Our church just finished its Mid-Year Prayer and Fasting and there are a lot of accounts of healing, restoration of relationships, and all other breakthroughs. While we thank God for the answered prayers, the ultimate purpose why we fast should be to seek intimacy with God.
Fasting is an act of consecration or dedication to a sacred purpose. It’s not just for diet or to tell people you’re such an obedient Christian. When you fast, you are depriving your fleshly hunger to feed the spirit and be used in the kingdom (Acts 13:2). Fasting is an act of humility and asking God for protection (Ezra 8:21); it is a confession (Nehemiah 1:4); a cry for mercy (Jeremiah 36:6) and a dedication to return to the Lord (Joel 2:12).
Out of our busy schedules we carve time to seek God wholeheartedly by our spirit, not with our flesh. It might not be easy explaining to your family and friends why you’re not eating when it’s time to eat or how hard it is to resist temptation when there’s a lot more food and celebration while you’re fasting. However, it is also encouraging to receive their prayer requests when you ask them and tell them you’re actually fasting.
This time I had the privilege to partner with many people and believe with them the answers to their prayers. I did not make myself pitiful to let them see me as someone religious but asked for their prayer requests in a genuine act of love (Matthew 6:16-18).
People need the Lord more than praying for our own personal requests. “Behold in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure (Isaiah 58:3).
Being a child, we ask our parents a lot of things and it is their delight to provide us all things. However, they also make the decision whether to give or not depending on the kind of our request. Because of our immaturity, we ask of things which are not really beneficial and are not meant for us to have. And yet still out of stubbornness, we cling to our dad’s hand with fluttering eyelashes for him to grant our request. Most of the time, we are like that with God. Lord give me this, provide me that, I want this position, make him fall in love with me, I want my very own red, sports car. While God is willing to give us all things (Romans 8:32), He is more concerned with our soul’s need, our character more than our wealth.
Sometimes, we try to be more clever with God that we justify our requests. Out of His infinite wisdom He gives us what we don’t really need to teach us a lesson in the end. My prayer is for you to grasp the truth and understand God’s love for you. Moreover, do not let unanswered prayers steal your joy but seek God above all else. Then you will see for yourself that He has greater plans for you (Jeremiah 29:11). Then receive them in the eyes of faith.
There was a time when I wasn’t able to fast as much as I could. My work then demands that I eat to have energy and physically and mentally perform my job. I felt guilty. Eventually, this is also one way of twisting God’s arm. We fast so that God will grant our requests. It becomes now a matter of performance rather than worship.
Our Father in heaven knows what we need and what we want even before we ask in prayer and fasting. But He is after our own hearts that He wants us to have an intimate relationship with Him. Instead of twisting His arm, He invites us to hold His hands and walk with Him. As you invite the Holy Spirit in your life when you fast, the Lord will draw near and is very much willing to listen and talk to you (Psalm 95:7, Hebrews 4:16). Then you can thank Him because you’ve already received your answers (2 Corinthians 1:20). For we receive according to our faith. How much do you believe can God give you more than you could ever ask or think? (Ephesians 3:20) Do you have a threshold in your faith?
God honors our fasting. He will do wonders in our midst if we seek Him with our whole heart (Joshua 3:5). He will save your loved ones, He will heal cancer, He will restore your relationship with your parents, He will give you your desired job and salary, He will provide for your tuition fee, He will give victory to your ministry. He will lose the bonds of wickedness, He will undo the straps of the yoke, He will free the oppressed, He will break every yoke (Isaiah 58:6).
I’m glad I fasted. I believe that I’ve received the major breakthrough of intimacy with Him. It might not be in the form of a material blessing, which I also prayed for, but the peace of God which surpasses all understanding guarded my heart and mind in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7). All this time, He is teaching me to be still and know that He is God. For all the prayers I’ve prayed, I’ve already received the answers in one way or another, in another place and time, in another season. He’s already walked ahead of me and is waiting for me at the end of the tunnel. I need to be in faith while I travel inside the dark tunnel in order to receive them. To not be afraid or weary because I’ve already received the answer to all prayers. And the answer is Jesus Christ alone and He is enough for me. The salvation of my soul is more than I could ever deserve (John 3:16).
Do you have something you’re asking God for? I invite you to fast and seek His answer in prayer. Perhaps you need to seek Him first more than the answer to the request.