[Exclusive] Building a House of Prayer, Fasting Prayer

Building a House of Prayer

Eighteen Prayer Models for Approaching God’s Throne

Author | Dr. Joshua Young-Gi Hong

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“One of the most dreaded things for Satan is the prayers of the saints of the church.”—Edwin Chadwick

Fasting Prayer is a prayer of seeking God’s will and a spiritual communion with Him while abstaining from the basic and instinctive human need, eating. This is a desperate prayer to get to God with all our heart.

The Holiest Place for Prayer

I received the calling of God’s as a servant of God through Ja-Shil Choi, who came to my house for a visit when I was in the ninth grade. She laid her hands on me and prayed. She must have thought highly of me because of my eager participation in the home worship service. After the prayer, Sister Choi told me, “You have a special calling for missions.” Her words came to me as God’s powerful Rhema (Hebrew for a spoken word). So, I made a resolution to devote myself to the Lord. Since then, I have never doubted my calling as God’s servant.

Ja-Shil Choi was a successful pastor and prayer warrior. Her powerful prayers were the result of regular exercise of fasting. She established Osan-ri Prayer Mountain with persistent Fasting Prayers. She experienced many miracles of God through her Fasting Prayers in response to various problems. It was Choi’s devoted prayer ministry that made the prayer movement spread throughout South Korea and made Osan-ri Prayer Mountain known to the world. I believe that more research on Sister Choi’s spirituality and leadership is needed.

Over the years, Fasting Prayer lost its appeal in South Korean Christians due to economic prosperity. Other reasons for the decrease in fasting among Christians may be that people are unaware of the benefits of a Fasting Prayer, they do not have a prayer topic, or their passion for God has cooled off. Through many lectures I have given on prayer, I found out that more people than I expected have never fasted and prayed. This shows that the praying life of many Christians is not so enriched and lacks depth.

I experienced a Fasting Prayer for the first time when I was in the fifth grade. By the invitation of my friend’s father, I prayed at Osan-ri Prayer Mountain for three days. From the first evening and until lunchtime of the second day, I was so tired and hungry that I had to lie down. However, with encouragement and help from my friend’s father, I gained strength and was able to finish the three-day Fasting Prayer.

The Fasting Prayer that I experienced then made me realize the love of God deeply even at a young age. I was so touched by God’s grace that I was filled with joy. It is better to participate in a group Fasting Prayer when you are doing it for the first time. It is more difficult to do it alone. If you have children, let them learn how to pray from a young age. Let them experience a Fasting Prayer so they will grow as people of faith. They will learn how to rely on God.

A prayer that lifts our eyes to the Lord makes us have an interest and focus in our life. A Fasting Prayer is to look to the Lord only, give up all our physical satisfaction, and to hold onto God with a do-or-die spirit. Thus, a Fasting Prayer provides a great benefit to the development of our spirituality. Then, when will a Fasting Prayer be effective?

The Holy Place of Prayer 1

Looking for God’s Calling

We can offer a Fasting Prayer in many occasions but especially for God’s ministry. In Matthew 4, Jesus fasts for forty days before He starts His public ministry. Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit through the Fasting Prayer and carried out His ministry by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. If you are looking for a clear guidance from God, a Fasting Prayer can be effective. If you were given God’s calling, you can offer a Fasting Prayer for guidance and confirmation of the calling.

A Fasting Prayer in the Early Church is first seen in the appointment its leaders. It is written in Acts 13 that prophets and teachers were worshiping the Lord and fasting. The Holy Spirit said then, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them” (Acts 13:2). The work was a missionary calling to spread the gospel to the Gentiles. The church leaders at Antioch fasted, prayed, and realized God’s calling for Paul and Barnabas. The church sent Paul and Barnabas off after laying on of hands. For the missionary calling of testifying of the gospel, they fasted and prayed. Starting with the ministry of Paul and Barnabas, the Antioch church became the frontline of global evangelism. Your church also can fast and pray to ask for God’s guidance in the matters of missionary calling and appointing new leaders. A Fasting Prayer can be an important way to achieve God’s calling.

The Holy Place of Prayer 2

The Power of Sincerity

Prayer is very appropriate in times of emergency. The Israelites in Persia were faced with a holocaust because of Haman’s trick. All the Israelites fasted and prayed, and Esther was also fasting and holding onto God. Then, Esther came forward King Xerxes with the courageous attitude of sacrificing her life if necessary. In the end, Haman was put to death and the Israelites experienced the grace of a victory even though they were losing in the beginning.

