2 Reasons Why Fasting And Prayer Doesn’t Work!
I grew up in a very religious Christian based church, over the years my faith in Christianity has grown tremendously. I have always found fasting and prayer to be very rewarding but not as rewarding long-term as I thought it should be. Up until recently I have struggled with the meaning of fasting and prayer, what is its purpose? I realize now that I was looking at fasting and prayer all wrong and now I'm going to share with you 2 reasons why fasting and prayer doesn't work.
First What Does Fasting And Prayer Mean?
By definition fasting is to abstain from all or some kinds of food or drink, especially as a religious observance. And by definition prayer is a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or an object of worship. Also fasting is shown in the bible to be a humble act, by afflicting your soul believing that such humiliation would be pleasing in God's sight (and it often was).
Is Fasting And Prayer Important?
Yes absolutely! The most famous example of fasting and prayer is when Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights. It was extremely important for Jesus to fast In order to complete the work of his father. Jesus fasted so that he could fulfill a work and we are proof that the work was fulfilled. So why do I say fasting and prayer doesn't work?
Reason #1 Food Is Not The Problem
Most people think of food when it comes to fasting but that is only a part of fasting. in fact not eating food has very little to do with what God wants. I have tried almost every fast you can think of, but every fast revolved around me not eating food and honestly it became repetitive and boring. But it wasn't until I stopped looking at fasting as a food denial and I started looking at fasting as a "Me" denial.
Fasting is not about food but it's about trading your wants for what God wants. Watching and playing basketball is something I like to do for me, so monitoring how much sport programs I watch is a fast for me. For you it may be monitoring how much you play video games or monitoring how much you watch reality TV. But whatever it is, that's what fasting is truly about. It's a denial of self, not just a denial of food.
God wants us to be a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2) but if you only sacrifice what you are used to sacrificing then it's no longer a sacrifice! Many of us who grew up in church are used to fasting and that's why it doesn't work anymore, we often find ourselves back in the same situations we were in after the fast is over. There are so many more distractions in the world today then there were back then. So there are more things that we have to become discipline to.
In Ephesians 6:12 it tells us what we are truly fighting against and that we are not fighting against flesh. This tells me that the true fight is in our minds and not in our bellies. This is why I believe Jesus said in Matthew 15:11 it's not what goes into the mouth that defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man. "It is not what goes into the mouth that makes a person unclean. It is what comes out of the mouth that makes a person unclean".
If food is what keeps you from the kingdom of God then by all means continue doing what you do. But if you realize that there are more things that you need to become discipline to, then it's time for you to start looking at fasting as self-denial. When we sacrifice the things that truly keep us away from God then we will finally see change in our lives.
Reason #2 Are You Praying From The Heart?
Have you ever got on your knees and asked God for help? Have you ever felt like he wasn't hearing you? Well I have felt this way too. I have been praying for years! At least I thought I was, I've always made sure I got down on my knees, closed my hands together, closed my eyes, and said "Thank you Jesus", "You know what I need Jesus", and I said these things over and over. But I have learned, if I'm not praying from my heart then I'm not really praying at all.
James 4:3 tells us why we don't receive the things from God that we ask for. Have you ever asked for something good but your intentions were bad? Well most of us do this and we don't even notice that we do it. You may tell God one thing with your mouth and tell him another thing with your heart. Well God is only listening to your heart. This is why it is so important for us to fast "the right way" because fasting helps clean out our hearts.
People often say "speak from the heart" because they know if your words match your heart then they can feel what you're saying as opposed to just hearing what you're saying. The truth is, when you pray you sometimes don't even have to say anything because your heart will say it all and God hears that. If you are focused on how you look and how you sound then you are not even praying from the heart, in fact it takes the Spirit of Jesus to even tell us what to pray for.
God's love for us and his spirit is what draws us to pray, so when you pray it should be more of surrender, more of an offering, and not just requesting things from God. In Matthews 6:9-13 Jesus teaches us how to pray. In this prayer Jesus is more so praising God, worshiping God and surrendering to God.
"After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen".
Jesus is not just asking for something only for himself but he is asking that Gods will be done. I'm not saying that we shouldn't put our personal request before God but before you do that you should ask your self is my heart in the right place? Because if it is, than you will know for certain that God can hear you. God will give you what your heart desires, as long as it's from your heart he will provide (Psalm 37:4).
I hope this has helped you guys in your journey of life. I truly believe that we come from someone much bigger than us and if we are going to survive we most trust him. I will leave you with this scripture:
Proverbs 3:5-8 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones.
© 2015 Cle Smith