Jesus made a promise and many seems to not even care.  He promised to reward those who fast, “… your father who sees what is done in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:16-18).

That is a promise.  The condition?  When we fast.  Jesus only speaks of this spiritual discipline twice in His recorded ministry.

The first time He says not “if” but “when” you fast (Matthew 6:16-18).  He assumes that his people will practice fasting.  His concern is how it will be done.

The second time He says “when” they will fast (Matthew 9:15).  He just seemed to have known that his disciples would fast.

Fasting can be an empty ritual.  But when done properly, fasting is a channel of divine power that takes our prayers to another level.  Fasting intensifies the cry of our heart toward God.

Jehoshaphat called on Judah to fast and pray for deliverance (2 Chronicles 20:1-17).  The king of Ninevah called for a citywide fast to avert the judgment of God Jonah 3:50.  Esther summoned the Jews to fast before she approached the king (Esther 4:15-17).  Ezra called on God’s people to fast and pray for protection (Ezra 8:21).  Nehemiah called on Jerusalem to fast and pray (Nehemiah 1:4).  Church leaders fasted and sought God’ directions for their ministry (Acts 13:1-3).  Paul and Barnabas prayed as they appointed elders (Acts 14:23).  God even authorized a husband and wife to abstain from sexual intimacy in order to fast and pray (1 Corinthians 7:1-5).  Fasting can be a great beginning point for spiritual empowerment.

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