Prayer and Fasting - Nehemiah Entrepreneurship Community

Prayer and Fasting

Prayer and Fasting

Do you need a breakthrough in your life or business?
Have you been praying and praying, with seemingly no result?
Has your Christian life become “stale” like last week’s bread?
What can be done to break through and rise above these situations?
How can we take our walk with God and our lives in general to the next level?

And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.”

Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour.

Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. 
However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
– Matthew 17:14-21 (NKJV)

Just prior to the remarkable story above, Jesus had called His twelve disciples to Himself, and He had given them “power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease” (Matthew 10:1). Yet we read in the story above that in this particular case, they were unable to do the things that Jesus had empowered them to do.

While He did challenge them about the level of their faith, He also said, “This kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” 

What is fasting? Fasting in the Bible almost always refers to abstaining from food for a length of time – usually days or weeks – for the purpose of seeking God and focusing on Him at a deeper level. Fasting can also include abstinence from other things. When we fast, we are subduing the desires of our flesh so that our focus on hearing the voice of God and on knowing His will takes precedence in our lives. Prayer and fasting, along with worship, are often mentioned together in Scripture because they complement and enhance each other so well. 

The Bible mentions many reasons why people fast. Usually, fasting is associated with a spiritual breakthrough of some kind, the release of blessing on a higher level (personally, for a group of people, or for a nation), or a new phase of life or ministry.

We read in Matthew 4: 2 That “after fasting for 40 days and nights, Jesus was hungry.” This fast immediately preceded Jesus’ earthly ministry. Moses also fasted for 40 days and nights in the presence of the LORD on Mount Sinai, during one of the most holy interactions between God and man when the Ten Commandments were given (Exodus 34:28). At the end of that time, Moses’ face shone with the Glory of God, because of the intensity of his experience with the Almighty. Daniel fasted on fruit, vegetables, and water for 21 days (Daniel 10: 2-3). This time preceded an unprecedented time of encounters with God and heavenly visions.

Ezra fasted to bring the nation of Israel to a place of humility before God (Ezra 8:21-23), and Joel for repentance (Joel 2:11-14). King David said, “I humbled myself with fasting” (Psalm 35:13). 

In Acts 13:1-3 we read of the leaders who were gathered at Antioch and who were “worshiping the Lord and fasting”. While they did so, the Holy Spirit instructed them to set apart (commission) Barnabas and Saul for the work to which they were called. The rest of the Books of Acts, and the letters written by the Apostle Paul, demonstrate the fruit of that day of devotion and spiritual discipline in Antioch.

The widow Anna, a prophetess, spent her days in the temple, exercising prayer and fasting as her worship to God (Luke 2:36-38). Her prophetic gifting, including her powerful proclamation of Christ, flowed from this.

As Jesus said, there are some things that will only shift in our lives, and some battles that can only be won, through a combination of prayer and fasting. “However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” You could say that when combined, prayer and fasting open “a door to the more” – to the greater dimensions of the will of God and the blessing of God, and to the sacred prize of the upwards call in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14).

However – we also need to understand that fasting is not a “formula” that, if followed in a specific way, will give rise to a specific result. Just as with prayer, God is observing our motives and the state of our hearts.

But – if your prayer and fasting are offered to God from a place of love, devotion, and surrender, then know that your breakthrough is imminent.

When we first give our lives to Christ, we are excited and bubbling over with the sheer wonder of what God has done for us, and we naturally express our thanks and praise through prayer and worship. 

However, as we spend longer walking as Christians, there is a real danger that we can fall into routines that are devoid of new life in terms of our spirituality, without even realizing it. If this happens, it can cause us to fall well short of what God intended for us, leaving our destinies on hold, and generating a feeling of unfulfillment in our daily lives. 

This is why daily “fresh manna from Heaven” in the form of prayer, worship, and studying the Word of God is so important – and so enjoyable! And – when we add fasting to our prayer, worship, and study of God’s Word, we engage on a deeper level with the LORD, and our focus and clarity regarding our Divine destiny increases. 

What is the breakthrough that you need? It could be a breakthrough to the next level of success that you know is waiting for you as you walk in obedience to God. It could be that your life seems to be stagnant and not moving forward. Whatever it may be, the Bible encourages us to add fasting to our times of prayer and worship. 

LORD, as we come to You today with repentant hearts and contrite spirits, choosing to lay down our physical desires by adding fasting to our prayers, worship, and Bible study, we are expectant to meet You in a deeper place, to hear Your voice more clearly, and to discern Your will as never before, and all for Your Glory. Amen.

The Nehemiah Entrepreneurship Community staff is currently in the midst of our first 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting for the year. We will be praying and fasting from January 8 to January 28. If you wish to pray together with us, we will be meeting online through Google Meet at 6:00 AM Pacific every day till the final day of our 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting. Click on the button below to join us:

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