It was 1997 and I was living in a hopeless situation with no earthly way out. I was dead in sin and addiction. Broken marriage, broken family and broken life, but someone cared enough to fast and pray. It was my wife. That fall was a battlefield and my wife was at war. On November 23, 1997, the 32nd day of her water fast, I was gloriously set free from the sin that had entangled me for the past 28 years. For the first time in my life I was free and it was because of His grace through her faith in fasting and prayer.
Why do we fast and pray? “To loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free…” (Isaiah 58:6).
Everyone has someone in their lives who needs a breakthrough. It may be your father, mother, brother, sister, roommate, classmate, coworker or your child. It may be your neighbor, a people group that you have been called to or the nation in which you live. Whoever it is, your fasting and prayer may be the only earthly weapon working together with the blood of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, along with God’s will to bring breakthrough.
Why do we fast and pray? To turn the tide of the current situation that needs God’s intervention.
Some people say that fasting is only for personal submission to the Lord and that it does not move the hand of God to act on our behalf. While fasting certainly does create a place for a deeper submission in us to the Lord, I believe fasting and prayer are the key components for turning the tide of anything we face.
During our second year on the mission field, our team felt burdened for a red light district in our area. We began to fast, pray and contend before the throne of God for a breakthrough. Within a year and a half of contending before God we saw 90 percent of all the bars in that area completely shut down and they are still shut down to this day. We also saw many prostitutes in the largest brothel in our area come to the Lord.
Why do we fast and pray? Because we need the favor of the Lord.
Esther needed the favor of the Lord, so she called a national time of fasting and prayer. What she was going to do could cost her her life, so she needed God to intervene (Esther 4:16). What are you facing today that you need the favor of the Lord? Is it the need of a new job? A house to sell? A business to take off? An election to win? A truth revealed because someone lied about you? Your spouse to come into agreement with you on something the Lord has spoken? Whatever it is, fasting and prayer puts you in the position for a breakthrough into favor.
Why do we fast and pray? That we may live in the protection and the deliverance of the Lord (Ezra 8:21, 23, 31).
In a world of so many attacks, including verbal, mental, emotional and spiritual, even sometimes physical, we need the protection of the Lord. There are times when we experience overwhelming pressures in our lives that we have no answer for. There is seemingly no way out. Often times, these things could be stopped before they started, or revealed and done away with, if fasting and prayer were a valued spiritual commitment that we implemented in our lives.
Why do we fast and pray? Because “temptation may come as a surprise but sin is not an accident.” (Todd Pruett, Missionary to Thailand)
The devil was coming to tempt Jesus, but He was ready for Him. He was prepared with the Word of God, His sword and with 40 days of fasting and prayer (Matthew 4). What temptation are you facing right now? The lust of the flesh? The lust of the eyes? The pride of life? All temptation falls into these three categories. Whatever it is, there is a pathway to victory through fasting and prayer. We cannot stop temptation from coming, but when it does come, we can walk in power to overcome it through a lifestyle of fasting and prayer!
Why do we fast and pray? To move the hand of God.
For some, the thought that we are able to do anything to move God is so absurd that they can never accept it. Yet history is filled with stories of those who have fasted and prayed until God answered. Did fasting and prayer cause God to respond? I believe it did. Martin Luther, John Wesley and Charles Finney all saw the Lord impact their generations and they were all men of fasting and prayer. It was Smith Wigglesworth who said, “If the Spirit of God is not moving, I will move the Spirit of God.”
Why do we fast and pray? Because we want to be hungry for God.
When we find ourselves lulled to sleep by a consumer Christianity, fed up with going through the motions of compartmentalized Christianity and cannot live another day of our lives in complacent Christianity we decide, “I have to have more of God!” Everything becomes secondary to pursuing the presence of the Lord in a deeper way. Nothing can satisfy us but a deeper reality of the Lord in our lives.
Look around you right now. There has never been a time in history that needs people of fasting and prayer more. Will you join in this season of fasting and prayer and be counted among those who are part of turning the tide of a generation and moving the hand of God to act on behalf of those who’s faces are set toward Him? It is time to fast and pray!
Corporately, we are kicking off a three-day Prayer and Fast this Monday, October 24th through Wednesday, October 26th. Join us as we seek God and contend for breakthrough in our lives and in the lives of those around us.
This post was written by an Antioch missionary