Many believers doubt whether or not God answers prayers, particularly if they have tried praying and do not receive an expected or desired result from their efforts.
Fasting can vary significantly among Christian believers. Some fast to receive a promise from God; others fast in order to know His will; while still others wish to strengthen their meaningful relationship with Him.
Fasting Christians often expect God to answer their prayers directly; however, according to Scripture answered prayer should not be seen as something tangible from Him but instead focus on deepening our relationship with Him during those periods. Instead they should devote their energy toward spiritual development and devote more time reading His Word so as to better hear God when praying again.
Old Testament accounts often include prayer and fasting as tools of survival for people facing difficult circumstances, like when Israel was held captive in Egypt and they prayed to God for deliverance; He heard their cry, yet took some time before answering and liberating them (Exodus 2:24).
Hezekiah provides another biblical example of fasting and prayer coming together: He was suffering from an acute illness when he turned to prayer as his final form of treatment (2 Chronicles 20:1-6). God heard His prayer and Hezekiah was miraculously restored (2 Kings 20:1-6).
Fasting should never be used as a way of manipulating God. According to Scripture, fasting should be approached as a spiritual discipline designed to draw us closer to the Lord while seeking wisdom and power from Him. Additionally, fasting should serve as an opportunity to ask forgiveness from Him for any sin we may have committed such as neglecting daily devotional time with Him or failing to spread the Gospel message with others.
One of the greatest obstacles to answered prayer lies in our lack of faith. If we do not believe that God hears and answers our prayers, we may end up disappointed when He doesn’t grant what we desire. To overcome this barrier, it is necessary to renew our belief in God and His Word through reading Scripture and dedicating personal time to prayer – praying for guidance in our lives as well as praying for those lost – while drawing upon spiritual gifts He has bestowed upon us to minister to others around us.
As part of your fasting experience, it is crucial that you set aside a portion of each day for prayer. Prayer is an avenue of communication with God; Scripture contains many examples of people reaching out in humble praise to Him through prayer. When praying during fasting it’s essential that not only those dearest to us are remembered but that unbelievers too may come into Christ through this channel (Romans 10:1).
If you are fasting with others, try meeting for prayer together as often as possible. Avoid television and other sources of distraction that might derail your spiritual focus. When alone, pray for community leaders, the unreached millions around the globe, any special needs that might exist and yourself. Take time out each day to ask God for forgiveness for any past transgressions as well as strength to live like Christ would want us to.
Though numerous biblical tests of prayer provide proof, some remain skeptical of its power. Usually this occurs because an answer was not forthcoming and they mistakenly assume God has turned a deaf ear to their prayers.
However, it’s essential to keep in mind that God always answers our prayers either “yes” or “no”, depending on our need and circumstance. Hezekiah’s illness and near death demonstrate this truth – his prayer was answered “yes”, because it came at a time when He wanted to heal Him.
Jesus taught that our prayers become more effective when combined with fasting. He warned against engaging in showy prayers to gain notice from others (Matthew 6:16-18).
Fasting requires spending time praying and asking God for forgiveness of any past or current sins you’ve committed – whether they be sins of omission such as neglecting others or failing to share the Gospel; or commission such as lying or adultery.
Many people believe fasting can increase prayer’s impact. While fasting may help bring you closer to God and give your prayers greater focus, you should never expect a supernatural “mountaintop experience.” Instead, focus on praying and asking the Lord for guidance in your life; fasting can also serve as an opportunity for confession and repentance of any sins you’ve committed – ask Him to help turn away from selfishness towards righteousness – then pursue Him wholeheartedly!
Fasting can take many forms; from complete abstinence from food and beverage intake, to restricting certain kinds of consumption during a fast (such as only eating fruit and drinking water during this period). Other fasts might restrict caffeine or stimulants like coffee, tea, soda and sugary juice consumption – even cutting back television viewing or social media in order to dedicate more time reading scripture and praying!
As part of your fast, you should also set aside some time for prayer and meditation. This will enable you to remain more attentive to what the Lord has in store during this period of heightened spiritual devotion – such as when Martin Luther attributed his success in translating the Bible due to fasting and prayer sessions! Historically speaking, many have been used by God after experiencing powerful encounters with Holy Spirit during prayer fasts like Martin Luther.
Be sure to include prayer for those you care about during your fast. In particular, pray for any unconverted relatives or friends who need Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior; pastors and leaders within your church; fellow believers experiencing trials who need comforting; those sick or wounded within communities and nations as well as missionaries you financially support – a great way to show love while spreading the Gospel! Lastly, praying for missionaries you financially support provides an excellent opportunity to demonstrate this love by helping bring about their missionary work!
Fasting combined with faith can achieve what prayer alone cannot. Jesus taught His disciples this when they brought a man with an incurable demon whom they could not cast out: “This kind shall go out only by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:14-21).
Fasting can bring personal revival that will change both your prayer life and be used by God as an instrument of revival for others. God uses fasting as a supernatural safeguard against His people like Ezra and Esther did, as well as giving favor to leaders so they may fulfill His will (Joel 2:12-13)
Like any discipline, fasting requires careful preparation before beginning. Pray and plan the type of fast you intend to undertake as well as how much time each day will be devoted to prayer and Bible study; this will help keep temptation at bay as physical cravings distract you from God. Before undertaking your fast, remove any strife or gossip which could hinder its effectiveness; spiritual growth cannot be compromised when acting out against Satan by fasting with love.