Lent 2016: Day 9

Fasting as Intercession (2 of 3)

by

Today's Text: Matthew 3:16-17, Matthew 4:1-4, Acts 13:1-3, Ezra 8:21-23

Text: Matthew 3:16-17, Matthew 4:1-4, Acts 13:1-3, Ezra 8:21-23

Do you remember the story of the four guys who dropped their paralytic friend through a roof in order to be healed by Jesus? (It’s not a part of our reading for today, but you’ll find their story in Mark 2:1-12.)

This very hopeless man was at Point A, and Jesus—the man they’d heard was healing many—was at Point B. Things would have stayed this way had his friends not interceded. They carried him across town and knocked on the door of the home where they knew Jesus was teaching.

It turns out, they weren’t the only ones with this big idea. The Bible says the home was so full of people eager to hear Jesus’ message, even the doorway was blocked (v. 2). Their intercession mission might have been short-lived had it not been for the persistence of these four friends. They did whatever they could to get their sick friend to Jesus—even if that meant carrying him to the roof of the house and cutting a hole through the branches and dried clay above where Jesus was teaching.

Jesus forgave the man’s sins right away because, no matter how sick we are, our sin is always more profound. He showed the house full of people that day that He has authority to both forgive sins and heal bodies, and he did both for the paralytic whose friends carried him to Jesus.

This is intercession. It’s working and sweating and not stopping—forsaking all worldly sensibilities because people need Jesus.

The Bible is filled with accounts of men and women fasting as a means of earnest intercession. Sometimes they intercede before long journeys, like Ezra did before Israel’s return trip to Jerusalem from exile (Ezra 8:21-23), or as the early church did before sending men out on missionary journeys (Acts 13:1-3). Other times, the intercession was in the midst of trouble, like when Nehemiah heard of the destruction occurring to the place and people of his hometown. He tore his clothes and fasted and prayed on their 800-miles-away behalf, asking the Lord to help them:

“As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven . . . let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants . . . ”
-Nehemiah 1:4-6

Fasting is a tangible way we can declare our utter dependence on the Lord. It can also be a way we lay others at the feet of Jesus.

When I think about the men who pursued Jesus tirelessly on behalf of their friend, and Nehemiah who petitioned and fasted and repented before the Lord on behalf of his people, I remember that however compassionate those men were, God’s compassion is greater still. Because I serve a God of compassion who answers the persistent petitions of His people (Nehemiah 2:1-9) I can approach the throne just as boldly, just as reverently, and with the same persistence, and be heard by the Almighty God upon whom no prayers are wasted.

We fast because our need is great and our God is greater. We fast in reverence of this truth. In fasting, we are saying to God, “Our spiritual need is greater than our physical discomfort and the supply for both comes from You alone.”

We fast because He listens.

Let’s lower the physical and spiritual needs of others on a mat before Jesus, trusting and remembering that He has all authority in heaven and on earth, to heal our bodies and forgive our sins.

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  • Sandy's

    this section on fasting is perfect. fasting is a lost act of worship I believe but it can be such a powerful way to commune with God. thank you for focusing on fasting a couple days.

  • Caroline

    I feel as thought fasting for our great country America in this time would be something that I would be interested in. I am scared for it is headed, but I must remember he God I serve.

  • Marilyn

    Giving thanks to our Lord with each petition gives me renewed hope. I know that He has the answers and I might not ever see the result of my petition but my gratefulness and praise to Him bring me peace.

  • I’ve never fasted for someone. But what an honor that must be.

  • Kasey Summers

    “Fasting is a tangible way we can declare our utter dependence on the Lord. It can also be a way we lay others at the feet of Jesus. “

  • Ann Marie

    Fasting is a powerful tool that can help us hear God more clearly and for God to listen to our requests. When combined with prayer, I have found it to lead to amazing results. But I admit, this is not something that I normally turn to. I have to consciously remember what the real “purpose” of the fast is because there is the danger of falling into using it for our own selfish needs.

  • This week, I learned how my prayers and fasting can be used to intercede on someone else’s behalf! I’ve been praying so hard for my brother and sister in law. For their marriage, careers, my nephew and soon to be niece or nephew……pretty much been interceding on their behalf. Don’t want to go in detail but I’ve seen God’s faithfulness cover my brother’s family so much in the past 8 months or so. Recently a position opened up at my job and I knew that my sis in law would be perfect for. She applied and thankfully was interviewed twice. However, I suspected that she wasn’t who that chose to offer the job too. Still praying and believing in God’s faithfulness, I was hoping for a miracle (literally). Because I knew that she had the desire to leave her current job and with a toddler and baby on the way, the hour or more commute to and from work is/will be taxing on her. Well to make a long story short, she was offered a job, not a my organization, but at another that is only a 10 minute drive from home. More money, better opportunity and way shorter commute. Pretty much everything that I had been praying for, God provided in the way that he wanted to provide it! And with my job, I was concerned that they wouldn’t hire because of her pregnancy or give her enough family leave. Well at the organization she’ll be working at, they’re giving her short term disability so that she doesn’t have to worry about taking the time she needed after giving birth! God is so faithful and he even blew my mind with how faithful he has been to my brother and his family! Intercessory prayer allows you to go into prayer on behalf of someone else and allow God’s faithfulness to show up and show out!

