Monday, February 15, 2016

Cutting Edge Prayer: The Power of Fasting

I haven't written about Lent this season, but it's on my mind. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter. The Upper Room describes Lent as "a season of the Christian Year where Christians focus on simple living, prayer, and fasting in order to grow closer to God."

Sweets, breads, and meats are foods that are often "given up" during the Lenten season, but this is not a holy weight loss plan. 

Lent is a dedicated time of repentance of sin and restoration of a right relationship with God. It's a time for examining priorities and rearranging our lives to bring honor to God.

It's easy to think of a Lenten fast as merely a time of discipline, but fasting is so much more. My friend, Aletha Hinthorn, wrote about the importance of fasting in her daily email today. It was so well said that I'm including a portion of it today. 

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"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds" (2 Cor. 10:4 NKJV). 

"One of those weapons God gives is fasting combined with fervent prayer. 

Prayer aligned with fasting puts a "cutting edge" to our prayer lives because it indicates an intense desire for God.

The moment we approach Jesus, the first thing he gauges is our desire. Denying ourselves food makes a powerful statement. He knows that if we omit food and pray, we are in earnest." 

"The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much" (James 5:16).
"While fasting, you will be treading on holy ground, accomplishing far more than you know. 

Satan is terrified and will object! He will seek to convince you that nothing is being done. Ignore his lies and continue as you planned. Despite hunger, headaches, the "blahs," more tension at home, extra busyness, difficulty in focusing on prayer, know that your self-denial will be rewarded."

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"When you fast...your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you" (Matt. 6:16, 18)."

Even if we don't participate in the entire forty days of the Lenten season, a period of prayer and fasting will not be in vain. As we pray, let's focus on more than ourselves and our families. Let's spend focused time praying for our nation and the body of Christ. 

Times are hard and likely to grow more difficult. The best preparation begins with prayer and fasting.

#lent #prayerandfasting #fasting #disciple #repentance #JesusChrist