Read: Acts 13:2-3
When we have a prayer or a petition that we want God to answer, we fast and pray. Fasting is to exercise humility before God. David humbled his soul with fasting (Ps. 35:13-14). He sought God’s forgiveness through fasting and prayer. When Jonah the prophet warned the Ninevites (a pagan sect), that God would destroy them within 40 days, they believed in God and proclaimed a fast to seek God’s forgiveness (Jonah 3:5). Ezra and the entire Israelite congregated fasted and confessed their sins before God Almighty as the book of the Law was read to them (Neh. 9:1). They fasted as a sign of submission and approval of God’s laws.
Fasting is to overcome addictions. Isaiah writes that it can be used “to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?” (Isa. 58:3-7). Addictions to pornography, tobacco, alcohol, drugs, internet or gluttony are not easily broken. The fast can be to undo the straps of a yoke and certainly an addiction is a yoke that binds a heavy burden onto a person. Fasts can loose these bonds of wickedness (sins) and break every yoke (addictions).
Fasting is to wait for God to intervene in difficult situations. Esther along with the Jews fasted and prayed to God before she could meet King Xerxes and present her case before him (Esther 4:16). Nehemiah fasted and prayed for many days before he could ask the Persian King Artaxerxes’ help to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem that lay in ruins (Neh. 1).
Fasting is ideal before believers commit to work for God’s ministry. Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness where He fasted and prayed for 40 days (Luke 4:1). Jesus prayed before He chose His twelve disciples (Luke 6:12). The early disciples also fasted and prayed before they chose Saul and Barnabas for ministry work among the Gentiles (Acts 13:2-3).
Jesus tells us to fast and pray in secret unlike hypocrites who want to be seen by men (Matt. 6:16-18). God knows our heart when we fast and pray with a repentant and contrite heart. When we sincerely come before God with a humble heart with fasting and praying, He will definitely hear our cry.