Prayer and Fasting

Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting. Matt 17:21

Whilst the Lord Jesus was up on the mountain with Peter, James and John, the remainder of the disciples were down where they were confronted with a devil possessed child who they were unable to cure. The disciples were puzzled by their inability; "Why could not we cast him out?" Mark 9:28. They had previously been given power by the Lord Jesus to cast out devils, Mark 3:15. The Lord Jesus' response as recorded for us in Mark 9:29 was, "This kind can come forth by nothing but by prayer and fasting."

In this article I want to give some consideration ( it will not be exhaustive! ) to what the Bible has to say on the subject of fasting. Fasting is a spiritual discipline. Although it is not commanded anywhere in the Bible, the discipline is certainly found throughout. Indeed the Lord Jesus in another place taught about fasting. In Matt 6:16-18, you will notice that the Lord Jesus said "when ye fast" , He didn't say "if ye fast"! Fasting was not to be done to impress others about our spirituality, but to be done unto our heavenly Father. Neither is it done to "twist God's arm!" or to impress God with our self denial!

In the Bible we find many individuals fasted; in the OT Moses, Daniel, Nehemiah, Esther David; also the nation of Israel fasted, an heathen city Nineveh fasted; in the NT Paul ( in fastings often), the church (Acts 13) , the Lord Jesus Himself - for Him to be able to have cast out the devil from the child He must needs have fasted to be true to His own teaching!

Let us consider some of the different biblical reasons and examples of fasting.

1. In the incident mentioned above, the Lord Jesus told His defeated disciples that their problem was one of unbelief Matt 17:20. From this we can conclude that for us also one reason for fasting is to deal with our unbelief in certain situations.

2. Special times of drawing near to God. Moses Deut 9:9

3. A time of seeking God's mercy. Jonah 3:5-9; David IISam 12:16-21 - in this situation God did not change His mind! - the undergirding principle here as it ought to be in all of our prayers is ' nevertheless not my will but Thy will be done!'

4. Fasting is often linked with a confession of sin. In the matter of Achan, Joshua 7; Neh 1:4, Dan 9

5. At special times of seeking light and direction from God. Dan 9 & 10, Neh 1:4

6. In times of dangerous or difficult situations. Esther 4:16; Ezra 8:21-23; IIChron 20:3; Matt 17:21

7. We are in a spiritual battle and sometimes fasting may be needful because of the unseen battle going on in the heavenlies. Dan 10:1-14

8. It can be a means of humbling ourselves before God. IIChron 7:14; IPet 5:6; James 4:6-10

The length of a fast will vary according to each particular situation for which we come before the Lord. In the Bible it was on a couple of occasions up to forty days. When we fast we are essentially saying that the spiritual is more important than the physical ie we set aside that which is essential for life. We are living out Heb 11:6.

We as a church set aside one day a month to pray and fast for particular needs. We also set aside days of prayer and fasting when we have special meetings for outreach.

A closing observation; some things will not happen without prayer and fasting! Matt 17:21; Mark 9:29

Keep looking up!

Robert Cotton

This is available in pdf format

pdf  Not by prayer and fasting?"

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To present a website which offers to our readers the opportunity to hear a range of inspiring sermons, presenting the Gospel in a clear and concise manner enabling all to study The Word of God, of our Lord Jesus Christ and of Jesus Love for us.
We are an independent Baptist Church located in Mount Gambier and use the King James Bible only in all our study.

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Days of Prayer and Fasting

There is a day of Prayer and Fasting adhered to by many members of our church and this would normally be on a Wednesday.

Where possible we try and post the information on site, but as the items are generally based upon prayer requests from Missionaries and current ministry items this is not always possible.

We invite you to take those items mentioned below as your items of prayer or to contact us and we can forward the information directly via email to you.



1. General things to pray about.

Pray for their personal walk with the Lord.
Pray that they would not yield to discouragement. Isa 42:4
Pray that they would minister "in demonstration of the Spirit and of power" I Cor 2:4
Pray that they would be faithful in preaching the whole counsel of God - Acts 20:26,27

Some dangers for the preacher suggested by A W Tozer
1. Remember that he is a servant for the Lord to the people
2. Be careful of leading an idle life
3. Being too flexible or too rigid
4. Being elated by success or cast down by failure
5. Thinking himself to be someone special
6. Becoming familiar with God and heavenly things

"Satan knows that the downfall of a prophet of God is a strategic victory for him, so he rests not day or night devising hidden snares and deadfalls for the ministry" God Tells The Man Who Cares A W Tozer

Useful Guidelines available in pdf format

pdf  Preachers and Churches"

pdf  Church and Ministries"

pdf  Easter Outreach and Youth Camp"

pdf  Friend Day"

pdf  Missionaries"

pdf  Salvation of Lost"

pdf  For Visiting Preachers"

Prayer Points

Here is an article I once read in a Church Newsletter, I liked it and remembered it but cannot remember where it came from. Enjoy.

A shabby old man used to go into a Church each day at midday for a few minutes, the caretaker was suspicious - he wasn't in there long enough to pray "l can't pray, a long prayer." said Jim. "but I just comes in and kneels and say's "Jesus, it's Jim," and waits a minute then comes away. Sometime later, lying injured in a hospital bed, the Ward Sister wondered how it was that Jim seemed responsible for a real change of atmosphere in the Ward - it was now a positive happy place. "It's my visitor" Jim explained. But he never had any visitors. "Every day at 12 o'clock he comes and stands at the foot of my bed, I sees him and he smiles and say's "Jim it's Jesus.

When I sit and think of what God has promised and just how simple things were for Jim. Why then do things always get so complicated? In fact so complicated that we find ourselves with our back to the wall and nowhere to go.

Always remember that God Loves You unconditionally. God is ALWAYS with YOU. Copied by lillian


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