Is Fasting Necessary?
Today’s Reading: Micah 4-5; Revelation 12
But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting. Matthew 17:21
Is fasting necessary? And what does prayer with fasting do that prayer alone can’t accomplish? I don’t know about you, but fasting is difficult for me. My flesh does not like anything being withheld from it. If my flesh could talk, it would make comments to my spirit like, “You don’t really love me. Why are you holding out on me? This fasting thing just hurts, there isn’t anything really to it.”
Well, fasting without prayer is called “being hungry.” But fasting with prayer is called “feasting in a spiritual sense.” When we choose to make a conscious effort to put aside our needs of the flesh to concentrate instead on the spiritual issues that are nagging our hearts, God moves. Sometimes He moves the person who is fasting, by changing their desires, stilling their storms and flattening their prideful attitudes. And sometimes, He moves in the circumstances and moves mountains. Other times, He is able to work in others because of our ability to intercede while fasting.
Fasting with prayer is important because it causes us to focus while reminding us to pray. Every time we want to pick up something to eat, we pray instead. Fasting does not have to be related to food though. We could fast from watching television, listening to the radio, wearing jewelry or even lipstick. We can fast from anything that we are in the habit of doing, which then causes us to crucify the flesh and to concentrate on the spiritual realm.
As for me, I need to “almost fast” before I really fast. I need to prepare myself spiritually before jumping into this commitment. Crucifying the flesh isn’t easy and unless I am led spiritually into a fast, there are too many reasons to break it. But God is so willing to reward us when we fast, that the pain of denial is nothing compared to His blessings in abundance. The disciples once asked Jesus why they could not cast out a demon, He replied: “This kind can come out only by prayer and fasting.”
If you haven’t ever fasted, pray about it; God will lead you, and if and when He leads you, get ready—for He will move strongly in your life too!
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