|Wednesday 8th May 2019
Matthew 6:16-18 When you fast, do not look sombre as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, 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 others 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.
Fasting and praying is a Bible-based discipline for today’s church according to the scriptures. Fasting prayer is an important spiritual weapon for the believer and the church. We see in this scripture passage that the Lord Jesus emphasises the key aspects of fasting. Firstly, fasting is a personal commitment between God and the believer. We should not brag about fasting or make it deliberately obvious by our appearance that we have been fasting. Our heavenly Father who sees in secret will reward us openly.
The Lord Jesus says “when” you fast and not “If” you fast. It is a choice for the New Testament believers to fast, as the Lord Jesus mentions in Matthew 9:14 that his disciples would be fasting after He is resurrected from death and taken to heaven. It is a common practice in Jewish culture to fast especially on the day of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).
We see great breakthroughs with fasting and prayer in the Bible. Queen Esther in the Bible prayed for three days and God saved them from certain destruction in spite of the king’s royal decree. We see the example of Lord Jesus fasting for forty days and nights before beginning His public ministry.
Fasting and praying is a spiritual commitment towards God. There is a specific purpose for the fast. We deny our flesh so that we can focus more clearly on strengthening our spirits. Fasting and prayer does not change God or twist his arm to answer us quickly but prepares us to receive from Him.
We can purpose our fast either for strengthening our spiritual life, seeking God’s guidance, deliverance or protection, humbling ourselves before him, expressing repentance or concern for his work, overcoming temptation or dedicating ourselves to him.
Today do you have a physical or spiritual need in your life? Do you want to purpose in your heart like the prophet Daniel in the Bible to fast and pray?
We have a prayer-answering God who is able to move on our behalf!
Sampson Dasari (Sawyers Church Ministry Team)