Topic: Fasting And Prayer Is Essential For Spiritual Growth
“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. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 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.
Matthew 6:16–18 (NKJV)
“However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
Matthew 17:21 (NKJV)
Bible In A Year Reading
Matthew 6:16–18 (NIV) — 16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Thoughts Of Devotion:
There are certain things in the Word of God that always come together. This morning it is impossible to speak about the topic of fasting without giving importance to joining it with prayer. Scripture shows us that these two values and principles always go hand in hand if we are to grow spiritually. When one separates in prayer and fasting, great things happen in your personal life. Fasting and prayer produces spiritual growth and development. Things that were impossible become possible! God moves in our circumstance and in our favor when we separate in fasting and prayer.
This is one of the main keys to see our spiritual to see our spiritual life go to another level. Today more than ever God is calling us to consecrate ourselves in fasting and prayer. I am sure that we will face great challenges, which will seem impossible in the natural; things that perhaps have held us back spiritually for years. My question is, what will we do when this happens? What plan or strategy will we have? Or will we make the mistake of saying, “it cant be done, I will never succeed, my situation is impossible to change”. My prayer is that we never take this attitude of defeat and failure!
Jesus’ disciples also confronted a situation that was very similar, where they were unable to cast out a demon from a boy. They faced their impossibility! As hard as they tried they could not, and they grew weary from trying to free the boy from the power of the enemy. The boy continued to be possessed and received no change in his situation. Its sad to read that the father of the boy gets to the point of coming to Jesus and saying, “So I brought him to your disciples, but they couldn’t heal him” (Matthew 17:16). No matter how hard the disciples tried, they simply could not. They were disciples but they didn’t have the power to do it. Jesus saw the situation and rebuked them, “How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me” (Matthew 17:17). It wasn’t until the Lord appeared on the scene and rebuked the demon, that the boy was instantly and completely healed.
The key to spiritual growth is fasting and prayer. Today we must memorize Jesus’ words, “this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:21). Let us pray that we may always practice this key in our lives so that we may see spiritual growth.
Matthew 9:14-15 (NKJV) — 14 Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?”
15 And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.
Ezra 8:23 (NKJV) — 23 So we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer.
Nehemiah 1:4 (NKJV) — 4 So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.
Joel 2:12 (NKJV) — 12 “Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”
Luke 2:37 (NKJV) — 37 and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
Acts 14:23 (NKJV) — 23 So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.
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