  • Kelley Day

    I definitely really appreciate these devos ~ sooo thankful that my husband (who does “hereadstruth”) told me about them. So with that being said, honestly, as a missionary, mother to 2 small children, and busy in everything from church planting to house work, I feel really overwhelmed and challenged by this. This could just as easily read architect or teacher, mother to 1 or 2 or 3 etc. children, and full-time worker (both at the job and in the home), etc…but Mom’s, those of you who get what I’m saying, I need some advice. I need to know how this practically plays out in your life. Regardless of what the fast is from, how do you get that QT with God in those moments? How do you get that quality prayer/conversation time with the Lord? When there is so much happening all day every day, it’s not so much the “fasting” part that’s hard but the sweet fellowship & growing closer to God that comes in those moments of being with Him and in His Word. That’s my struggle. And I welcome any advice sisters~

    • Staci Brock

      Sometimes, it helps to remember, the season he has planted us in…and He knows your heart. That said, QT doesn’t HAVE to be a chair, coffee and no noise, while that is welcomed!!! It is in everything we do, as we drive, do dishes, etc. etc. For me, now that my children are a bit older, that frees up some “time”, but really…it is about taking each day, not MY to do list, but His…God what do YOU want me to do today…and that is the only thing I work on. Thus, I have all the time in the world…even in ministry…yes it’s busy…but how much do WE really put on ourselves as must do…instead of allowing God, and Him alone to direct that? Course, I am nearing 50 this year, its taken me that long to figure that one out…and still working on it every day

    • Mandy

      Finding a “space” (both physical and temporal) for QT is easier said than done, my friend! I’m a young mama myself, and here are some practical things that have worked for me… Getting up in the morning before my children has seemed to most consistently work best when it comes to finding time for a quiet space. This doesn’t always happen — kids wake early unexpectedly… a lot ;) But the mornings that I plan for it (read: make sure I go to bed on time the night before), and it does happen, oh Joy! Also, I read Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts this past fall, and her meditation on the small daily graces has really opened my eyes to try and see the same in my own home and family and life. That has helped me tremendously to see God working in all things, all day long in the mess of parenting small boys in a messy home and a full life. Praying that the Lord would grant you the eyes to see His every-single-moment love for you!

    • kat main

      Oh Kelly! How cool of God that the this site and Wisdom through it is available to young moms and that you are feasting on it! I became a Christ lover-follower 2.5 kids and 10 years into my marriage and asked the same thing and the Holy Spirit told me to ask Him to wake me up, and to wake me up with a Word. He has been SO faithful to answer that God-prompted desire for over 15 years now! In fact, music is how God reaches the depths of my hearts and over 75% of mornings I awaken with a “song for the day.” So, I’d encourage you to ask God to direct your awakenings and to sharpen your spiritual ear to hear Him and His Word as the very first moment of consciousness to your day. Delight in his “inside out and upside down, better-than-you-can-ever-imagine ways” (Isa. 55:8) & He will give you the desire of your heart (Psalm 37:4). :)

    • Kelley

      Thanks sooo much ladies :) Here goes to prayerfully giving it a go!

  • Megan Mowry

    Really needed this one today.

    • Hannah Zygmunt

      I am right there with you sister. Our need is great but our God is greater. I am amazed at how He speaks to us through His Word and the Body of Christ.

  • Mattea Wilcox

    I love this devotional, I’m 15 and my small group is doing this together! So far I’ve been loving it! Right now I’m fasting From ALL social media, which is a big thing in our culture.. When ever I feel like scrolling
    through Instagram or Twitter, I decide instead to either pray or to read my bible and get deeper into his word. I already feel so much closer to God and this devotional is really helping me through this whole thing!

    • Kathryn

      Good for you! Keep it up and I pray your efforts will encourage other people to do the same.

    • Emily

      I’m also fasting from social media and the Lord has been faithful even in the first week. I’m able to quiet my mind to hear Him and not just fill the time with mindless scrolling. I am encouraged by your testimony!

    • Kaylee

      I’m with you, Mattea! I’ve decided to give up social media too (which is really hard these days). This really encourages me to spend more time in the Word during the time I could be on social media. Keep it up! You are such a wise girl.

    • Meliss

      Mattea- that is so wonderful! Excited for the things the Lord will teach you in this time.

  • Maddy Schiek

    This is a great post that everyone should read! So happy I found this website that I can come to and be in God’s word. Thanks!

  • beckslehman

    “We fast because our need is great but our God is greater.” Such an important truth and a timely reminder. Thanks! greater

  • Megan Gilley

    I have always been fascinated with fasting in the bible and wondered how often people today do it as a means of answering a deep longing. Really loved today’s post! Has definitely got me thinking about how fervently I pray for others.

  • Churchmouse

    Just wanted to report that whatever was causing SRT to spontaneously stop on my Android – all is well now! Thank you, SRT, for caring enough to contact me. Whatever you did, worked! You all are the best!

