MEMORY VERSE: Howbeit this kind goeth not but by prayer and fasting”(Matthew 17:21).

TEXTS: Luke 11:1-13: Esther 4:1-17; James 5:13-13.

The subject of prayer and fasting is very vital for successful Christian living and service.

As no individual can continue to live without breathing, so no Christian can remain spiritually alive without praying and making use of the benefits of fasting. 

The Bible has much to say on the subject.

Fasting accomplishes a good number of things in the life of the believer.

These include chastening and humbling the soul before God (Psalms 35:13:; 69:10).

Crucifying the appetite to give time to seek the Lord (2 Samuel 12:16-23).

And focusing one’s attention on God to the exclusion of all else(1 Corinthians 7:5).

it aids in temptation (Matthew 4:1-11).

It  helps in exercising power over demons (Matthew 17:14-21).

It makes prayer powerful and effective.

NECESSITY OF PRAYER AND FASTING (Exodus 22:23: Matthew 7:7-11; Psalms 27:8; 42:1,2:; Isaiah 55:6,7; Matthew 6:16; 17:21)

✓ From Bible references, prayer means communing with God. 

✓ It is a cry or supplication to God (Exodus 22:23),


✓ An appeal from a child to the Father (Matthew 6:6).

✓ An instinct that must have utterance (Luke 18:7,13).

✓ Beseeching or calling on the Lord (Exodus 32:11; Acts 7:59).

✓ Lifting up or pouring out the heart to Him (Psalm 62:8), 

✓ Seeking the face of the Lord (Psalm 27:8),

✓ The soul’s desire for God (Psalm 42:1,2).

Though prayer should be the most natural thing for believers, the flesh  sometimes is unwilling to pray.

This Is Why God has found it necessary to give express instructions concerning it in the Scripture. 

There are various commands to pray in both the Old and New Testaments. 

All men are commanded to seek the Lord

and the wicked is enjoined to forsake his ways in prayer of repentance (Isaiah 55:6,7). 

As believers, we are enjoined to ask, seek and knock and to pray without ceasing

Matthew 7:7-1 1)  Thessalonians 5:17).


(1 Timothy 2:8; Psalms 5:3; 88:1; 55:17; Luke 6:12, Daniel 6:10; Exodus 34:28; Luke 4:2; 2:36,37; Acts 13:2; Jeremiah 29:11-14; 33:3; 2 Chronicles 7:14; John 14:13,14; Psalm 91:14,15).

The Scripture makes it clear that we can pray

everywhere and every time (1 Timothy 2:8). 

We have examples and pointers to the appropriateness of praying daily – 

in the morning Psalm 5:3), 

at night and during the day (Psalm 88:1; Luke 6:12), thrice daily (Psalm

55:17; Daniel 6:10), and without ceasing (1

Thessalonians 5:17). 

God expects every believer to be constant in prayer as this is the magnet that attracts

His power on our lives when we exercise it in faith and righteousness. 

However, prayer becomes more effective

when combined with fasting.

Different categories of people – kings, prophets, saints ;sinners, men, women and children – fasted in the Old Testament and received answers. 

Examples of such people include Moses (Exodus 34:28),

> Ahab (1 Kings 21:27), Ezra (Ezra 10:6), 

>Daniel (Daniel 10:3), 

> our Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 4:2), 

> Paul the apostle (Acts 9:9), 

> the Antioch church leaders (Acts 13:2), 

> Paul and Barnabas (Acts 14:23), etc. 

Those who observed it according to

God’s pattern had answers from Him .

And the exercise strengthened their individual lives and ministries.

Changed the course of events, brought God’s mercy, granted them favour and overthrew the counsel of the enemy. 

When we also observe it in line with God’s

command and word, we shall get even greater results.

Various passages of the Scripture radiate with God’s promises to answer our prayers (Psalm 91:15; Luke 11:9; John 14:13,14). 

But it is also clear that the only form of

Prayer that God answers must be offered to the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 6:6; John 16:23,24; Ephesians 3:14; Matthew 18:20). 

✓. We are enjoined to pray continually.

✓ In faith (Mark 11:24),

✓ Wholeheartedly (Jeremiah 29:13), 

✓ With forgiving spirit (Mark 11:25), 

✓ With perseverance (Luke 18:1), 

✓ In righteousness and obedience (1 Timothy 2:8; 1 John 3:22).

However, praying without repentance and salvation from sin, without transformation of life and character, without righteousness, holiness and purity is a waste of time. 

Righteousness is very important in our lives.

Whatever Christian activities we are engaged in, if our heart is not right with God, our prayers will not be answered. 

The religious sacrificial activity of the wicked

is an abomination to the Lord. 

Righteousness is our power in prayer. 

Other causes of unanswered prayers


✓ Disobedience (Deuteronomy 1:43,45), 

✓ Secret sin (Psalm 66:18), 

✓ Neglect of mercy (Proverbs 21:13),

✓ Stubbornness (Zechariah 7:13), 

✓ Blood guiltiness (Isaiah


✓Doubt (James 1:6,7).

✓ Self-indulgence (James 4:3)-


When it comes to proper posture in prayer, there are no hard and fast rules to assume before we can pray to our Father in heaven. 

The Bible reveals various positions

including bowing down, bowing the knees or the head (Psalm 95:6: Romans 14:11; Exodus 4:31), 

falling on one’s face, kneeling (1 Kings 8:54), standing, sitting , lying, looking up or lifting up or spreading out the hands (1 Timothy 2:8; Exodus 9:29) .

Other forms include weeping, talking, agonising and groaning. 

It is expected that one would close one’s eyes while praying to avoid distractions. 

Closing one’s eyes in prayer enables us to

get rid of all things that can prevent us from

Concentrating fully on the Lord.

BENEFITS OF SCRIPTURAL FASTING (Isaiah 58:3- 14; Matthew 6:16-18; 17:19-2 1; 2 Chronicles 7:14).

Fasting is a scriptural, beneficial, spiritual exercise that can accomplish great things when used in combination with prayer and faith.

 Basically, fasting means abstinence from food – solid or liquid. 

Fasting is not optional. It is imperative (Matthew 6:16). 

The Lord Jesus Christ taught the disciples that it is a necessary and rewarding exercise that He expects them to be involved in (Matthew 9:15).

It also helps when one is worried (Daniel 6:18), 

under judgement (1 Kings 21:27), 

in need or in danger (ezra 8:21; Esther 4:16), 

in trouble (Acts 27:9,33) or

 when ministering (Acts 13:1-3). 

That fasting complements believers’ prayer is revealed in the case of a demon possessed man whom the disciples could not help

(Matthew 17:19-21). 

When they asked the Lord why they were unable to cast out the devil, He said, “this

kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” 

Esther was a woman who believed strongly in prayer a fasting. 

When the life of the entire Jewish nation was in danger as a result of the evil which Hanman was determined to carry out, she and her people resorted to fasting and seeking the face of God. 

She said to Mordecai: “Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens wil fast likewise: and so willI go in unto

the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16). 

Through this singular act and total dependence on God, Esther and all the

Jews were saved from the plot of Haman. 

This is a lesson for indolent and gluttonous believers who cannot set aside a day to pray and fast to develop their spiritual muscle so as to deliver the oppressed world.

Extremely long fasting that can affect our health and usefulness should be avoided (1 Samuel 14:24-28). 

But it is scriptural to fast for as long as our physical strength can carry us.

If only believers and Christian workers will practise the scriptural principles of fasting and praying, we are sure to enjoy the fullness of heaven’s blessings on a continual basis. 

Fasting and prayer are invaluable

means of grace, victory and inestimable spiritual blessings.

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