Day 2) “Super-Charging Your Prayers!”
Would you like to add nuclear fusion to your prayer life? Fasting does for prayer what jet fuel does for the engine of an F-4 PHANTOM fighter jet. It lifts it off the ground with power!
While fasting is not mentioned in the prayer of the upper room it is certainly probable that part, if not all, of their time was spent fasting as well as praying. Why is this possible? For one thing, fasting would have been normal for devout Jews who frequently fasted as part of their spiritual disciplines. In addition, the Old Testament (their Bible) is full of examples of godly men and women who fasted and prayed. More importantly, Jesus had predicted that when He was taken away from His disciples, then they would fast (Luke 5:35). That time had come.
But there’s an even more compelling reason to believe fasting was part of the original upper room experience. The Scripture itself suggests the possibility the upper room was a place of fasting. Peter explained what happened in the upper room as a fulfillment of Joel 2:28, “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh…” Do you remember what preceded that promise of the Spirit’s outpouring? God told the prophet, “Blow the trumpet in Zion; consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly…” (Joel 2:15).
Before the outpouring of the Spirit, promised in Joel’s prophecy, God called His people to fast and pray! It’s possible the Apostles and others experienced the Holy Spirit as a visible answer to their prayers following a period of fasting. Peter correctly saw Pentecost as a fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy which began with a call to fasting.
We cannot be absolutely certain they fasted in the upper room, of course, but we are certain the early church practiced fasting and prayer at other times when they were seeking God’s direction (Acts 13:1-3). Fasting today makes sense as we seek His direction and His presence in our own “upper room.”
What is fasting? Fasting is simply denying your body food so you can spend more time in prayer. You can fast through one meal, half a day, 24 hours, or even longer. God will bless your obedience. Why should we fast? Fasting is always associated with prayer in Scripture. Prayer connects us to heaven while fasting disconnects us from earth! Fasting brings your body and all of it’s appetites under submission to God. Fasting with prayer teaches us to say “No!” to the physical desires of life in order to devote more focus on a spiritual hunger for God.
This week, plan to give God the gift of fasting as part of your “upper room” prayer. You will be amazed at the powerful, positive results!
Paul and I fast on Mondays. It helps us to have more self control in many other areas. We read your booklet on fasting and have practiced this discipline for many years. I am just letting you know you are getting through to some of us in your pastorate! We listen, we do, and we continue in obedience. This is to encourage you that I write this.