  • After reading today’s passages and devotionals I decided to visit one of my favorite Christian websites to see what Biblical insight they offered into the discipline of fasting. While there, I came across a video where John Piper expresses his heart for his book “A Hunger for God”. In that video he said, “Fasting is the exclamation point at the end of the prayer”. He explained that fasting is faithfully enduring our physical discomfort as a means of worshipping God physically with our bodies. To me, this meant that fasting is a means of demonstrating not only to God, but to ourselves, our sincerity and our utter dependence on Him. The pangs of hunger serving as our reminder to “turn back” to God and realize once again that we are only in this world, we are not of it. We fast in this life because we believe in the life to come.

  • Is there a way I can find a someone on here doing these studies who can hold me accountable or even 2 or more people. Just need that push because I can never find the time do sit down, dig in, read the verses and really understand it and get something out of it. I would love to chat with some of your or one person a few times a week over Google Hangouts just to talk about what we have read so far through out the week. Also I need help with the Weekly Truth’s (memorizing the verses together) making sure I actually understand them and know them by heart. If there is someone other people that can reach out to me about this I would really appreciate it.

  • “We fast because our need is great and our God is greater”. I needed this today. Too many times I focus on my great need, not my great God. My husband and I are in the process of adopting a little girl from east Asia and, right now I am forgetting that God is the ultimate provider. That huge looming bill… He’s got it covered. That uncertain timeline… He’s got it. Our girl… He’s got her. My need for God is great. I’m so thankful that, through Jesus, I can approach His throne with confidence today.

    • Amber

      The same thing stood out to me today, Stacy. It’s a truth that in this particular season I’m in, I have to keep reminding myself of it. No matter how hard life seems or how easy it may be to forget. “We fast because our need is great and our God is greater.” Wow. What a truth. Praying for you today (and for your sweet little girl)!

    • Tiari

      Amen, Stacy!!

  • Can someone one explain me how should I fast. Should I go without food all day

    • Laci

      Fasting is taking a break from something in your life as a reminder to think of what Christ did for us on the cross. By recognizing his grace on the cross, we then repent and draw closer to him. So food is often used to fast because we physically need it and consume it on a daily basis. When someone feels the hunger they can use that as a reminder to draw close to God and pray. Myself, I chose to remove something in my life that was taking the place of God- Netflix. Sounds silly, but I struggle with anxiety and when I feel anxious I tend to veg out on Netflix in an attempt to get my mind off of my worries and fear. Now when I feel anxious and I want to go to Netflix, I instead go to God and let him remind me that He is in control. Lent is the 40 days before Jesus went to Jerusalem and a week later he died on the cross. So to prepare our hearts for Easter, his resurrection, we fast for that time by withdrawing something noticeable from our lives. It’s a form of worship ultimately. When fasting “the rest of time” (don’t know how else to phrase that), you can choose to fast for a whole day, a meal (if you’re fasting from food), a week, month, whatever you feel is appropriate for the situation you’re seeking counsel on and preparation for. It is between you and God. I know I definitely need to work on fasting in other seasons of my life besides Lent! Hope that answers your questions and if someone has anything else to add, by all means go for it! :)

    • Alyssa

      Laci had a great explanation, but in case you were interested in some practical advice for fasting specifically from food, I found this article from DesiringGod.com to be very helpful. :)
      http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/fasting-for-beginners

  • “Because I serve a God of compassion who answers the persistent petitions of His people (Nehemiah 2:1-9) I can approach the throne just as boldly, just as reverently, and with the same persistence, and be heard by the Almighty God upon whom no prayers are wasted.” These words Raechel wrote really struck me this morning.
    Feeling I’ve been in an extended waiting season with God, I feel that my own bold and persistent prayers have just floated away into the clouds. According to my time table, I’m feeling at my wits end… and maybe this is where I need to be. I *know* God’s timing is perfect, but I guess in a season of staying, it feels endless and never approaching and I just don’t know what to do. I pray and pray that He will show me the way, but … silence… So much so, that as I was journaling these words I found myself writing, “I serve a God of compassion who HEARS the persistent petitions of His people…” I could not muster up the conviction in my own heart to write that He ANSWERS, as Raechel wrote.
    Ladies, my heart desperately wants to hope above all hope. But can I really, truly believe that He always answers my petitions? I just don’t know. And that doubt scares me a little bit. Choosing to meditate on His compassion toward His people today with the hopes that He can set my weary heart right.

    If anyone has any personal stories of hope or encouragement to share, I would be so very grateful to read them. :) Or any prayers or heart meditations that have helped you in your own “in-between” season.
    Love and hugs to all you ladies!

    • Beverly

      Sorry – my heart and thoughts are a bit off topic from today’s focus…

      • Vanice

        Please remember that this season you are in, no matter how
        extended, He has a purpose for it and as you stay focused on Him thoroughly leaning on Him you will look back on this experience and see how perfect His will is. I am praying for you

    • Laura

      If you are not seeing evidence that God is hearing and answering your prayers, I think the first thing to do is to change the focus of your prayers. In my case, I had to start praying for God to soften and change MY heart and align my desires with his. I recently experienced miraculous healing directly after changing my prayer focus. It went from “God please take this pain away”, to “God, please give me what you know I need”. I think more than ending my pain, the miracle was directly seeing evidence that God listens to me after years of just reaching out in faith and belief.

      • Stacia J

        This is so good.

