Persistent prayer coupled with faith is the foundation of our relationship with God and the basis of our Christian life (Ephesians 6:18). And it is the prayer offered in faith that brings remission of sin, healing, restoration and recovery into our lives (James 5:15). Through prayer, activated by faith, we are able to permanently take hold of every good gift God has in store for us, which are without repentance – never cancelled or rescinded (Romans 11:29). However, in addition to our faith-based prayer, to unlock the door to receiving God’s good gifts for us and lay hold of our expectations, fasting is a necessary component. After the enemy comes to kill, steal or destroy what God has given us, in order for us to recover what has been lost and repossess the assured hope and future that God has for us, we must actively engage in spiritual warfare through persistent prayer with faith and fasting.
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds…and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5, New King James Version). It is only when faith, prayer and fasting are jointly applied that certain strongholds of the enemy can be broken (Matthew 17:21).
Prayer and fasting are principal weapons of spiritual warfare that God has provided for us and our obedience and willingness to use these weapons will determine whether His purpose is thwarted or accomplished in our lives. God compels us to listen, observe, understand and, more importantly, put into practice the precepts of His Son, Jesus Christ, in order to be guided in truth and the way to eternal life. And it is the living Word of God, through Christ, that ordains us to fast; He is also ready to bless us in what we do when we perform what we hear (James 1:22-25). Note that whilst you can pray without fasting, you cannot do a God-ordained fast without praying.
In order to enter the presence of God, commune with Him and receive divine revelations and power from Him, a time of solitude without feasting, festivity or distraction is required. We must enter His presence with clean hands and a pure heart, consecrate ourselves by confessing any un-confessed sins, forgiving those who have wronged us and presenting ourselves holy and acceptable in His sight in our thoughts, words and deeds (Psalm 24:3-4, Isaiah 58). Jesus withdrew Himself on many occasions and situated Himself in places where He could be apart to pray and fast so He could hear God’s clear instruction, receive His refreshment and be empowered by the Holy Spirit to accomplish the task ahead.
In Christ, our life is not simply based on words; it's an empowered life – living by God’s power (1 Corinthians 4:20). As baptized believers, we have been given the faith to believe in His name and the authority, through faith in His name, to destroy every work of the enemy in our life and in those around us. Through prayer and fasting, we are enabled to call upon the name of Jesus in faith and activate His power within us for healing, deliverance and assured victory in every situation and circumstance that we encounter, for the sake of His name and His unfailing love for us (Mark 16:15-18, Acts 3:16).
When we set ourselves aside to be in the presence of the Lord, it should not be obvious to anyone other than God that we are fasting. And when we do this without attracting undue attention from others, He will reward us for what is done unto Him in secret (Matthew 6:16-18).
The first access to God in our time of prayer and fasting is through His Word. It is through His infallible Word that He speaks to us and His voice never contradicts His Word. As we humble ourselves in His presence, closely commune with Him and pour out our hearts to Him, His Word will minister to us; reveal the answers to our questions and the solutions to our situation. When persistent prayer and fasting become an integral part of our relationship with God and as our intimacy with Him deepens, we will begin to discern His audible voice and receive power to accomplish His purpose for every area of our lives.
God has many good plans for us, but to possess all He has in store for us, we must abide in Him, wait on Him and receive His direction every step of the way. This in turn will equip us with divine health, strength, wisdom and provision – His sufficient grace, for every good work to finish well. When we mobilize our spiritual tools of warfare, God will demonstrate His power and faithfulness by always leading us in triumph in Christ and thereby make us more than conquerors through His love. And through our victory in Him, we diffuse the fragrance of His knowledge in every place (Matthew 17:5; Matthew 28:20; 2 Corinthians 2:14; Romans 8:37).