Prayer for the Sick: Fasting?
Prayer alone with the Father was a normal part of life for Jesus. It enabled him to be receptive to instructions as he attested when he said, “the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do” (John 5:19). So, as he triumphed over temptation in the wilderness, we now observe in the annual 40 days of Lent. How does fasting feel for you? What do you discipline yourself toward, or what do you abstain from? It need not be confined to the Lenten season.
The purpose of fasting is to learn how to be sustained through prayer and communion with God. When this habit is well-established, then our spirit is more easily receptive and discerning of the quickened Word of God. As intercessors, we can be enabled to speak life and healing prophetically through our prayers for the sick.
I believe this is what sets apart the great healers of our time. Most of them admit to spending significant time in prayer. Then during the healing sessions, the virtue of God flows through them. And what happens for them is possible for us also. The Apostle Paul advises us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18), and that can be done when we are out and about with our daily tasks. But there is also a devoted kind of prayer that requires focus. It can include biblical meditation.
In any case, there must be a time of listening during prayer, waiting for God to speak to us. If you do not sense anything, it’s OK to move ahead with your next activity. But rest assured that God will respond in his own time and in his own way. I have received messages from the television and from books, in addition to people. Sometimes there is simply a sudden “knowing” about something. This comes from relationship and it is especially encouraging during healing prayer.
Finally, Jesus tells us that when we pray (and also fast), we must do it without great fanfare (Matthew 6:5-6). Effective prayer for the sick is not for exhibition purposes. Indeed, sometimes you might choose to pray silently, or under your breath, so as not to seem conspicuous in certain settings. When preparing for healing prayer sessions, I tend to eat very lightly for three days in advance, and I eat nothing before the prayer session itself. Then I trust and believe that Holy Spirit is doing what’s necessary. You might try this to see how it fits your experience.
The practice of fasting can take various forms. It may not always apply to food although that is the most frequent application.
Here are some resources you might find useful for ideas:
- Fasting for Breakthrough and Deliverance – Kindle Edition
- The Hidden Power of Prayer and Fasting – Kindle Edition
- Fasting: Opening the door to a deeper, more intimate, more powerful relationship with God
- The Daniel Fast: Feed Your Soul, Strengthen Your Spirit, and Renew Your Body
- The Daniel Fast Workbook: A 5-Week Guide for Individuals, Groups, and Churches
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