Bible Passage for Meditation: Matthew 6:16-18
Key Verse: “But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face.” Matt. 6:17
It was exactly two years ago that I was faced with a very important life-changing decision. In fact, it was totally unexpected. You see, I was single, and happy. I had totally surrendered to God my desire to be married and was joyfully pouring my life into ministry. To be honest, I had come to have such a close relationship with God, that I was a bit afraid that if I started a romantic relationship I might loose the sweet closeness and communion I had in my daily devotions.
So what was I to do now that a handsome young man was asking me to consider a relationship? One thing I knew: I could not trust myself to make such an important decision. Eleven years earlier, I had failed and failed miserably. So I had promised God that I would never enter a romantic relationship again unless I was sure that He was guiding me.
As I considered the new circumstances before me, I decided to fast and pray for 10 days. As a result, God answered in amazing ways. Not only did He give me such a peace about this man like I have never had before, but He gave me the answers I was looking for.
Eight months later we were engaged and planning our wedding. However, we faced some challenges as we were both working in ministry and did not have a way to pay for all the wedding expenses. So we fasted and prayed. Once again, God performed many miracles for us, and our wedding ended up being better than my dreams. Now when we look back, we are still amazed at God’s abundant goodness to us.
As my husband and I entered the New Year 2015 (still our first year of marriage), we decided to start the year with 21 days of prayer and fasting, asking for increased spiritual blessings. We both had done this before we got married, but now that we are doing it together, we see even more abundant blessings in our lives spiritually as we have determined to abstain from certain foods and media activities in order to have more time to focus on God. What a rich blessing this has been to us!
Maybe you are at a crossroad in your life. Maybe you are looking for answers. Maybe you are in need of God’s divine intervention in your life or in the life of someone dear to you. Maybe you want a deeper experience with God. I want to encourage you to take some time to fast and pray, to tune out the other distracting influences around you and listen to His still small voice. It may not be a total fast. That’s okay. You may want to choose a Daniel’s fast, like we have done. Whatever you do, if you seek God with earnestness in fasting and prayer, God will draw you closer to Himself, closer than you’ve ever been before. Remember, fasting isn’t just about getting what we want from God. It’s more about getting closer to Him, about knowing Him. For He is the greatest gift we can receive!
Heart Prayer Challenge
Dear Heavenly Father, In Matt. 6:16,17 you tell us “when we fast” we should not be sad as the hypocrites are, but rather we should be joyful. Also as we read the stories throughout the Bible, we see that You always answered when Your people prayed and fasted. God, we are in need of big answers. We are in need of great miracles on behalf of our church. Help us to draw near You with all our hearts. Show us how to pray, and when appropriate, how to fast. Show us what things, foods, and activities in our lives we should set aside for a time that we may hear Your voice more clearly. Thank you for hearing and answering this prayer. Amen.
By Raluca Ril
(Raluca is co-author with her husband, Roman, of the 10 Days of Prayer materials for 2015/16. She and her husband [pictured above] currently serve as missionaries in Germany. To read more of Raluca’s personal testimony, CLICK HERE.)
[For more resources on fasting as well as information about the “Daniel’s Fast,” CLICK HERE. Leadership has not called for a specific corporate fast during this 100 Days of Prayer, however many of us are fasting in various ways during this time. Some of us have chosen to fast from desserts or from other favorite foods. Some of us have chosen to fast from certain media activities or entertainment. And some may not be fasting specifically at all, but are setting apart extra time to spend with God in His Word and to take time to pray over these daily request. So follow whatever God prompts you to do, knowing that God will bless.]