      • Beverly

        Wow, Laura, thank you for sharing your story. There is great truth and encouragement in reading it. I do need to change my prayer focus, as well as, discipline myself not to give up when I don’t see what I think I need. He knows better. Grateful for your words.

    • Kathy

      I have changed the focus of my praying from “God, make this better” to “God, make this count”. I read about this on a blog. It has totally changed the way I think about my prayer time. I have a friend who has just been diagnosed with cancer. My prayer has been “God, don’t just make this better, but make this count. Use this time of suffering to usher in Your kingdom and Your will.”
      I don’t know if this will help you, but it has done miraculous things with my prayer life.
      Praying for you that God will make this time of waiting count for His kingdom.

      • Beverly

        There is such faith and confidence in that kind of changed prayer perspective. A great reminder to pray for God to use my life – even this season – for His glory and not my own. Thank you for sharing and praying, Kathy.

    • Melanie

      Girl, I have been in your position. Waiting and feeling like God isn’t hearing you is so hard. I think one of the most freeing things that I have learned in my walk with Jesus is that it’s okay to express what I’m feeling to Him..even if it’s not what I think He wants to hear. You can let God know you’re frustrated, you can let Him know you’re disappointed. Don’t feel like you have to have perfect patience every day! Just keep turning your heart to Him with what you’re going through. You are precious, sister, and you are loved. Keep going <3

      • Beverly

        Melanie, thank you! Yes! To truly being honest and open, sharing my feelings with Him. It may be messy, but it’s a relationship with Him that matters most. I am so grateful for your encouragement and affirmations. “Keep going” is my mantra during this season. :)

    • andrea

      Hey Beverly, I had also been in a season for a couple of years of not feeling like God was answering me & I really didn’t feel I could hear him either. I had a deep (and looking back I see an idolatrous) desire for a certain accomplishment, and a constant up & down struggle with anxiety, depression, and discouragement. In those times of struggle I would run to God and as soon as I felt back on my feet emotionally, I would be confident in myself & run to the accomplishing of my goal(s). I didn’t see it then but I used God as a means to my own end rather than an end in Himself. Just last week, I feel something finally changed. I felt in spirit God saying to me “daughter, this is who you are on your own. this is what your flesh defaults to.. you can’t do this without me. I can carry this for you. The self pity, the depression, the anxiety and fear.. If you give it to me, knowing you can’t do this without me, I can help you. Ill never leave you.” and just this morning as I’m reading I get an image in my mind of a parent who allows necessary pain/discomfort, such as a shot, medication, a consequence to disobedience, or just simple disciplines for the ultimate well being of their child.. and I image God doing the same, saying “This will be hard and painful, its not what you’re praying for and you wont like it.. but trust me, I know what you NEED.”
      This realization has been worth it all. Jesus is all I NEED. As much as my pride loves to feel independent and capable, there is nothing sweeter than His presence. I am so thankful we serve a Father who doesn’t just give us what we want but He loves us enough to give us what we NEED, no matter how hard. <3

      • Beverly

        Oh Andrea, I can relate to so much of what you write. Thank you for sharing your personal story and walk with God. Your words are a blessing and an encouragement to trust Him through my own season. A beautiful reminder that we have a gracious God who meets us in all our mess, and patiently shows us His way. Praying He share words of truth over my own heart. I love how you say, “He loves us enough to give us what we NEED, no matter how hard.” Such grace and love! Grateful for your words, and I’ll be praying over your journey as I process my own.

    • Carly B

      Beverly, I so relate to how you’re feeling. In my case it was prayers for emotional healing and I felt that the praying and the waiting was going on forever- that for so long I was really seeking God and nothing was changing.
      I did get my answer eventually and it was definitely worth the wait. I don’t know why the waiting had to go on for so long but, looking back, I can see that I grew closer to God in that time as I was seeking him and it has helped me in other situations since then. I’ve written some more about it in a blog post here: https://lifeinthespaciousplace.wordpress.com/2015/10/11/waiting-for-the-happy-ending/
      Praying for you today for hope and patience as you wait.

      • Beverly

        Carly, thank you for your thoughts and prayers today. I’m heading to your blog post now! By the way, I love the name of your blog. :)

    • Angela

      In the midst of marital problems that were making me feel hopeless, I started a 40-day fast from alcohol and began earnestly praying for my heart to change toward my husband. During those 40 days, my marriage went from bad to worse. I almost gave up the fast several times because it didn’t seem to be doing any good… but I hung in there. At the end of the 40 days, I was in the exact same place maritally-speaking, but in a worse place spiritually. I ended up “celebrating” the end of my fast in a terrible way and got very drunk. The next day, I was really beating myself up and feeling like a total failure as a wife, a mother, and a Christ-follower. My husband – who did not know anything about my fast or my prayers and is not an incredibly spiritual person – showed me such kindness and forgiveness that my heart for him immediately melted. That day was a game-changer for us. Walls that had been built up over the years crumbled in an instant. That was over two years ago and my marriage is stronger today than it has ever been. My take-away from it all was that God’s plan was not revealed to me in the way I expected. I did not think He was answering my prayers… but He was. And although my mind knew that His mercy, grace, and healing were not controlled or triggered by anything I did, that realization really struck my heart and changed me. Also, the fact that my failures and sins did not cancel out His amazing healing plan for us left me so humbled and very grateful. Praying for you, Beverly!

