do know the Guide better now.” This should be our focus – to know the God of intimacy who desires relationship with us!
Fasting is a way for us to be empowered by God for service. There seems to be a release of spiritual power when fasting and prayer are combined. The great men and women of God down through the ages have come to God in prayer and fasting to receive power for greater ministry. Jesus Himself launched His ministry after a forty day fast. Esther went to the king for mercy and salvation for Israel. It was her day of greatness and ministry to God’s people, but it happened after a three day fast undertaken by herself and many others.
Our ability to be empowered by God for service, relates back to humility and drawing near to Him. When we humble ourselves and draw near to the Lord through fasting and prayer, then we are ready to receive power to be used in God’s service in an even greater way than ever before. Having learned humility and intimacy, we are able to be entrusted with greater power because we realize that it is not our doing, but God working in and through us.
God desires to raise up a people who will surrender their lives to be used by Him in these critical days. Without God’s people being set ablaze in prayer and fasting, the revival He longs to send cannot happen. Evil will continue to pervade the earth, and Christians will continue to watch weakly – wishing there was something they could do.
We believe that fasting is part of God’s plan for His children. Ronnie Floyd says, “Unless we surrender completely to God’s plan, we are destined to drift in a sea of disappointment, disillusionment, and depression. We are in constant need of supernatural power.”
Elmer Towns has said, “If every Christian fasted, the results could shake our society like a windstorm bending a sapling. Christians would demonstrate that they live differently, that their faith is imperative, that the Almighty works in their daily lives.”
Lord, how thankful I am that You hear and answer my prayers when I am aligned with Your will. Show me how to tap into Your power source by developing the discipline of fasting. Help me to live differently than the world so that the life of Jesus can more effectively be seen in mine!
–Adapted from the article Why Fasting is Relevant for Today by Dave and Kim Butts, authors of Pray Like the King: Lessons from the Prayers of Israel’s Kings. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise “God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.” Thank him for being your Father through Christ Jesus. Confess tendencies to act like a spiritual orphan. Commit yourself to more consistently remembering the responsibilities and privileges of being God’s child. Ask him to help you bring honor to the family name.
Pray that your local congregation will bring pleasure to the Father through its weekly worship times. Ask God to help all members and regular attendees act with true family love toward one another.
–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend.
The Church Prayer Leaders Network is for anyone who desires to see his or her church make prayer foundational to its entire ministry. Click the link to find out the advantages to being a member of the CPLN!