The Promise of Answered Prayer
What does the Bible say about prayer being answered? Quite a lot, and scriptures can teach us how to connect with God and disconnect with the world and the world’s distractions. It is written in 2 Chronicles 7:14-15 (NIV): “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.” Wonderful, isn’t it? So why is it that we sometimes feel like our prayers aren’t getting results?
Matthew 17:14-18 (NIV) shows us an account of the disciples trying to heal a boy: “When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. Lord, have mercy on my son, he said. He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him. O unbelieving and perverse generation, Jesus replied, how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me. Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment.”
Here Jesus tells us there are two problems here: Unbelief, which is being unconnected to God, and perversity, which is being too connected to the world. When we feel disconnected from God or feel like our prayers don’t have lasting effect, it is usually because we have become unbelieving and perverse (and we have all been there). So, what is the solution to that?
Matthew 17:19-22 (TPT) continues: “Later the disciples came to him privately and asked, ‘Why couldn’t we cast out the demon?’ He told them, ‘It was because of your lack of faith. I promise you, if you have faith inside of you no bigger than the size of a small mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “Move away from here and go over there,” and you will see it move! There is nothing you couldn’t do! But this kind of demon is cast out only through prayer and fasting.” There we have it: prayer and fasting. This is not about being legalistic or ritualistic. Fasting and praying is about disconnecting with the outside noise and uniting with God – and the results are life-changing.
Prayer connects us to God while fasting disconnects us from the world. As Christians, we talk about praying often, but not always about fasting. Fasting is not just an act, it helps us intentionally disconnect from the distractions that the world brings – and it is an important part of aligning ourselves with our Savior.
Pursuing God Through Fasting
With our body, we connect to ourselves. We connect to others with our soul. With our spirit, we connect to God. Your body and soul’s desires can try to dominate your spirit, but praying strengthens your spirit and fasting weakens your body and soul. You want God’s voice to be the one you are most connected with. Here are three steps to help us weaken our body’s willfulness and soul’s domination – and strengthen our spirit – so that our faith can rise up in us and we can see prayers answered.
- Develop a plan. Developing a plan is an important step when we go into fasting because it allows us to outline our goals as we draw nearer to God; it is crucial when it comes to us understanding the why behind the what. What do you want to get out of your fasting? Here are valuable steps to take when you are preparing for your fasting: declare your dependence on God, ask for forgiveness for feeding your body and soul over your spirit, refocus on the eternal, invite the presence of God in your life, and believe God for the answer to specific needs. Going into fasting without understanding why you are doing it is counterproductive, so make a plan in order to multiply the benefits and connect on a deeper level with God.
- Decide what to fast. If your body has been taking charge, a food fast may be the best choice for you, whether that means liquids-only for three days or letting go of sweets and meats for three weeks. It looks different for everyone, so do what God leads you to do. If your soul has been dominating your life, then a soul fast may be what you need. Taking a break from social media, for example, helps you distance yourself from the volatile opinions of others and helps you focus on what God says about you. Or maybe, for you, you feel led to do both a body fast and soul fast – do what is best for your situation.
- Expect results. We need to expect miraculous things when we connect with God through fasting. Dieting changes how we look, but fasting changes how we see – and when we see through God’s point of view, amazing things happen. Isaiah 58:8-9 (NIV) says: “Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here I am…” We all desire to experience healing, righteousness, and answer to prayer – and when we fast and connect with God earnestly, that is the harvest we reap.
Get the most out of fasting so that you can experience answers to your prayers that are impactful and meaningful. Remember why you are fasting – not to diet or as a religious act, but because fasting helps us cut out the distractions and the unnecessary noise so that we can draw closer to God in a tangible way. God wants to connect with us, and fasting helps us draw closer to Him and disconnect from the distractions of the world we live in.