      • Beverly

        Oh, Angela, thank you for sharing your story of waiting, and of redemption. I am so blessed by your honesty and realness. Thinking back on my own experiences, I can remember how God has brought good out of what appeared to me as hopeless. It is so true what you say, “His mercy, grace, and healing were not controlled or triggered by anything I did.” He loves us still. Through it all. And patiently waits for our hearts to turn to Him again and again. Thank you for this reminder of who God is, which is not dependent on me or on my circumstances.
        In a season that often has me feeling guilt or ‘behind,’ your words encouraged me to keep trusting Him. I am hopeful that He also has an amazing plan for me despite my own perceived failures and sins during this wait. I look forward to looking back on this time and being so in awe of God and His perfect plan. I, too, want to be so very humbled and full of gratitude.
        I appreciate your encouraging words and your generous prayers, Angela.

  • Loved what was shared today! Does anyone have any practical tips as to how you’ve incorporated fasting regularly into your day to day life? I’d love to know what you ladies are doing :) thanks!

  • Caroline

    Thank you Lord that when we plead with you, you grant us our requests!

    http://www.in-due-time.com

  • In 2 Chronicles 20, Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, when the Moabites, Ammonites, and Meunites came against the people of Judah and Jerusalem, was afraid. But in his fear he “resolved to seek the Lord. Then he proclaimed a fast for all Judah, who gathered to seek the Lord. They even came from all the cities of Judah to seek Him,” (2 Chronicles 20: 3-4). In his prayer he acknowledges power and might are in God’s hands alone and he and his people are powerless in this impending battle. In the midst of fasting and praying, ” the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel (son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite from Asaph’s descendants), and he said, “Listen carefully, all Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat. This is what the Lord says: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast number, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” (2 Chronicles 20:14-15) The battle is the Lord’s! In verse 17 God tells them they do not even have to fight the battle. Because it is God that did, and does, the fighting. We fast and seek Him and He fights the battle. I am so encouraged by these verses when I desire a specific outcome and dread the battle, but if I ‘declare my utter dependence on the Lord, and lay my petitions at the feet of Jesus”, in fasting and prayer, then the battle is the Lord’s!

  • Shauna Pilgreen

    As an intercession Joanna, I am holding you up before the King of all kings who can and will and is fighting for you, for your mom.
    Up before

  • churchmouse

    “Fasting is a tangible way we can declare our utter dependence on the Lord.” YES! Fasting is not my effort to ‘encourage(!)’ God to bring about my desired result. Fasting is acknowledging God’s sovereignty over my circumstance. It is my laying it all down, come what may, “Thy will be done.” Fasting focuses me on depending on Him and Him alone. It removes distractions and gives me laser-like attention on God’s care, compassion and faithfulness. With fasting, I can say “Yes, Lord. I trust You. You’ve got this covered. Thank You.”

  • Sisters, I plead for your prayers this morning. My mom, 3 year yr cancer survivor, is having new symptoms and has to have an MRI today. Satan is attacking our minds something fierce. I am holding onto the Word with all my heart but a part of me is so tired of fighting what seems like one battle after another. I pray that God give me the strength to cast out this doubt! I cannot fear and pray at the same time. Lord forgive me. I arm myself with your Truth but at times when I am tested I continuously waver. Is this normal? I feel like I am losing.

    • churchmouse

      Oh Joanna, I’m so sorry to hear about your mom. I will certainly pray for God’s presence to overpower you all and that you can rest in His love. He sees you in the struggle and He cares. He is walking beside you and will not let you go. The strength you seek, He will provide. Your anxiousness only reveals your great love for your mother . Whatever the results of the MRI, God does not waver in His ability to heal. I pray that that cancer has not returned.

    • Holly

      Joanna, I have a friend going in for tests today as she was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. I’ll keep you and your family in my prayers as I prayer for her also.

    • Laura

      Am praying for your mother and you, praying for God’s strength and healing love to surround you and reassure you.

    • Mswingate

      Praying for peace and quiet heart to hear a still, small voice

    • Mamajonk

      Praying for healing, strength and comfort for you and your family. My family is traveling on this road as well and I can relate to your concerns. Take comfort knowing our Savior walks with you. Praying He holds you all tightly today and the days to come.

      • Jean

        I am praying for your mom AND for you, friend!

        • Simo

          Robin SimpkinsI would like to give thanks to my co-worker who indurtoced me to this 40-day surrender fast. Although I wasn’t as obedient as I had hope I plan to move forward with cycle 1 and pray that my relationship will grow stronger in the Lord and that I will grow into the woman of God that he created me to be. My hope is that I will learn how to dream again and realize the mighty God that I serve without any fear. May God continue to bless everyone who participated in this 40-day Surrender Fast.

    • Kellie

      Praying for you, Joanna. ❤️

    • April

      Praying for you :) totally normal to be anxious. He will give you peace

    • Carly B

      So sorry to hear this, Joanna. I think it is completely normal to feel anxious in this kind of situation. Praying for you and your mom today, that you know God’s peace, and for your mom’s health.

