As we unveiled our 5 year vision of “Intentionally on Mission…Purposefully Making Disciples” we invited you to pray and fast with us on a weekly basis. Why would we want to pray and fast for people in our life, begging the Lord to save them and asking the Lord to use us?
First, we are absolutely dependent on God to change a heart. Titus 3:16 remind us that it is the Holy Spirit who regenerates a heart! Therefore when we are begging the Lord for someone’s salvation, we are crying out to the only one who can change them! No matter how good of a presentation we make, no matter how much we love, or how we serve other…. we can’t change a heart.
Secondly, prayer and fasting changes us. As we set aside time to seek the Lord in dependence: praying for people, meditating on eternity, worshipping the God who has set us free, He begins to transform our hearts in the process. I have consistently seen in my own life when I take the time and discipline myself to fast and pray, that God often changes me and gives me an eternal perspective I did not have before. Several times over the past few weeks, after this time of praying and fasting, God has put someone on my heart in which I have been able to contact and begin to pursue them in love. Without this time of fasting, I am not sure I ever would have thought about them and certainly would have not been moved to action. Prayer and fasting changes us!
Please consider joining the pastors at MVC to fast a meal a week. Take the time to purposefully pray for those in your life to come to faith in Christ. Pray for opportunities to share Christ with them. Ask Lord for opportunities to spend time with them. Watch what God will do as we seek Him.
Below is a study to help you think through why we fast and pray. Study through it but more importantly, apply it to your life!
Mt. 4:1-4 “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’”
- Jesus was our example in fasting
- Though He was hungry, He fought Satan’s temptation by declaring that we are ultimately satisfied not by food, but by God and His word
Therefore, when we choose to fast, we can use it as an opportunity to do without physical needs to declare our dependence ultimately on God. God is ultimately the one who will satisfy us, and fasting forces us through our hunger to actively choose to find our satisfaction in Him.
John Piper writes: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. The fight of faith is a fight to feast on the all that God is for us in Christ. What we hunger for most, we worship,
His goodness shines with brightest ray
When we delight in all His ways.
His glory overflows its rim
When we are satisfied in Him.
His radiance will fill the earth
When people revel in His worth.
The beauty of God’s holy fire
Burns brightest in the heart’s desire.”
Fasting helps us to declare to ourselves that God is what we desire most, even above food!
As we fast and worship God, God seems to sharpen our perspective on Him often giving us a heart for the things that matter the most.
Referring back to the Mt. 4 passage, John Piper continues by writing: “The Spirit of God willed that the Son of God be tested on his way into the ministry, and he willed that Jesus triumph in this testing through fasting….Think on it. Jesus began His ministry with fasting. And He triumphed over his enemy through fasting. …And the aim of fasting is that we come to rely less on food and more on God…The point is that we must learn to depend on God and not ourselves.”
Consider a few practical thoughts about fasting:
- Rather than just skipping a meal or two, use those meal times for extra time in prayer. Do a prayer walk. Get alone. Seek God!
- As you feel hungry throughout the time, let it prompt your heart to worship Him declaring He is the bread of life and the satisfaction of your soul. Then turn and pray for the specific things you are fasting for.
- Don’t make it a public spectacle. This is between you and the Lord. If you are tempted to be grumpy towards others in your hunger, make sure you ask the Lord to help you show His grace and mercy to others.
- Be sensitive to His voice during this time. Be faithful to follow through with the things He puts on your heart!
Mt. 6:16-18 “Whenever you fast (notice it does not say “if you fast”), do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face 18 so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you."
Enjoy this time of fasting and seeking the Lord! Be expectant of what God will do in and through your life as we depend on Him!