By Jolly Mokorosi
A man of God once said in a sermon, “fasting decreases the physical man and increases the spiritual man”. Faced with a well known reputable business provider who was acting dishonourably and able to hide the evidence of this, I recalled these words when I needed to do battle against this Goliath. It seemed like there was no way out. I felt like I was facing the walls of Jericho without the armies of Israel behind me.
A protracted on and off tug of war had exhausted me. I had spent a few minutes here and there praying about the matter but eventually I had just had enough. Looking at my calendar it felt like I could not afford the time but I knew there was little hope outside of divine intervention. One day I grabbed my bible and called out to God in earnest through much of the night. By morning I was at peace and went to work as usual.
When I arrived in the office I had barely had my first cup of coffee when the business provider called and confessed to wrongdoing and offered to rectifying wrongs at their expense. I was speechless. God’s hand had moved mightily. In addition I realised again that periods of fasting and reverent prayer open my eyes and increase my awareness of what is happening around me. During these times God typically speaks to me about situations and people, showing me His unmerited favour. Not that He does not speak daily but His voice is so much clearer during these periods.
How I journeyed to this point
I was not always so confident in God’s ability or willingness to answer my prayers. As a woman I am often guilty of putting the needs of others before mine. This goes from making sure everyone else is well fed, clothed, loved and even prayed for before I acknowledge that I have needs. One day I required God’s intervention and reached the point where there was not much to lose by asking. I was a bit taken aback when I poured out my woes to the Lord this scripture came:
17 Then one of the crowd answered and said, “Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. 18 And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not.”…….. 28 And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” 29 So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” Mark 9: 17, 28 and 29
Oh the fear in my heart this word brought. God was telling me if I wanted to answer that prayer I would need to pray and fast about it! How could the Almighty God be telling me to fast and pray over something as ‘unholy’ as work and career?
The discipline of fasting was not the issue. I had strong Catholic influences in my upbringing that encouraged a minimum of one fast a year, the period during Lent. This practice has followed me most of my life but I felt awkward telling people I was fasting and even worse if they asked me what I was fasting for and it turned out to be something as ‘unholy’ as my career or work. I would drown my prayer needs with the many requests other people had and try to sneak mine in unnoticed when I remembered them. After a while it became apparent that there was a problem.
On the advice of a mentor I took some baby steps and found a friend who I could hold up in prayer and fast for while she did the same for me. This felt comfortable for a while because it meant I was praying for someone else not me and my prayer needs were also being attended to. But this comfort stemmed from a false belief in a distant god that was interested in fulfilment of the prayers and supplications of others but not mine. I felt like if two or more were gathered to ask God for something He would be cornered into granting the requests and if He didn’t it would be exposed that He was not really for me. As a mom you might recognise the same manipulative strategy being used by your children. Praise God this is not true of God’s desire for anyone and whilst the bible instructs us to pray with others it is explicit about also requiring us to pray alone.
After a long journey to heal many false beliefs I have grown significantly in this area. Today I am able to, with gratitude, make my own prayers known to God without going through a third party. I still partner with others when praying but this time they are there to help me stay the course and remain accountable. These prayer partners do not take the place of our wonderful advocate, Jesus Christ.
Be blessed as you fast and make your prayers know with gratitude and faith.