  • LesleyRyden

    I would love for you to read what I am fasting from in my post “Laying it down for lent” as well as supporting a SRT sister in her brave step of obedience! Y’all encourage me so much every morning and are one of the reasons I stepped out on this new journey! So much love to you all!
    https://awordthatmatters.wordpress.com/

    • Kathy

      Lesley, I just read your blog and wanted to thank you for writing it. You are so right and I am joining you in laying down complaining for Lent. My blessings are blessings and I have treated them as burdens. Thank you for listening to our Lord and sharing these words. Praying for you, sister!

    • Meg Wilson

      Lesley – I read your post and its a great encouragement and reminder! I love your heart in wanting to lay everything down before God and ask Him to help you to approach your day with grace and patience rather than to complain about things that, with a change in perspective, can easily be seen as blessings rather burdens. Thanks for sharing!

    • Terri

      I keep thinking that I need to give up something edible, for my fast, but I am going to join you in abstaining from complaining. Thanks for sharing.

      • Terri

        Also, the idea that it isn’t just the audible complaining, it’s how those negative thoughts in are getting in the way of my relationship with Him. Great point LesleyRyden.

    • Mamajonk

      Loved your blog and could see myself in your words (ouch)! Thank you Jesus for your ever abundant grace. Blessings on you and yours.

    • Melinda

      Lesley, I just read your blog also, and LOVED it! You have a gift and you made my day!

  • Molly Jenkins

    “Things would have stayed this way had his friends not interceded.” Yes! Too often we forget that God actively works through us. We have a duty to intercede for others, and for playing an active role in the healing and aid of others in the service of God.

  • Churchmouse

    Anyone else having trouble with this frequently spontaneously stopping? I’ve rebooted but.. Keeps crashing. Ugh

  • Curious to see what everyone is fasting from! :)

  • As I’ve struggled with my 19 yr old daughter, I’ve continually visualized laying her at the foot of the cross. When I feel despair, it helps me to remember who is really in charge of the situation…not me, not my daughter, God ‘s got this. As a single mom, I often cry out to God that this is his child too! Help! I’ve never considered fasting as a way to do that. Today’s reading has me thinking about it though.

    • Kate Z.

      I was reading this devotional thinking of my 19 year old brother who is choosing to live a very destructive lifestyle. Your reminder to lay him at the foot of the cross was just the reminder I needed. Sometimes it seems like hope is running out on him, but our God is stronger than all the nastiness and destruction that is swirling around him.

    • Molly Jenkins

      Nancy, I am not much older than 19 myself. It is a hard age; it was probably one of the saddest and most frightening years of my life, and the year I was furthest from God. I was doubtful, stubborn, angry, and felt so isolated! God drew me to Him in spite of it, and my relationship with Him now is stronger for it. I will pray for your daughter as I do for my own younger sister. Have patience with her and God willing, she will be drawn to the love of God of her own desire and reckoning.

  • I seem to pretty much always be either nursing or pregnant at this season of my life. I am challenged to think what I can fast from instead as I know with the demands of nourishing life with my body that fasting from food isn’t possible.

    • Holly

      I don’t know you but am in this season. Your fasting does not have to be food related. You are already fasting from “other things” by being in His word in lieu of reading other things. Little things in this season friend. God know you and knows that you are already empty physically and is ready to pour into you. May you be filled with His word and renewed by any moments you have with Him today.

      Ps 84 is such an encouragement to me in this season of mothering young ones.
      You are Loved!

    • Stacee

      Hi J, I, too, am nursing my 7-month old and I have given up sweets. I still have sugars in fruits but I try to not have any added sugar. I have given up sweets because I am super addicted and I need to reply on God to help me.

    • Kelsi

      I’m not fasting from anything necessarily, but I am forcing myself to get up a few minutes earlier every single day and spend time in the Word. Like Holly said, I’m already fasting from other things by intentionally spending time in Him. I find my dad is so much better when I’ve began my day in peaceful reflection, study, and prayer!

    • Joanna

      J, what keeps you from spending time in the Lord? I have fasted from social media and it helped me become more present. Just an example :)

    • Alec

      I am in this season as well (& have been for the past three years now :) ) and I am so thankful for all the responses. They have really encouraged me this morning!

  • Thank you for this series. It is helping me to understand repentance and fasting a lot more. It also raises questions though. I have a friend who suffers severe mental illness and I have been praying for years and feel like I’ve tried everything. I had never thought about fasting before though and I feel it is something I should do to acknowledge dependence on God and that his intervention is needed to sort things out. I am wary though of thinking that this will be the answer- that because I fast God will heal her. I don’t think fasting can be used to force God into a particular outcome. I don’t think that is what anyone here is saying either but I think I’m struggling with the idea that God would heal her because I fast- that it depends on what I do, that he would have healed her earlier if I’d fasted earlier… I don’t really think that but I’m a bit confused about the idea of fasting for a particular outcome.
    I hope that makes some kind of sense. If anyone has any wisdom to offer I’d love to hear it.

    • Heather (MNmomma)

      This has been on my mind too……anxious for wisdom…

    • Charity

      I would just offer two simple thoughts. You can trust God. If you decide to fast, trust God for the answer He already desires to bring. This is about relationship, so I believe that as you fast and pray some of your questions will be answered in renewed relationship with Christ. Also, trust that God led you to the discipline of fasting in His timing, perhaps at the perfect time you were ready to explore this avenue of intercession. Blessings to you as you lift up your friend to the Father.