Nehemiah was also a warrior of faith and Fasting Prayer. He was an appointed official of King Artaxerxes of Persia. Nehemiah heard the news of Jerusalem from an Israelite, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire” (Nehemiah 1:3). Nehemiah sat down weeping for several days upon hearing the news. He then fasted and prayed before the God of heaven (Nehemiah 1:4). Nehemiah prayed in tears for several months and finally received God’s permission to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem.

Fasting Prayer is a prayer of great determination to hold onto God entirely when faced with a grave problem or when making an important decision. Although the Bible did not command us to fast, the Holy Spirit causes us to feel the need for a Fasting Prayer to directly involve in solving our problems. Then, we have to forego all food and hang onto God desperately until the problem is resolved. Thomas Constable said the following in regard to the effectiveness of a Fasting Prayer: “We cannot control God through a Fasting Prayer. A Fasting Prayer reveals to God our deepest desire to have our requests granted. Fasting allows us to concentrate on praying and makes us pray with passionate hope. Our earnest request can influence God’s heart. A persistent prayer is a sign of our faith.”

When you fast and pray with faith and sincerity, the invisible hands of God will begin to move, and the grace of God that you will experience in midst of the problem will make your faith stronger.

The Holy Place of Prayer 3

A Deep Fellowship with God

Fasting matures us spiritually. There are many theological definitions for spirituality. However, I would like to define it simply as “closeness to God.” A deep fellowship means being closer to God. Having spiritual power means God’s power is flowing through us by being close to God.

A Fasting Prayer restrains our covetousness and seeks spiritual meeting and communion with God. There are times when we need God’s Word and prayer more than food (Matthew 4:4). Through a Fasting Prayer, we realize the meaning of Jesus’ teachings, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:4). When I was a senior in a high school (South Korean schools start in March), I fasted and prayed from the first of January to the third of January. Although I prayed to do well on the college entrance examination, I prayed mostly to be God’s warrior of faith. Then, when I was giving a Fasting Prayer, God gave me Lemma, the most important words in my life. They were the words in Joshua 1:5-6—“No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them.” These are the words of God given to Moses’ successor, Joshua. These were words of encouragement to Joshua, who was shaken by fear just before the war to conquer Canaan.

I realized that God granted me an important calling like that of Joshua. Then, I was determined in my heart to go forward with strong and courageous faith. While meditating on these words, I made a resolution to meditate on God’s words only and obey Him, without succumbing to temptation. Since then, my biblical name became Joshua. My Korean name may be Young-Gi Hong, but I introduce myself to non-Koreans as Joshua Hong.

The Fasting Prayer in my senior year at high school gave me a blessing to receive God’s words for life. If you would like to meet God in a deeper dimension, fast and go forward to God with a prayer. You will hear the Lord’s voice and enjoy having fellowship with Him.

The Holy Place of Prayer 4

The Right Attitude for a Fasting Prayer

Then, what kind of attitude should we have to carry out a Fasting Prayer? We have to be aware of the dangers of being conceited. A Fasting Prayer should not be a means of our selfish boast. God commanded the Israelites to fast one day a year on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:30). However, fasting became more of a formality with time. And fasting was often practiced for the purpose of boasting. Jesus stressed that fasting is focusing on God and the intimate relationship between you and Him. The focus of a fast is not on yourself. “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full” (Matthew 6:16). There should be the right motive to love God to fast properly.

The fruit of repentance and fasting will be clearly shown when you repent with sincerity. The Israelites fasted physically, but their lives did not change to follow God’s will. To them, fasting was only a religious ritual. They oppressed the hungry and the poor and fought against one other. Thus, the Prophet Isaiah emphasized in the Old Testament that fasting should be accompanied by pious love for neighbors: “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?” (Isaiah 58:6-7).

The fruit of repentance through fasting must be evident in our relationship with our neighbors. If we fast while persisting in arrogance and stubbornness, fasting will degenerate to a simple religious routine. The spirit of fasting is Jesus’ spirit of sacrifice on the Cross. That is the spirit of loving God and neighbors with tears.

Fasting is not a commandment specified in the Bible. In the New Testament, there are such commandments as “receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit” and “pray continually.” However, there is no commandment like “fast and pray regularly.” This shows that fasting is not a duty of Christians but a freedom of choice. When you fast, you must accompany it with prayer. Aside from the abstinence of food, prayer is significant in fasting. The Bible mentions various fasting periods—forty days of Fasting Prayer (Exodus 34:28; Matthew 4:2), three weeks of Fasting Prayer (Daniel 10:2-3), seven days of Fasting Prayer (1 Samuel 31:13), three day of Fasting Prayer (Esther 4:16; Acts 9:9), and such. The Bible continually stresses that the inner motive and attitude are more important than the outward behavior. Thus, it is very important to undergo fasting with the right attitude.

