DAY 19 - WHY WE PRAY AND FAST
One Sunday morning when I was a new believer, I walked into my church and there were Posters and advertisements for “prayer and fasting” and my first thought was “What! People still fast?! I thought that was only in practice in Bible times.” Like I said, I was a new believer. That morning I learned of the importance of prayer and fasting and how it should be a regular part of our Christian walk. So why do we pray and fast?
In the book Jesus Habits, Pastor Jay Dennis tells a story about prayer and fasting.
“August Lensen was an eighty-four-year-old widower who sat toward the back in church. Many perceived him as one who no longer had much to offer. His Pastor learned otherwise. On a visit to his house Pastor Bly saw the old man’s daily regimen. He spent two and half hours in bible study and prayer followed by a three-mile walk where he conversed with God. Lately he had been fasting two meals a day and praying for the salvation of Anthony, a neighborhood teen who was good for little more than mischief. The Pastor asked, ‘How long have you been fasting and praying for him like that?’ He replied ‘40 days.’ ‘How much longer will you continue?’ With a smile he said ‘as long as it takes.’ On day fifty-one, Anthony committed his life to Christ.”
Nehemiah was in great distress over the report of what was going on in Jerusalem. We see his response in verse 4, Nehemiah wept and mourned for days. In the following verses, we read his prayer. He worships; he repents for himself and his family; and he asks the Lord for favor as he takes action regarding Jerusalem.
“The purpose of prayer and fasting is to strengthen our relationship with the Lord and one another.”
-Pastor Steve Wexler
Prayer and fasting help us to listen and learn from the Spirit of God and the Word of God. Prayer and fasting free us and deliver us. Prayer and fasting are disciplines that open the door to the miraculous. Prayer and fasting can improve and strengthen our relationship with Jesus. Prayer and fasting bring breakthrough.
Sometimes that breakthrough comes by God working on our behalf. And sometimes, breakthrough comes because God works through us. This means we need to take action. Nehemiah was a man of action fueled by prayer and fasting. Are we ready to take real, tangible action towards the breakthrough we are praying for?
Start a family prayer wall. Write or draw requests on sticky notes and place them on the wall. Pray daily with confidence in Jesus’ faithfulness for each request. Update the sticky notes with dates and move to a new section of the wall as prayers are answered.
PRAYER & REFLECTION
Reflect on the last 19 days of Prayer and Fasting. How has God brought breakthrough in your life? In what ways is god prompting you to take action for the purpose of breakthrough in your own life or for our church or community?