Matthew 6:16-18 (NKJV)
16 “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the [a]hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you [b]openly.
Prayer that is coupled with fasting is a powerful spiritual tool and discipline that every believer should engage in. In fact Jesus says in the verse above; “when you fast” and not “if you fast” meaning it is expected of us as believers to have seasons where we fast and pray.
Fasting is an inside job, it is taking on a place of humility before God. To fast is to deny the flesh and focus on the spirit man. It is not just about denying yourself food, but it has also to do with your attitude of heart.
Many times, in the old testament we find that people fasted and prayed in times of distress to repent and draw near to God and God responded to their prayer and fasting. Think of Esther or king Jehoshaphat, then there is Moses who went up the mountain to meet with God and for 40 days and 40 nights he ate nothing. Jesus himself was led into the wilderness where he prayed and fasted for 40 days and 40 nights and when He came back the bible says that He returned to Galilee in the power of the Holy Spirit.
We fast so that we can deny the flesh and focus more on the spirit and draw near to God and thus fasting must go hand in hand with prayer. Because it’s a place of humility then as the verse says, its not a place of showing off how spiritually disciplined we are, because when we do so then we are no longer doing it from a place of humility but pride.
When we humble ourselves before the Lord then He lifts us up and fights on our behalf.
Why do you fast if you do, and if you don’t, why don’t you?
When you fast, do you focus more on the not eating or the attitude of your heart?
In your season of fasting, do you intensify your prayer or do you neglect prayer?