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From a purely practical standpoint , the combination of prayer and fasting can lead to staggering results . Let ’ s break down the examples given above to see how God worked through each of those instances : God welcomed Israel back into His arms ( Nehemiah 9 ). King Xerxes not only spared Esther when he had every right to kill her for approaching the throne uninvited but also listened to her and helped her rescue Israel from Haman ( Esther 4:16 ). David doesn ’ t materially gain from praying and fasting for his enemies — quite the opposite , actually — but he reveals to the world that he truly is a man after God ’ s own heart ( Psalm 35:12-14 ). God hears Daniel ’ s pleas and sends an angel to prophesy to him ( Daniel 9 ). Anna gets to meet her Savior in person ( Luke 2:36- 38 ). Paul and Barnabas found the men God wanted them to appoint as elders ( Acts 14:23 ). We should be praying and fasting whether or not we get the results we want ; the hardships David faced in his life weren ’ t enough to stop him , so why are our hardships enough to stop us ? Seeing that those results are possible should be more than enough to encourage us to make prayer and fasting part of our lives the same way the heroes of the Bible did .
4 . Power through Prayer The truth about prayer and fasting may make us want to practice these disciplines as often as we can without harming our bodies , but here ’ s the catch : They only work if you ’ re acting in service of God and not your ego or pride . Jesus , Himself , speaks against those who pray and fast for selfish reasons in the Sermon on the Mount : When you pray , do not be like the hypocrites , for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others . Truly I tell you , they have received their reward in full . But when you pray , go into your room , close the door and pray to your Father , who is unseen . Then your
Father , who sees what is done in secret , will reward you . ( Matthew 6:5 ) When you fast , do not look somber as the hypocrites do , for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting . Truly I tell you , they have received their reward in full . 17 But when you fast , put oil on your head and wash your face , 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting , but only to your Father , who is unseen ; and your Father , who sees what is done in secret , will reward you . ( Matthew 6:16-18 ) It ’ s great that you want to pray and fast , but before you do , ask God to check your motives . If you want to pray and fast to feel like a better Christian , stop right there and ask God to purify your intentions . But if you ’ re approaching these practices with love and respect for God , then you are free to approach the altar and do so .
5 . The Challenge You know that the Bible encourages you to pray and fast . You know what the two disciplines can do when used together . You know what God can achieve through you when you incorporate these practices into your life . And you know not to approach them for selfish reasons . There ’ s still one question left unanswered : What comes next ? What comes next is a challenge . I challenge you to approach God about whether your heart is in the right place to practice prayer and fasting . And if God says yes , I challenge you to do it . You ’ ll be amazed at what the Lord can accomplish in your heart and life if you choose to take this path .