“But the days will come when the Bridegroom will be taken away from them; then they will fast in those days.” Luke 5:35 (NKJV)
An empty plate. An empty tea cupp. What is happening here? It must be time for fasting, giving up food and beverages while praying.
Sometimes God calls us to fast. I’m reminded of this every year when I read the book of Esther. In this great history, we see how God allowed Esther to become queen to save her people, the Jews, from annihilation. When Esther realized this was her duty, she asked her maids and others to pray and fast with her (Esther 4:16). For three days and nights they had no food or water. The end result was God saved the Jews.
One might wonder what to do during a three day fast. Should we pour out our hearts to Jesus on day one? What about days two and three? While there is no right way to pray and fast, we can find a good plan in 2 Chronicles 20. In this this history, King Jehoshaphat learns of an impending battle with his enemies. He declares a fast for all Judah. During the fast, there are three parts to his prayers:
1) Exalt: “O Lord God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You? 2 Chronicles 20:6 (NKJV)
2) Claim God’s Promises: …You will hear and save….the battle is not yours, but God’s. 2 Chronicles 20:9,15 (NKJV)
3) Petition: O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You. 2 Chronicles 20:12 (NKJV)
What if we use this formula for a three-day fast? The first day we exalt Jesus, praising Him for being our Savior. The second day, we claim God’s promises, underlining and repeating them from our Bibles. And the third day, we pour out our hearts to Jesus, asking for help with whatever trouble we are facing. Even Queen Esther went to see the king on the third day of fasting. She found favor in his sight as he asked, “What is your petition?” (Esther 5:1-7)
On the evening of the third day, we must open our ears and listen, for God will give us our call: ... Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord… 2 Chronicles 20:17 (NKJV)
Today’s TEA CUPP: Is God calling you to fast for a time? Is there something big in your life that needs more than a little prayer? I encourage you to try this three day fast and let God do His amazing miracles. Then you can go forth singing.
So we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayers. Ezra 8:23 (NKJV)