When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. Then I said: “Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel…” (Nehemiah 1:4-6 NIV)
“In the Bible prayer and fasting frequently occurred together. Bible characters often fasted while in intercessory prayer for others (2 Sam. 12:16-23; Neh. 1:8-10; Ps. 35:13; Dan. 6:18; 9:15-19) or while voicing prayer requests for their own needs (1 Sam. 1:7-11; Neh. 1:11; Ps. 109:21-24; Dan. 9:3; 10:1-3). Leaders prayed and fasted for success in battle (Judg. 20:26; 1 Sam. 7:6; 2 Chron. 20:3), for relief from famine (Jer. 14:1-12; Joel 1:14; 2:12-15), or for success in other endeavors, such as Ezra’s return from the exile (Ezra 8:21-23) or Esther’s success before the king (Esth. 4:16).” (K.D. Berghuis, “A Biblical Perspective on Fasting”)
Take a moment today and look up one or two of the passages noted above. How do prayer and fasting go together?
Prayer: Lord, through prayer and fasting, our desire is to commune with you, to be near you, to hear your voice, to follow your ways. Empower us through your Spirit. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s sing and indulge our desires for God’s presence: “Psalm of Thanks” (click here)