FASTING IN THE
By Jemima Rayan
Jesus taught in Mathew
17:21, “However this kind does
not go out except by prayer and fasting”.
Matthew 17:19-21 talked about how Jesus spoke with authority,
He cast out the evil spirit. Jesus answer shows some circumstances,
problems and demons cannot be dealt with effectively without
fasting and prayer. Fasting combined with prayer is the key
to mastery over the impossible.
While Christ was present, His power and presence caused evil
powers to flee. If the disciples failed, the Lord was at hand
to deliver. But after He was gone, it would be necessary for
them to advance into the place of dominion that He lived in.
Fasting in the early church:
The teaching of Jesus was the inspiration for the early Church.
There were no revival meetings or fasting prayer meetings that
they could attend. They had to start revival themselves. They
had to start to pray and fast themselves.
Act 9:1-9 talks about
the conversion of Saul. Apostle Paul’s
Christian journey started with a fast. Acts 9:9 says, ‘and
he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank”.
In vs 11, Paul was praying.
God could have sent
Ananias the first day, but He did not. Those three days of
prayer and fasting prepared Paul for his
deliverance. People who have serious afflictions would do well
to pray and fast like Paul until they have the assurance for
the answer. If a person’s faith is too weak to secure
deliverance on his own from some chronic affliction, he might
be completely healed if he would pray and fast before hands
were laid on him by a minister of the Gospel.
Fasting opened the doors of the gentiles to receive the gospel:
Cornelius was a godly
man a centurion who feared God with all his household, who
gave alms generously to the people,
and prayed to God always” (Acts 10:2). He had not yet
received the message of salvation through Christ, but his soul
was crying out to God for a full revelation of His will. He
was praying and fasting one day and at about three o’clock
in the afternoon, and angel suddenly appeared before him. The
angel told him that his prayers and works of charity pleased
God. He told Cornelius to send for Peter and Peter would tell
him about the way of Salvation.
In the days of the apostles
many people prayed. What was it about Cornelius’ prayer that pleased God? his deep sincerity.
His prayer was accompanied by fasting.Acts 10:30,31 says, “Four
days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour
I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in
bring clothing, and said, “Cornelius, your prayer has
been heard, and your alms are remembered in the sight of God”.
While Peter preached
about “how God anointed Jesus of
Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about
doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil” (Acts
10:38), the Holy Spirit came and fell on Cornelius and his
Fasting without sincerity will accomplish nothing, as was
the case with the Pharisees. But fasting and praying in sincerity
is powerful: it moved heaven for Cornelius. In this case, it
opened the door for the gentiles to receive the Gospel.
Fasting preceded the first missionary journey:
The time came when the call of God to reach the unevangelized
began to weigh heavily on the hearts of Paul and his companion,
Barnabas. They had been ministering in the church of Antioch.
Paul remembered how the Lord had spoken through Ananais at
Damascus, saying that Paul was to be sent on a mission to the
Considerable time had now elapses, yet Paul had never gone
to the gentiles, nor had the Lord made it clear how or where
he was to go. Now he and Barnabas, as well as some of the others,
thought it was time to obtain the answer from God. So they
enter into a fast.
Acts 13:2, “As they ministered to the Lord and fasted,
the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate tot Me Barnabas and
Saul for the work to which I have called them”.
How many days they fasted we do not know, except that they
stayed before the Lord until the answer came. God could have
given them specific directions without the fasting, but He
did not. There was a reason why a fast was in order. A spiritual
battle needed to be waged and won against the power of darkness
so that when they went out on the field, the way would be open
before them. And they ministered to the Lord, the answer came.
One might think that
having received divine instructions, the apostles would have
left immediately. But they did not.
Now that they knew what the Lord wanted them to do, they desired
the blessing of God on their plans more than ever. So it was
that the whole church fasted and waited on the Lord before
a move was made. Finally hands were laid on Paul and Barnabas
and they were sent on the world’s first missionary journey.
Their first stop was at Cyprus. The Spirit of God moved right
from the start. Even the interest of the proconsul of the country,
Sergius Paulus, was stirred. He called for the apostles because
he wanted to hear the Word of God. But Elymas, the sorcerer,
used his influence to try to turn the proconsul away from the
faith. Because of those days, of fasting in Antioch, Paul was
ministering under a powerful anointing, Suddenly, he looked
straight at the magician and rebuked him, informing him that
judgment was coming on him for a time. Immediately Elymas was
struck blind, The proconsul, astonished by what had happened,
became a believer.
The first stage of this historic missionary journey was a
great success. No doubt this success came because their ministry
had been preceded by prayer and fasting.
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