    • Laura

      Great questions, Carly, and ones that I had been wondering about, too. I get very uncomfortable with the idea that God decides to move and act because of our actions…it doesn’t really seem fair/right, and I think the notion is much more congruent with a theology of salvation by works (i.e. we are saved based on our own actions) rather than grace. Curious to hear others’ thoughts.

    • Anja

      Good thoughts Carly. I believe that all of the “spiritual disciplines” can be “abused” this way – by using them as a bargaining chip or a manipulation to get God to do what we want him to do.  They key isn’t to throw out these “means of grace” but rather allow them to be tools that sharpen and refine us … Not manipulate God. Fasting was something my faith community did a lot when I first became a Christian – and it was never about getting God to do what I wanted … But rather, showing my utter dependence on Him … And, think this is where most people stumble, taking the time otherwise devoted to food prep and eating and spending that time with the Lord.  I do NOT believe in a salvation by works.  There is nothing that can ever supersede the work that Christ did on the cross. In Him, it’s all finished!  The thought that helped me with this:  all relationships do take work – time, energy, attention, sacrifice – we know this to be true in our human relationships.  Why then do we shy away from the “work” that goes into a vibrant relationship with our Savior?   (All this from someone who hates to fast … But have seen the benefits … Though imperfectly :-)

    • Marcie

      Carly, these are good questions to ask. The ways in which God works is not like a “choose your own adventure” book where if I do this (turn to page…) then this will happen. I would echo Charity’s response. Trust God and ask the Holy Spirit for guidance in how to proceed regarding fasting. Pray about it. Deciding to fast and from what you should fast should be rooted in loving God with all heart, mind, soul, and strength and at the prompting and heart felt conviction of the Holy Spirit. It’s not something we do because we should or because others tell us we should. We do it because God lays it on our heart and we respond by being obedient. And because we are obedient, blessings will come from it. Those blessings may or may not come in the form that we had hoped for. I hope this helps in some way. I will be praying for you, Carly.

    • Kimberly

      Carly, if you feel the Lord is calling you to fast for your friend, I would encourage you to do it. He is calling you to a closer relationship with Himself. It’s about you and Him as much as it is about your friend. He has things He wants to say to you. Fasting helps us put aside other things and hear more clearly what he’s speaking to our hearts. Also, read 2 Samuel 12:16-23 for an example of fasting for a particular outcome where David fasted for the life of his son. God answered, just not the way David hoped. But the key is David’s response. He arose from his fast and worshipped. He acknowledged that God is sovereign and he, David, would continue to trust Him and worship Him even when God chose not to do what David was fasting for. There will always be the tension between God’s sovereignty and our prayers. But the Bible tells us to fast and pray and so we do. My experience has been that God meets me in my seeking of Him in this way. Sometimes His answer is yes, sometimes no, sometimes not yet. Bring your love for your friend and earnest hope for her healing before the Lord with prayer and fasting and trust Him with the outcome. Blessings to you Carly. Your friend is truly blessed to have someone who cares for her so deeply as to pray for her as you have for these many years. The enemy would discourage you from continuing to seek God on her behalf. But James 5:16 tells us that “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” You are righteous in Christ. Pray on. Much is happening!

    • Carly B

      Thank you all for your responses. That helps a lot.

    • Tamara B

      Giving the study of the past days, I’d say we don’t have to fast for an outcome, but for God’s glory. Spending more time with Him, letting Him know that He is more important then food. Aknowledging that He knows what your friend is going trough, and let Him know that you want her to be healed, and that His intervention is needed. But indeed, that doesn’t means He should give you the outcome you want.. Probably not what we want either.. For His ways are higher (better) than ours.

  • This is beautiful. Asking God to show me where He wants me to go deeper still into the waters with Him…believing Him for what lies ahead, not trusting in my own strength.

  • With moving so much over the years, my dearest friends are at a distance. It has been a huge blessing when I receive that phone call from one of them asking me if I would join them in a fast and God has delivered some great words in those unified fasts. Every time I have fasted it has become absolutely necessary to learn to take my eyes off of me, off of my discomfort and focus on Christ … my absolute bread and water. It has strengthened my connection with Christ and allowed me to hear and feel things I otherwise wouldn’t have. It shows our deep dependence on God and allows us to frame our prayers in a humble way, “lowering the physical and spiritual needs of others on a mat before Jesus…”

    • Heather (MNmomma)

      I have never truly fasted…..I’ve given up TV, given up wine, given up social media, etc……but never truly fasted. What is a typical time frame? Are you able to have water still or no food or drink for X number of days?

      • Molly Jenkins

        Different people do it differently! I’m Catholic and typically we fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Some people fast every Friday during lent, but I think most try to just abstain from eating meat. When we fast, we are allowed to drink fluids, and typically the fast goes on for just one whole day. Some people take a single very small meal if they have to be on their feet a lot and are prone to fainting i.e. The fast would dramatically interfere with their ability to function. I hope this helps!

