“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. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:16-18).
Can God answer prayer without our fasting? Absolutely! In my experience, fasting seems to bring my thoughts in line with God’s thoughts. For me, praying without fasting seems focused on attempting to bring God’s thoughts in line with my thoughts. I have concluded that I have a greater opportunity to connect with God in prayer and a greater opportunity to pray God-centeredly when I combine prayer with fasting. Doing both brings about more passion in me for God.
If you are unfamiliar with fasting, consider choosing one meal to fast from in the next couple days. Instead of eating, spend the time with God. Afterwards, consider what you learned as you spent time in His Word and in prayer.
Lord, You often desire to fine-tune my focus, my perception, and my character. Going without so You can work within speaks of Your majestic purpose. I realize that fasting can sharpen my passion for You. May I never offer You excuses but rather offer You a life that seeks after You with my whole heart. Please do not allow me to settle for less.
–Adapted from The Path toward Passion (Nine Disciplines that Connect Your Heart to God’s) by Dean Trune.
Praise God as “the Mighty One, God, the Lord” who owns “every animal of the forest . . . the cattle on a thousand hills . . . the creatures of the field . . . the world . . . and all that is in it” (Ps. 50:1, 10-12). Give thanks for the blessings God has put under your care. Confess any irresponsible decisions you have made with his resources. Commit to being a wise and faithful manager of all he gives to you. Ask him to prompt you to wise stewardship from a spirit of thankfulness (50:14-15).
Pray for God’s special treasure of loving relationships. Ask his help in managing these with great care and joy.
“Prayer is first and foremost an act of love.” —Brennan Manning
–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend