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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Derek Prince » Derek Prince - Jesus Expects Us To Fast

Derek Prince - Jesus Expects Us To Fast

Derek Prince - Jesus Expects Us To Fast

This is an excerpt from: The Secret Power Of Fasting

In this session I'm going to continue with some of the secrets of answered prayer. In fact, I'm going to deal with one specific, major key to effective praying. And although this key is clearly presented throughout the Bible from the Old Testament right through the New, I think the majority of Christians are unaware that it exists. I think the failure to use this key that I'm going to be speaking about is one main source of ineffectiveness in the body of Christ. No doubt you're wondering what the key is. And let me say that when you hear it you're not likely to say praise the Lord.

I want to turn again to the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus is giving instruction about how to pray. I want to take two parallel passages. The first one is in Matthew 6:5-6 and Jesus says: And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites And then He describes how the hypocrites act. And then He says in verse 6: but when you pray, pray in this way. So, He uses the phrase when you pray twice. The first time He starts with a negative. Don't pray like the hypocrites. But He doesn't finish there. He ends with a positive, this is how you ought to pray. And we have actually devoted the last session to analyzing the pattern that He gave us.

But now I want to move on in that same 6th chapter to verses 16 and 17. And here He introduces another dimension of prayer and He says: Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites But He doesn't stop with the negative. A lot of people think that's where He ends. But He goes on in the next verse: but when you fast And then He tells us how to do it in a way that's acceptable to God. I think you can see there's a close parallel between what Jesus says about praying and what He says about fasting. First of all, He says when you fast, then He says don't do it this way, do it that way. But to my way of thinking the phrase when you pray indicates that Jesus expects His disciples to pray.

How many of you would agree that those words indicate Jesus takes it for granted that we as His disciples will pray. He doesn't say if you pray but He says when you pray. And I imagine that most of us here tonight would agree that the Lord expects us as Christians to pray regularly. Is that right? Okay. Now, we go on to the next stage and He doesn't say if you fast, He says when you fast. What does that indicate? It indicates that He expects us to fast in just the same way as He expects us to pray. Is that logical? Are you with me even maybe reluctantly but still, you're with me? Well, don't be reluctant. I agree that the subject of fasting is not easy to say praise the Lord about but I want to tell you, when you discover what's in this subject you will say praise the Lord. You'll say thank you, God, for giving us this key.

See, Jesus' words about praying and about fasting are exactly parallel. When you pray, don't pray this way, but pray that way. When you fast, don't fast this way but fast that way. So, Jesus puts praying and fasting on exactly the same level. My conclusion is that if He expects us to pray He also expects us to fast. And I'm so glad that I have one great predecessor in the ministry that arrived at the same conclusion. Actually, there were many of them. Luther arrived at that conclusion but the one I have in mind is John Wesley. And I read John Wesley's journals years ago, they stirred me and stimulated me. And he said something to this effect: I am persuaded that if a Christian has understood the need to fast and does not practice fasting, he will backslide just as surely as a Christian who has understood the need to pray and does not pray. And John Wesley would not ordain to the Methodist ministry any man who did not commit himself to fast every Wednesday and Friday till 4 p.m. That was a basic requirement for being ordained to the Methodist ministry.

You might say, well, what's the purpose of fasting? Is it just to make life hard for me, to deny me pleasure? My answer would be no. Doubtless there are a number of purposes but I'm going to deal with only one and that is it is a God appointed way to humble ourselves. I will show you this very, very clearly out of scripture. See, the greatest single specific barrier to getting an answer to our prayers is pride. And anything that will get that barrier out of the way will facilitate the answer to our prayers.
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