What does fasting have to do with getting my prayers answered?
What is the connection between fasting and answered prayers?
After a week of fasting, you may begin to question if the discipline of prayer and fasting will truly connect you to God. Rest assured there are several examples in the Bible that point us to a very clear answer: there is a connection between prayer and fasting which Jesus himself shared with his disciples. In the Gospel of Matthew 9:21, Jesus taught that "However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting." Although Jesus was addressing a supernatural circumstance, the application of fasting and prayer cannot be separated from a belief in God's Word as the infallible truth. Jesus admonished the disciples for their doubt and unbelief. Seeking God through fasting and prayer keeps doubt from your mind and helps us to understand the importance of relying on God's word as truth.
Abstaining from food by fasting brings God into clearer spiritual focus when in prayer. We can see how God answered prayer when people fasted in the Bible. Let's take a look at Ezra for an example. Ezra's assignment was rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem. And there were moments when it felt overwhelming. So, here's what he did: "We fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer" (Ezra 8:23). When you are willing to go without food and take time to seek God with all your heart, He will respond to you. Let's observe three things Ezra fasted and prayer for:
"To seek from Him the right way for us," (Ezra 8:21 NKJV). Without God's guidance you are left to the mercy of your own best thinking, and that can get you into trouble you may not get out of in a hurry. God doesn't want you traveling blindly into the future, hoping for the best. His promise is "Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know" (Jeremiah 33:33 NKJV). Like Jesus taught the disciples, Ezra sought God through prayer and fasting and so should we, especially when we face a challenge or decision in life.
Keep in mind that God Himself is a father. This much is sure: when you petition Him on behalf of your children He gets involved in their lives! "And for your little ones," is what the scripture reminds (Ezra 8:21 NKJV). Ezra and the other priests fasted and prayed for the next generation of Israel's children as well as the future priests of Israel. He knew this was not just a personal prayer, but a God-connected desire to see generational striving cease. Eventually, Samuel was molded into one of Israel's greatest prophets by the prayers of a godly mother called Hannah. The community of prayer and fasting that Samuel was raised into allowed him to grow in God and see many prayers answered.
Ezra also prayed for "all our possessions" (Ezra 8:21 NKJV). God cares about the daily concerns of our lives, even financial ones. If unemployment, the foreclosure rate or the stock market are anything to go by, you'd be wise to consult God before you make a financial decision. God has promises for you financially, if and when your heart is in harmony with His. If and when you are being obedient to the spiritual guidelines for giving, His will and your desire come together in an amazing way.
You may have already read that fasting is the duty of every Christian. Keep in mind that like any other spiritual discipline, fasting is about strengthening your relationship with Christ. Answered prayers are a product of a strong relationship with God and right alignment to His will. By submitting yourself in fasting and prayer, you also submit your own will to His.
God has plans for us that are good (Jeremiah 29:11) and we can rely on that never changing. However, sometimes what we think is good and what God knows is good for us differ. Fasting with prayer can clear up that confusion and prayers get answered because the alignment between God and our hearts is finally banded together. As our Father, He takes no greater joy that joining with us and answering our prayers. Keep seeking God with all your heart, both in fasting and in prayer, as you grow closer in relationship with Him, He will meet your needs in abundance.
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