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A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

Have you ever watched a little baby eat? Picture the newborn baby nursing, or as a toddler experiencing new texture sensations with each incoming spoonful. At these stages, a child is dependent on mother and father for everything pertaining to sustenance and thriving. Individually, a fasting lifestyle teaches us to ‘eat’ like a child, as we learn to depend more poignantly on the Father. As a community, fasting opens us up to God’s Spirit.[1]

Receiving God’s presence

From the dawn of creation God made man to be with Him.  We were made to dwell, and even to reign, with Him.  He made His habitation with man and intended this habitation to increase in intimacy.  But, the place of God’s habitation must be holy, for God can have no association with darkness. Psalm 89:14 says, “Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.”  Sin absolutely prohibits union with a just God; but how rich in mercy is God’s provision of Himself as a Habitation of refuge (Psalm 91:1). We see this Provision fully in Christ. Solomon built a physical temple (2 Chronicles 6:2) that he thought would be everlasting.  But the true Son who would build the everlasting temple for God would be His obedient Son.  Only in Jesus – Faithful and True- who knew, loved, and obeyed His Father perfectly, are we being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit (Ephesians 2:22).

Individually, we prepare our hearts before God repenting of sin, aligning with the Word of God, and seeking God’s heart through the revelation of the Son. Corporately we become a dwelling place for God by being filled with the Spirit together continually (Ephesians 5:18).  When Jesus prayed that we would be one as the Father and He are one, and that we would be with Him, He meant we would be members of one another under Christ, submitting to one another in love, sharing the measures of grace He’s given each one, edifying one another, and maturing together as the place where God delights to dwell.

Like a Bride preparing for her Bridegroom

God desires intimacy; just look at His chosen metaphor of the Bridegroom coming for His Bride, taking her to His dwelling, reigning with Him forever. Sound like a Cinderella fairy tale? I don’t think it’s coincidental that the longings in this redemptive bridal theme run through fiction and nonfiction alike. This longing runs deep, too, in every human heart.

So as children of God, brought into a large family and nourished with Christ, the loving Bridegroom, as Head, we must cultivate hearts fit for the reign of our King.  We do this by receiving His gospel Life and seeking first His Kingdom and His glory to be manifest in ours.  Talking with our Lord is an important way we can know His heart: praising Him (He inhabits the praises of His people), crying out (as a Father, he hears and acts on our behalf), listening to His heart, and following where His Spirit guides.  God is looking for people who He can entrust with His presence.

Fasting is not merely the absence of food. The fasting lifestyle is depending on the food the Father has provided in Christ’s body, which prepares us to be built together into a dwelling place for God. Dependence on our Father above and unity with Christ our Savior are the twin pillars that sustain us during every fast. That is what we are strengthening and building and learning, because that is the foundation that secures us in times of trouble and on which rests the hope of our hearts.

Take some time to meditate on these Scriptures and feel free to journal around the themes of dependence, repentance, unity, dwelling place, hunger and satisfaction, communion with God and others.

John heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God….Behold, I am making all things new…I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God, and he will be my son” [excerpts from Revelation 21]. And there will be a Marriage Supper for all time!

[1] Bickle, Mike.  The Rewards of Fasting: Experiencing the Power and Affections of God.  Kansas City: Forerunner, 2005.

Asha Garrettson
Ministry Fellow at Harvard Law