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A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

"I humbled my soul with fasting."
-King David (Psalm 69:10)

As King David implied, fasting is a time for us to humble ourselves before the Lord, whereby we can set aside all confidence that we have in our flesh and rightly confess to Him – and to ourselves – the severity of our spiritual depravity. 

Upon entering this fast, we prepared for the sins hidden within us – jealousy, bitterness, anxiety, fear, and the like – to enter the forefront of our minds and hearts. As we discussed, God uses fasting to show us what He sees in us, namely, as Christian Union Ministry Fellow James Fields pointed out on Day 3, our "unfiltered hearts" (1 Samuel 16:7). I would like to encourage you, while bodily and spiritual deficiencies are illuminated more vividly to you in this time of fasting to 1.) seize the opportunity to be healed and set free from deep-rooted strongholds and to 2.) stand amazed in the grace that has been poured out upon you through Christ.

In a previous fast, I recognized my need for healing and liberation from the bondage of sin when the Lord placed Matthew 6:16 on my heart: "When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others." He used this verse to convict me of my desire to showcase to my Christian friends my growing commitment to fasting. I had no idea that "spiritual self-righteousness" of this form resided within me, but I'm amazed at how God used the fast as a way to work it out of me.

In regards to the strongholds that are often displayed to us in times of fasting, theologian Richard Foster says, "We can rejoice...because we know that healing is available through the power of Christ." Has the Lord been using this fast to show you strongholds and sins in your life? If so, have you confessed them and allowed Him to heal and restore the damage that they may have done in you?

It is tempting to believe, especially in this fasting season when we are confronted by our fallen nature, that our identity is not secure in Christ. This time of fasting presents us with yet another opportunity to stand firm upon the promises that Christ is in us, that He has begun a good work in us, and that He will bring that good work to completion (Philippians 1:6). Therefore, when we see our wretchedness during our fast, we should not fall on our knees in despair, but rather fall on our knees in awe of the people He is transforming us to be – co-heirs with Christ! (Romans 8:17).

Have you been feeling defeated by sin areas in your life this week? Or are you viewing those sin areas as reasons to repent and rejoice in the promises that Christ has for you?

Maria Greshock
Ministry Fellow at Princeton