“When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.”(Nehemiah 1:4 NIV)
Grieve the circumstances, fast and pray to God.
Nehemiah worked for King Artaxerxes as his cupbearer. He served the king his wine. His crisis is the remnants of Israel and their predicament:
“Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.” (Nehemiah 1:3 NIV)
His immediate response: grieving for his people, while fasting and praying to God. Four verses in, we see the type of man Nehemiah was: a man of prayer. Because He started with God, He gave Nehemiah direction. The king gave him his blessing to go to Jerusalem and finish the wall. They worked with weapons in one hand, tools in the other. Nehemiah’s journey was not easy, nor short, but it was victorious.
Fasting and Prayer paves the way to victory.
Crises in life are a given. We all have them, we all endure them. We have a choice of how we travel through them: with God or without Him. Fasting and prayer invites God into the situation. God’s involvement causes miracles to happen.
My mother, in the last years of her life, battled pancreatic cancer. At one point, early in the fight, I was at odds with my family about her care. We weren’t speaking to each other, it wasn’t a good time for us. For ten days I fasted and prayed to God. On the seventh day, I felt victory in my spirit. I didn’t know what God had done, but I knew He had done something. The thought that ran through my head, “I don’t have to fast and pray anymore.” But then, just as quickly, I heard, “Do you want a partial victory or a full victory?” Without a doubt, I had to finish what I had started. I wanted the full victory.
Just like Nehemiah, the changes weren’t evident immediately. God didn’t change my family with my fasting and prayer, He changed me. God gave me opportunities to reconcile with my family. He gave me direction, just like He did Nehemiah. In time, we found peace, our relationships restored with each other as God worked in our lives.
Fasting is abstaining from food or anything that hinders your relationship with God. The purpose is to deepen your relationship with God. When you’re hungry for what you’ve given up, it’s a reminder to pray and seek God. Fasting is a powerful tool that invites God into your crisis. When you do, He’ll give you direction in the midst of despair.
Fast and pray, God will answer.
Question of the Day:
Have you tried fasting and prayer as an answer to your crisis?