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A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

I hope you are all encouraged in this time of fasting and experiencing God's presence ever more fully, even as the stomach growls increase. More than anything, I hope that you have found yourself humbled by God as you've set yourself to the practice of righteousness in this fast. Today I'd like to concentrate on the concept of humility as the greatest fruit of any given fast. This is the manner in which we speak of fasting when it comes to a seeking-God lifestyle and a necessary reminder at this point in the fast.

The Scriptures repeatedly tell us that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (cf. James 4:6-10). In Isaiah 57:15 God says, "I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite" (see also Isaiah 66:1, 2). This great God, who is above all earthly powers, loves to draw especially close to those who willingly humble themselves before Him. This is what makes fasting so powerful. Again and again, fasting is spoken of as an act that especially humbles us before God (cf. Joel 1:14; 2:12, 15).

Here's why: by going without our most basic need for a set amount of time, we declare to God that He is more significant than any worldly resource. At the same time, we learn that He can sustain us as we do what our bodies most obstinately resist. We declare to our own bodies that there is something more important and significant to us than meeting its (our body's) needs. This is a powerful step in acknowledging to God our utter dependence on Him for all things. It takes that declaration beyond mere words and actually cultivates the dependence we are declaring by our fast. Put simply, fasting both declares and develops the humility that draws God especially close to His people.

As God draws close to us in our humility, the implications are almost inevitably profound. Fasting often produces: fervency in prayer as our desperation for God increases (cf. Acts 13:2), freedom from besetting sins as our flesh is aggressively silenced (Galatians 6:8; Romans 8:13), clear insight into God's will (cf. Acts 14:23) and dramatic intervention in circumstances. I hope one – or maybe all! – of those possibilities resonates with your experience this week and in the weeks/months to come.

This is the potential for a fast, so as this time progresses I simply want to say: Persevere! Our God is not slow in keeping His promises to those who humble themselves!

Scott Jones
Ministry Fellow at Princeton