Contemplations on Fasting and Prayer
18 The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were fasting. Then they came and said to Him, “Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?” 19 And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast. 20 But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.
– Mark 2:18-20
Let’s be reminded that we separate ourselves in fasting to be more intimate with Jesus. While He was with the disciples, they did not need to fast. When He ascended, it was a duty as a disciple to continue the practice of fasting. Fasting is a practice ordered directly from our Lord.
Derek Prince once said, “It is important to understand that fasting changes man, not God. The Holy Spirit, being Himself God, is both omnipotent and unchanging. Fasting breaks down the barriers in man’s carnal nature that stand in the way of the Holy Spirit’s omnipotence. Thereafter, with these carnal barriers removed, the Holy Spirit can work unhindered in His fullness through our prayers.”
Even if denying yourself food is a painful process, you will soon discover you have an appetite for something better. If you remain full, even the honey of God’s wisdom will seem unappetizing (Prov. 27:7). Just like a second round of dessert after you have already eaten a Thanksgiving banquet, what looked so good at the beginning of the meal now causes you to groan in discomfort just looking at it.
Fasting is not a burden but a privilege. It is intimate and private. It originated in the secret place between you and God. He waits in the secret place for you to join Him. After you visit with Him in secret, He will reward you openly.
God wants to restore order where there has been disorder. He wants us to fast so we can be transformed. Inward transformation brings about outward anointing, blessing, and provision. Inward transformation positions you for the promotion of the Lord. Inward transformation allows us to rightly see the Lord and ourselves. Inward transformation prepares us to receive direction and power from the Holy Spirit. Even in the midst of opposition, if you fast as an act of separation from the world and unto God, He will reward you.
However, remember that our goal in fasting is not merely to expect or receive a blessing or reward. Our goal is motives of obedience, intimacy, and pure love. Our fasting should result in intensified prayer, perspective, and purpose. Once you get a faster’s perspective on how much of your life is spent tending to the ‘self,’ you realize how much energy we put into seeking our own comfort at almost every moment of the day. God is saying, ‘Let Me be your everything. Let Me show you the miracle of the cross and the power of My Kingdom inside of you.’ Fasting moves doubt out of the way so that we can really see it. In the end, fasting really isn’t about fasting food. It’s really about you fasting you.
Think About It
1. How much time have I spent during this fast focusing on what food or thing to abstain from rather than the one I am separating to?
2. Is Jesus my main focus or are rewards my main focus?
3. Am I beginning to see some results of inner transformation?