Today’s reading is from Matthew 6:5-18. This passage will take you through the Lord’s Prayer & into the verse on fasting in private. So I’ll hit on both of those points today. When put together you can really "knock out" some issues going on in your life!
Prayer of course is a big deal during a fast. The main objective of any fast is to draw closer to God. You want to build that relationship & sacrifice something to show that you mean business concerning your requests to God. Reading the Bible is the quickest way to hear from God. After all, it is the inspired Word of God! Prayer is the 2nd way IF you allow time to listen. Too often when we talk to God it’s a one-sided conversation. We do all the talking & then say amen. God desires to speak back. He desires to give you His input on the matters. Sometimes He may drop a scripture reference in your heart. Sometimes God will drop just one word in your spirit. And yes, sometimes He’s quiet. His answer may be yes, no or wait. Either way, God is listening. If you are saved then the Holy Spirit lives in you & therefore you know that God hears your prayers.
An activity I used to do a lot & need to get back to is journaling your prayers. Keep a notebook/journal with you when you pray. Sometimes I will write my prayers out. That helps me stay focused (and I need all the help I can get there). This will also allow you to look back & see how God has answered those prayers. There may be a time where you felt God was silent on the issue only to look back & see where He really did answer in His own way & handle that situation. Whether you liked it or not… Also, after you have prayed, just sit silently for a few minutes & listen. You probably need to cut the noise off & get in a quiet place. Just listen & allow the Holy Spirit to minister to you. Then as you begin to sense the direction He’s leading you or the scriptures He starts giving, you can journal them. This will help you later also in remembering what God spoke to you, what He promised you or the direction He pointed you in.
Now to the matter of fasting: this verse references fasting in private. So why are we doing a corporate fast & talking about it? Well the reason we are doing a corporate fast is to help get our congregation in sync & seeking God together on a daily basis. We are praying for the mind of God concerning the vision of our church. We also have several families with loved ones needing salvation so we are praying for those as well. This allows us to encourage one another to stay strong when we start to get weak during the fast.
Now the reason private fasting is such an issue with Jesus is because the Pharisee’s & others would fast & make it known in order to seem “holier than thou.” This was an ego thing. Pride has always been a tool of Satan (the pride of life) and always will be. Jesus has said that what you do in secret will be rewarded in open & what you do in the open, well; you just got your reward. Private fasting should be kept private. Corporate fasting is open however your motives are also in question. When you talk about fasting with others, what is your motive? Is it to seek encouragement? Is it to teach others about fasting? Or is it to put you out there as being holy? Only you & God know that answer.
God bless you! I pray that this has been enlightening as well as encouraging. Please let us know if we can pray for you!