      • DebbieinAZ

        There are different types of fasts. I believe Jesus’ 40 day fast was from food and water (not sure why I do), and Daniel fasted from all foods except vegetables and water. The idea is to give up something and spend the time in prayer. It can be as short as one meal or as long as needed. It can be one food or drink, specific things that you may have a problem with, or all. Your best bet is to spend some time in prayer and ask the Lord to show you His desire for your sacrifice. Also, he desires you and your time with Him more than sacrifice. Hope this was helpful.

  • Thank you for the encouragement. I have been praying for my husband who has some major health problems. God has already shown been good and gracious to him by healing him of so much already. I get discouraged though and sometimes feel like I’m in that dry desert and all I need is a cool sip of water to keep going. That is what you have been to me today. I’m so grateful my friend told me about this study.

    • Churchmouse

      Praying for your husband today. And that you might continue to be refreshed here

  • I love this and it hit me over the head! I just read this article last night: https://news.usc.edu/63669/fasting-triggers-stem-cell-regeneration-of-damaged-old-immune-system/
    And I as I read it I thought about how much it talks about fasting in the bible and how God created our bodies in such an amazing way. Even science shows us how amazing our bodies are and I just love reading stuff like this and like that around the same time because it reminds me of how HUGE God is. I would also say that this is maybe an echo to me that I should be fasting and praying more. My mom and grandma have been an amazing example of the power of prayer.

  • Well, this hit me like a load of bricks. My daughter is going today to interview for a job. She is an elementary school teacher and she will be interviewing at the school she attended growing up. It has been her dream since she decided to teach to teach at this school. From the first word of this devotion this morning I have felt such a conviction that I should fast and pray for her today. For some reason fasting has always scared me – can’t even begin to explain the why of that. But, right this moment I am in awe of God, of who He is, of the way that He is so intimately involved in my life. Me, personally. So today, I will fast and pray for my child knowing that I am utterly dependent on the Lord. My need is great and He is greater. I will fast because He listens. I will fast knowing that God will be glorified no matter the outcome.
    Have a blessed day!

    • Lindsey

      Kathy, this made me smile. What a mom wouldn’t do for her child! Praying for your daughter as she interviews today and for you, her sweet,devoted Mom.

    • Tina

      Amen…
      Kath, holding you and yours up in prayer tooo…hugs and Love..xx

  • I fasted for the first time to begin the new year and
    I must say that it took my relationship with God to a whole new level. Since I’ve come off the fast, it just hasn’t been the same and I see myself less focused on
    Him. I plan to fast again soon in order to better fix my eyes on the only one deserving of my gaze. Thank you for sharing this to remind me of the importance of fasting as a spiritual discipline :)

  • Wow. That didn’t come out good. I always thought of fasting as giving something up that I enjoy. Not so much to ask God to intercede for others. How selfish I’ve been. Thank you

    • Patti

      Me too, Tricia. Fasting has really never been on my radar. I’ve read about it in the Bible, but actually doing it? Fasting has always seemed so focused on the “giving up” part. I’ve never even heard of someone mentioning the “gazing part”. I am learning much from this study. I’m learning that “fasting is fixing your eyes on the only one deserving of your gaze. ” Amazing.

  • I never really thought fasting like this. Always just giving up something I enjoy. givinuosomething

  • Tamara LaCroix

    Please pray that my devotion time with God is not skipped in the morning. I am bringing my son Dimitri at your feet Lord for you Holy Spirit to quicken his heart ant unblind him to who you are my God

    • Clara McBride

      I’m praying for your son this morning and pray you will be so drawn to the Lord each morning that you can’t stand to leave the house without your devotional time. As one of my dear friends I pray your devotional time will sing as necessary as brushing your teeth before you start your day.

  • Tamara LaCroix

    Please pray that my devotion time to God is not skiskiped in the mor

  • What truth you have spoken today Rachael, Thank you…

    I began this year, all guns blazing, into a 21 day Daniel fast….my list was long…there was all sorts going on with friends, family…I wanted to be an intercession for them, as in my own strength I could not help in the way they needed…I wrote my list in my journal ..with what I believed needed to be prayed for…and I began my fasting…I have never spoken to God as much as I did in those 21 days…I have never felt as close as I did in those 21 days…I have never known such peace in those 21 days…it was hard, don’t get me wrong, but with each step I knew God was in control…totally and utterly…to the point of protecting me, providing for me, strengthening me, and I was not even fasting for any of what I believed were my needs!!! It was on behalf of others that I love and wanted to see break- through for…

    Fasting is a tangible way we can declare our utter dependence on the Lord..
    .Totally…Totally. Totally. I ‘ve had to depend on God…. It was on January 1st, after I had began my fast, I got the message of my friends sons passing, and began their journey with them…I for sure could not have and still am journeying with them, but for the Grace, kindness and love of God…All Glory to God …
    It can also be a way we lay others at the feet of Jesus….I agree…what could we do that could better the Lord God Almighty…as you said Rachael, our need is great…but praise God ….He is Greater…Amen…

    Love you guys, still here just not able to comment as have been busy with family…
    Hope you are all well …Sending big big hugs and love to you all my Sisters…
    Happy Thursday…x xxx

  • Never really thought of fasting as intercession, usually just did it because of my needs. Thanks for this message.

  • Samantha George

    I always downplay fasting as ritualistic and a challenge to myself to complete it in my own strength rather than turning the attention to God but this has me thinking about it again

  • Rexshell

    Much needed.

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