“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up” (James 4:10).
David and Ezra stated that they humbled themselves with fasting. Fasting is certainly not the only way to humble ourselves before God, but it is one way. Why should we be interested in humbling ourselves before God? Proverbs 3:34, James 4:6, and 1 Peter 5:5 say the same thing: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Fasting done with correct motives will produce humility in our lives. Humility in us gives God the freedom to give us grace. I love God’s grace. We all receive it to some extent. I wholeheartedly believe that properly motivated fasting increases His grace.
Joy and Gladness before God: “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘The fast of the fourth month, the fast of the fifth, the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be joy and gladness and cheerful feasts for the house of Judah. Therefore love truth and peace’” (Zech. 8:18-19). I have had people approach me during a seminar and confess depression. They typically want to know what they should do. I often recommend fasting. They often get this look on their face that says, “You are an idiot. I am depressed and you want me to go without food?” God has a way of injecting more joy and gladness into our lives through fasting. How God does this is not significant. The fact that He does it is significant.
–Adapted from Giving Ourselves to Prayer: An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry (Chapter 17, The Role of Fasting as an Accompaniment to Prayer by Dean Trune).
Lord of hosts, fasting has not been an easy discipline in my life. Your word is clear that Your people should fast, and You have given many examples of people in the Bible who have done so with gladness. Help me to desire more of You so that I am willing to humble myself through fasting and prayer. Pour out joy and gladness as I trust in You to sustain me.
Praise God for his controlling presence everywhere. Give thanks that no circumstance in life—even death itself—is beyond his loving control. Confess your desire to act according to your own timetable rather than God’s. Commit yourself to drawing closer to God in every way and waiting patiently for him. Ask for the ability to live by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7).
Ask that members of your church family will have the humility and gentleness to consider others better than themselves. Pray that believers will not only look out for their own interests, but also for the interests of others (Phil. 2:3-4).
–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend