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When You Fast and Pray …

Angela Morgan (Pursuit 21 guest blogger and friend) posted something on Facebook a while back and it was so profound I took a picture of it:

Satan tempted Jesus when fasting

That’s right! The Bible doesn’t mention Jesus being tempted when He was feeding the 5,000 … or when he was healing the sick … or when He was walking on water. No, Satan tempted Jesus when He was fasting and praying.

What’s my point?

1. Prayer is powerful! It’s how God works!

As Angela notes, prayer is powerful. It’s how God works! If Satan understands the power of prayer, we should too! And we should exercise it!!

Angela’s last statement is one we should take to heart. When we work, we work. But when we pray, God works. So be encouraged as you fast and pray! God is working!!

When it comes to your causes for fasting, you may have tried a thousand things to fix the problem. But as you fast and pray, GOD is working. He will do what you in you in your own efforts were powerless to accomplish.

Since prayer is how God works, Satan fears it.

“The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.”

Samuel Chadwick

“Pray often; for prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge for Satan.”

John Bunyan

“Satan does not care how many people read about prayer if only he can keep them from praying. When a church is truly convinced that prayer is where the action is, that church will so construct its corporate activities that the prayer program will have the highest priority.”

Paul E. Billheimer

“When we go to God by prayer, the devil knows we go to fetch strength against him, and therefore he opposeth us all he can.”

Richard Sibbes

“Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees.”

– William Cowper

Satan hates you praying so much that he will try everything in his arsenal to keep you from it.

“If you set your heart to seek God, the devil will put on you a conspiracy of interruptions. He will do all he can to keep you from the prayer closet.”

– David Wilkerson

If the devil hates your daily prayer closet and is determined to fiercely oppose you every time you enter, what do you think his intentions are when you determine to seek God diligently—so diligently that you’re willing to go without food? What in the world (and all heavenly places) do you think he wants to do when you’re willing to combine fasting with your praying?

So …

2. Don’t be surprised if the enemy attacks you on your fast.

Since Satan hates prayer, don’t be surprised when he attacks you as you fast and pray. Jesus wasn’t exempt from attacks as He fasted and prayed. So it’s unlikely we will be either.

It’s established: the devil hates believers taking hold of God through prayer. But why does he detest it when we combine fasting with prayer?

A clue can be found in Matthew 17:16-21. This is the account of the demon possessed boy whom the disciples could not help. They were unable to cast the demon out of the boy because of their unbelief.

Later, the disciples asked Jesus privately why they were unable to cast the demon out. He replied,

“Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:20-21).

Andrew Murray’s reflections on this passage give us a clue as to why the enemy attacks when prayer is combined with fasting:

The faith that can overcome stubborn resistance such as you have just seen in this evil spirit, Jesus tells them, is not possible except for men living in very close fellowship with God and in very special separation from the world—in prayer and fasting. And so He teaches us two lessons of deep importance in regard to prayer. The one so that faith needs a life of prayer in which to grow and keep strong. The other is that prayer needs fasting for its full and perfect development. Faith needs a life of prayer for its full growth. [i]

The power of fasting lies in how your prayer life is strengthened by it. Fasting separates you from the distractions of this world and, when practiced rightly, brings your body and soul into subjection to the Holy Spirit.

The devil detests it when we disconnect from the world through fasting and connect to God through prayer. He hates it when we enlist fasting as a tool because fasting strengthens our prayer life! It strengthens the very thing he knows can and will defeat him!

Biblical fasting includes not just abstaining from food, but abstaining from anything that hinders prayer—be it television, media, socializing, etc. So as you’re fasting, be sensitive to anything that the devil might use to hinder your prayer … even ‘good’ things. Choose that which is best—the one thing that is necessary. (See Luke 10:42)

When you fast, PRAY! And pray expectantly because GOD IS WORKING! God answers prayer!!!

In Summary

  • When you fast and pray, God works. So pray expectantly.
  • When you fast and pray, Satan hates it. So don’t be surprised or discouraged by his attacks.

“Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help,
and he will say: Here am I.”
~ Isaiah 58:9

“Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you
great and mighty things, which you do not know.”

~ Jeremiah 33:3

Questions:

  • As you fast, are you not only fasting from food but also from anything that hinders your prayers?
  • How have you noticed fasting strengthening your prayer life?
  • What conspiracy of interruptions has the devil put on you to keep you from your prayer closet?
  • How has the enemy attacked you on your fast? 
  • As you pray, are you praying expecting God to work?

________________

[i] Andrew Murray, Andrew Murray on Prayer (New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 1998), 372

FROM THE FASTING ARCHIVES

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4 Responses to “When You Fast and Pray …”

  1. J. MURRAY says:

    hi I am on a 21 days fast and in under heavy attacks. I am so glad for the information I just read on this website because some of it I did not know and it truly encouraged me. thanks J. MURRAY

  2. Jennifer says:

    This is really motivating. I wish I had known this years ago. My life would of been so much better than it is now.

  3. TERESA JOHNSON says:

    I’m on a 21 day fast now. I’ve fasted in the past, but it wasn’t a sincere fast for the right reasons. I’ve messed up 2 times, but I did not let it stop me from continuing. I received the gift of tongues during my fast and also better vision physically and spiritually. I’m gaining a greater understanding… All glory and praises to God almighty in heaven.

  4. Flora says:

    Thank you for the informative data. I wish I know what I know now. But it is better late than never, right? I started a fast yesterday as I have lined up some things I want the Lord to do in my life. Satan used my students to taunt me into using derogatory words in class about them. I feel so ashamed about it . Especially after my class and while breaking my fast. I JUST WANT TO SAY A BIG THANK YOU.

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