‘So we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer.’
-Ezra proclaimed a fast to pray for direction for the people. -The fasting yielded fruit as God answered their prayers. -Fasting with humility touches God’s heart & our prayers are answered.
Lord God, teach how to fast. As I pray with humility, guide & direct me as You directed Ezra & the people in this journey of life. May this lenten season be a blessing to me & my family as you grant our heart’s desires. Amen.
“Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” So Mordecai went his way and did according to all that Esther commanded him.
It was illegal & risky for Esther to go before the king but fasting made her bold. Fasting & prayer was her secret, which enabled her obtain favour before God & the king. She received her request as queen & the lives of the Jewish people in Shushan were restored. Mordecai her relative also became second in command to king Ahasuerus, all their enemies were destroyed & there was total peace in the land. Prayer is the main aim of fasting, which unlocks the heavenly graces upon us.
We thank You Father for we have begun yet another day. We humbly seek Your face Lord to grant us our requests which we present to You today. Guide us, our families, friends & nationalists in seeking first Your name. Restore peace, prosperity & good leadership in our land & homes. Hear our cry Father from the deepest parts of our hearts. Amen
“Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ “If you take away the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
-Fasting is written as tsom in Hebrew & is define as dedication of oneself for a period of time to devote to spiritual priority of prayer without food. It is also the wilful abstaining from natural pleasures for a spiritual purpose.
-From today’s verses we learn that fasting helps in purifying our hearts & minds from evil thoughts thus breaking bad habits. It releases us from heavy burdens & breaks every yoke for our prayers are answered. It also increases almsgiving.
-Note that when the stomach is empty, the body has no power over you for spirit is more active & this enables one to hear God more clearly. Fasting while taking water purifies the body from excess toxins & fats, leading to weight reduction & natural healing. Fasting is not dieting, food is replaced by prayer, reading the word & meditating on it.
-Let us join hands & purpose to fast, skipping one meal this week & pray for our country during this time of elections when a lot is happening, that the Lord will have mercy on us & give us the best leaders whose heart’s are focused on Him & cancel the possibility of post election violence. We also remember our own prayer petitions especially those we have been praying , for a long time that the Lord will grant us the desires of our hearts. The funds saved can be channelled towards a charitable cause.
We humbly implore You Father, in fasting, prayer & supplications, hear our cry. Have mercy on our country & help us during this time of elections & anoint for us leaders who have You & the interests of the people at heart. Grant us peace before, during & after elections for You are all powerful. Have mercy on us & deliver us from all difficult situations that are deep in our hearts. We praise You & glorify You now & forever. Amen
Joel 2:12-13 “Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm.
-There was an impeding locust plague which would cause drought & suffering among the people. Prophet Joel called the elders, children, nursing babes, priests & couples to fast for their nation. He added that fasting should not be external as the Jews used to tear their clothes & apply ash on their bodies as a sign of humility, but contrition of heart & a broken spirit to enable one receive Gods grace & mercy. Jesus in Mat 6:18; teaches that one should not appear to men to be fasting, but to our Father who is in the secret place & sees in secret who reward us openly. The Lord looks as ones heart as Jesus gives a new command that we should love God with all our hearts & our neighbour as ourselves.
PRAYER: Almighty Father, have mercy of me & be kind to me as I come to You with humility at heart. Save me from Your wrath for You are slow to anger. Search my heart & cleanse me entirely with Your precious blood. Amen.
Matthew 6:16-18 Fasting to Be Seen Only by God “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
INSIGHT -When fasting, one should not be sad & gloomy to show everyone that they are fasting. -Jesus said that; one should wash their face & be joyful for God who sees in secret rewards openly. -Fasting also can be a way of chastening one from sins not just fasting from food.
PRAYER: Jesus my Father, as I fast from all immorality come into my heart to strength me; for I’m only human. I know Father that You see in secret & You will reward me openly. All this for Your glory my God. Amen.
Luke 4:1-2 Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.
INSIGHT -Jesus had just been baptised by John the Baptist at river Jordan where the Holy Spirit descended upon Him. -The Spirit then led Him to the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. -40 is the number of temptations/tribulations. -Jesus was hungry & the devil used that weakness in the first temptation where he told Jesus to command stone to bread. -Let us ask the Holy Spirit to protect us from the devil & not to lead us into temptation just like in the Lords Prayer. -Fasting & prayer are important weapons in fighting evil as we seek strength from the Holy Spirit.
PRAYER: Holy Spirit, You are my Lord & protector. Lead me not into temptations & deliver me from all evil. Strengthen me when I am weak & as I fast in the heart be my helper. I am hungry for You, fill me with your gifts, fruits & great power. Amen. Please meditate on the theme, Fasting
As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.
-Saul, Barnabas & other teachers & prophets who ministered in the church at Antioch fasted & prayed. It is during their fast that Saul & Barnabas were appointed by the Holy Spirit to preach the gospel of Christ having been engaged in this before, this time receiving full authority. Saul was called by Christ Himself while persecuting Christians in Acts 9:3-4 & was now transformed fully. Saul was lost with no identity, he was given a new name; Paul & his purpose was clearly defined. The Holy Spirit leads us in a clear direction when we ask of Him with a contrite heart.
We thank You Father, for we have seen another beautiful day. We also thank You for the rains. We pray for peace in our families, relations, church, nation & the world at large. Heal all those who are sick & suffering & save them from their tribulations. Guide us in a clear vision of purpose & lead us in Your will. Our hearts yearn for You always; hear our prayers. Amen
And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him.
-Jesus was led by the Spirit to be tempted which came before He began His ministry & His divine assignment to save humanity. Wild beasts & angels ministered to Him in the wilderness indicating loneliness, danger & His divinity. After He overcame the devil’s temptations, the angels ministered to Him again (Mat 4:11). In the course of our lives, temptations will always come, but we have hope because just as angels ministered to Jesus in the wilderness, they are sent forth to minister us, who will inherit salvation (Heb 1:14). We are therefore reminded to pray without ceasing, so that whatever we ask from our Father, He will give us.
Fasting is dedication of oneself for a period of time to devote to spiritual priority of prayer without food. It is also the wilful abstaining from natural pleasures for a spiritual purpose. It helps us in cleansing our hearts & minds from evil thoughts. Prophet Joel teaches that fasting should not be external like the Jews used to tear their clothes & apply ash on their bodies as a sign of humility, but entails contrition of heart & spirit to enable us receive from God. Jesus echoed the same sentiments when He taught that, one should not appear to men to be fasting, but to our Father who sees in secret & rewards us openly. As we fast; our prayers are answered releasing us from heavy burdens & yokes. Fasting & prayer was Esther’s secret. She obtain favour before God & king Ahasuerus. She also received her request as queen & the lives of the Jewish people in Shushan were restored. Saul & Barnabas were directed in their destiny during a fast. They were appointed by the Holy Spirit & received full authority to preach the gospel of Christ. The Holy Spirit always fills our hearts with divine mercy as we fast & pray. Fasting also unlocks heavenly graces upon us, as our prayer are answered & we get direction of purpose. Lastly, the funds saved during a fast can be donated, in the effort of sharing love with the less fortunate.
You are worthy Father; to receive all glory, honour, power & praise. We thank You & bless Your holy Name. We call on You with humility in our hearts; asking You to answer our prayers. There are many challenges & temptations in our lives, families, nation & the world Lord, comfort us with Your peace. Guide us as we fast & pray that Your will may be done. Fill us with Your wisdom, humility, mercy & love that we may always be justified in Your grace. Amen