Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Fasting and Praying

Alice Smith offers the following helps about fasting in The Journey of Faith . . .

Perhaps no Christian discipline is as neglected today as is fasting.  And yet, fasting carries with it a great potential for spiritual power and answered prayer.  For a believer, fasting is voluntary abstinence from something to accomplish a specific, God-directed purpose.

Fasting isn’t about changing God – it is about changing ourselves.  At the outset, fasting seems impossible, but with God’s grace, fasting can accomplish multiple victories.  Let’s look at a few:

·       To control appetite.  You exercise authority over your appetite.  It trains us to not obey every imagination that comes into our minds (2 Cor. 10:4-5).  Our appetites must be controlled or they will continually overrule our spirit.

·       To clear the mind.  See 1 Peter 4:7.  Fasting helps us be clear-minded and self-controlled.  The inability to focus on the Lord will cripple us.

·       To establish priorities.  Fasting helps us get a fresh glimpse of things from God’s point of view.  It helps us to establish godly priorities.

·       To empower praying.  Some situations require fasting (Matthew 17:21).  Fasting will empower prayer and increase the anointing against evil forces.  Fasting will touch things that prayer alone will not affect.  We don’t seek spiritual power.  We seek the Lord.  Jesus was empowered by the Spirit after his 40-day fast.

·       To increase spiritual discernment.  Our ability to discern spiritual reality is sharpened.  Like a ship without a rudder, praying without the direction of the Holy Spirit is ineffective.  Fasting enhances our ability to hear God’s voice and tune into His frequency (Acts 13:2).

·       To build faith.  Bishop William McDowell said, The great sin of the modern church is its lack of expectancy.  We pray, but we don’t expect anything to happen.  Fasting will enlarge our faith to believe God for extraordinary breakthroughs.

·       To increase humility.  Bill Bright said that fasting is the most appropriate way for us to experience God’s prescription for revival found in 2 Chronicles 7:14.

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