The Holy Place of Prayer 5

Practical Method for Fasting Prayer

If there is a desire in your heart to practice Fasting Prayer, it is a good idea to prepare for it with prayer. We have to pray so that we can experience God’s grace and power through Fasting Prayer. If there is a special objective for prayer, we have to offer a preparatory prayer to ask for God’s answer. A preparatory fasting is needed before delving into a Fasting Prayer. In other words, decrease the amount of food intake gradually. During the preparatory prayer, it helps to get rid of all parasites in your body (especially, if you have been overseas). It is very beneficial to clean your stomach and intestines before and during fasting.

When you embark on fasting, it is a good idea to drink water often. Water restores vitality and washes away toxins from your body. It is better to drink many servings in small quantity than to drink servings in large quantity all at once. If you don’t drink water, you will be dehydrated. During fasting, you should abstain from heavy exercise or labor. It seems that time slows down during fasting. For this reason, you need to take a walk, read the Bible, or engage in reading for pleasure. During fasting, the metabolites are burned and discharge. A unique odor is generated. Thus, it is a good idea to take a bath in lukewarm water and brush your teeth often.

Breaking the fast is also very important. When the fasting ends, you will have a huge appetite. You have to resist such temptation. We have to start the make-up diet for the same period as that of fasting. In other words, if you fasted for three days, then you will need to take make-up meals for three days as a rule of thumb. If you fasted for a week, then you have to tend yourself to a make-up diet plan for a week. Extreme care is required here because there have been reported cases of people losing their lives due to improper food intake after fasting. During this make-up diet period, you should avoid hard food and meats. Satan’s temptation often creeps in after fasting. Satan tempts you to think that it was your righteousness that helped you complete the fast. Often, a miraculous power is shown from people who completed their Fasting Prayer. However, Satan wants to use you as an instrument of arrogance and boast in order to drive you away from God.

Jesus himself was tempted by Satan right at the end of the forty days of fasting. After completing your Fasting Prayer successfully, you should be on guard against an attack and temptation from Satan.

Checkpoint of Prayer

This must be emphasized: A Fasting Prayer should not be a matter of pride. The length of a Fasting Prayer is not proportional to your spiritual maturity. A Fasting Prayer should be followed by total repentance. A prayer without repentance is of no use even if it is a Fasting Prayer. Those who totally confess and atone for their sins before coming forward to God can accomplish the objective of a Fasting Prayer.

Sweet Rain of Grace

Fasting Prayer is good for your body, soul, and spirit. Fasting removes metabolites that are otherwise hardly driven out of body under normal circumstances. Additionally, it clears your thinking and increases your concentration. However, the more important thing is a spiritual blessing. We can come near to God through our Fasting Prayer and receive God’s consolation and power. Our life changes, our problems are solved, and a miracle happens. Fasting Prayer is an important prayer training model, which we need to experience at least several times a year to be equipped spiritually.

Praying Time

It is a good idea to try out Fasting Prayer just for one day. Then, we can lengthen the duration of Fasting Prayer by three days, a week, and so on. Of course, we need to pray to God during this fasting period. Remember fasting is a way to offer an effective prayer to God. Only then can it be a Fasting Prayer that is guided and blessed by God.

Closed Prayer Room

  • Fasting Prayer is a prayer of seeking God’s will and having spiritual communion with God while abstaining from a basic and instinctive need of humans, eating.
  • Examples of a Fasting Prayer
    >> Lord, please have my old being crucified on the Cross and change me into a new being of righteousness, truth, and love in the Holy Spirit through this Fasting Prayer.
  • My Fasting Prayer:
  • The Order of a Fasting Prayer
    >> Praise (Hymn or Chorus)
    >> Confession of Thanksgiving
    >> Reading a prepared Fasting Prayer
    >> Carrying out the Fasting Prayer
  • Self-illumination
    >> Did I think that the duration of my Fasting Prayer was the yardstick of my spiritual maturity?
    >> Did I repent of my sins before practicing a Fasting Prayer?
    >> Have I succeeded in being transformed into a Christian who loves neighbors through a Fasting Prayer?
    >> Am I resisting and winning over the temptation by Satan at the end of a Fasting Prayer?

One Last Word on Fasting Prayer

The prayer that lifts our eyes to the Lord makes us have the best interest and focus in our life.

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