Are you really hungry for an answer to prayer? God offers us a powerful tool via fasting. On the surface it may appear like an odd thing to do, but not when we look closer.
It is contrary to natural reasoning to deplete yourself of energy when you need it, but the diminished physical strength is replaced by mysterious support. The principle is when we are weak God is strong, which may appear foolish. But fasting tells God "I am more hungry for you than for food."
Shaping History Through Fasting
Fasting is so thoroughly scriptural that genuine Christians cannot neglect it. It was the regular practice of the Israelites, Jesus, the early church, saints, and revivalists like John Wesley who would not ordain a man unless he fasted every Wednesday and Friday until 4:00 p.m. When the disciples couldn't heal an epileptic youth harassed by the enemy, Jesus replied that some evil won't be expelled without fasting. (And note that animals cannot fast.)
Team fasts have leverage. For example, when a friend was having trouble finding a job for several months, he received the job offer the same day five of us agreed to fast.
Effective fasts aren't always from food, but can be from anything inhibiting your growth with God. Use time you would spend doing the activity on prayer instead.
We rest with God, surrender striving, highlight our dependence, and reverse the natural tendency to take control. (Paradoxically we receive more by fighting the desire for independence.)
I think at it's best it's sort of a romantic expectancy, like the days that preceded Pentecost, that build hunger until God releases His presence.
- Spirit. We intentionally do nothing. This makes it clear it's God who works the results. He says to us "hold still while I love you."
- Soul. Benefits include strengthened will power, greater focus, detachment from petty worries.
- Body. A trimmer physique might be a fringe benefit. ;)
I am a powerful, almighty God and I equip My people for freedom to love and to be loved. My plan never involves your oppression. I tell you to press in and draw near to Me.
Come, praise Me. At times, enact warfare prayer against the forces of the enemy that hold you and this world down. Prayer and fasting will put your focus back upon Me.
At times of duress, it is so human to seek one's own needs and to try to meet them in so many ways that never fulfill: avoidance, escape, worry, controlling, complaining, blaming. These are beyond you for it is not about you.
You are My vessels created by Me for honor and to share My glory. Amidst sorrow, in Me you'll find joy; in fear, I am your protection; in loneliness, I am your ever-loving companion and friend; in pain, your healing balm who comforts; in confusion, I am your wisdom.