Summary: There are many things a Christian can do and nothing changes. But you cannot fast and pray and remain the same.
What About Fasting and Prayer
How is your prayer life? When do you pray? There are many different kinds of prayer.
• There’s the “Call 911 Prayer.” You make this call when you have an emergency. You don’t want to trouble God unless you have an emergency. God serves as your divine spare tire when one area of your life goes flat.
• There’s the “Jimminy Cricket” Prayer. “When you wish upon a star; makes no difference who you are; anything your heart desires will come to you.” God is viewed like a cosmic grandpa.
• Some people pray the “Monty Hall” prayer. It begins like this: “God, let’s make a deal.” I’ll make an agreement with you and give you something if You come through first for me.
• There’s the “Aladdin’s Lamp” prayer. This prayer is based upon the deep belief that if you just “rub” God the right way, He will magically be at your service. God is treated like a cosmic bellhop.
• The “Lottery” prayer. It can’t hurt to try, and you just might hit the jackpot.
• And last is the “Guinness” prayer. Long is the word for this kind of praying and sometimes loud.
Many Bible believing Christians around the world practice 40 days and nights of fasting and prayer during Lent. Fasting in our American Culture of McDonalds, Burger King and Marie Calendars, Pizza houses, and pie and ice cream is not a popular topic. You might ask: “What About Fasting and Prayer?” What does the Bible says about fasting? What is the value and benefits of fasting?
The call for fasting usually came during desperate times. In the book of Esther we see how “fasting and prayer” provided for the well being of Jewish people. Ester was an orphan who was adopted by Mordecai, who belonged to the tribe of Benjamin. Mordecai was a palace official at Shushan, the Persian (Iran) royal city.
The Persians had taken the Jews into captivity and were ruled by the iron first of Ahasuerus, whose popular name was Xerzes. When Queen Vashti refused to give a fashion parade before her drunken husband and his drunken friends the king dethroned her.
After a long search was made Esther became the new Queen. When Esther became Queen she kept her Jewish identity a secret. Haman the second in command to the King persuaded the King to sign a law to destroy all Jews living in all of Babylon.
Mordecai appealed to Esther to go to the King and make a case to save the Jewish people. Esther told Mordecai that she was reluctant to enter the King’s presence without being summoned. At his word her life could be taken unless my extended his gold scepter and spare her life. Mordecai send back his response: Esther 4:13-14, “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”
Esther probably thought she was at the wrong place at the wrong time? Have you ever felt that way? “How did I ever get myself into such a situation?” She was challenged to take action. Her adopted father asked her “What she was waiting for?”
Have you ever been in that situation? You felt you needed to take action, but said to yourself, “I’m going to get to that one of these days.” Or you experienced a broken relationships and said, “Well in due time I’ll get around to making things right.” But the longer you put it off the harder it gets.
Mordecai’s advice to Esther is good advice for each of us – “Now is the time – seize this moment.” We all find excuses to not take action or change. “If I were in a better place, I’d be a better person.” “If I had better parents, or a better job, and wasn’t so sick, etc… I’d be a better person.
Finally Esther did the right thing and sent her message to Mordecai: “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even thought it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions.” (Esther 4:15-17)
Esther knew that spiritual power comes from God in answer to prayer. When God’s people give themselves to fasting and praying the miraculous is made possible.