Fasting With Prayer
The hearts and spirit are equipped for the conflict with satanic power by prayer and fasting. The spirit grows strong through use. If prayer is neglected, the spirit flags. Nothing can take the place of fasting and prayer.
Some are so busy in Christian work they can give no time to prayer and so are powerless.
What would you think of a woodman who declared he was too busy felling trees to sharpen his axe? It is in prayer that the inner victory is gained over the enemy before he is faced in the open. He who grapples with the foe on his knees before he stands up to face him, finds him already beaten and the victory won.
If we are to keep a keen, alert, strong spirit, there are some things that must be denied – things that are right in themselves, but which have dulling, deadening influence upon the spirit. It is here the heart must be disciplined. There are longings in the heart for legitimate things, which if yielded to will take the keen edge off the spirit life and unfit us for a more fruitful and effectual work for God.
The importance of fasting in order to overcome satanic power is clearly seen in Revelation 12:11. “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”
It is the love of our lives that weakens our spirits, and makes us unfit for the fight.
No great achievement is obtained without sacrifice. When one thinks of the discipline and training necessary for those climbers who attempt Mount Everest in order to fit them to endure the hardships involved in their effort to overcome the great mountain, one gets some idea of the thought expressed here of loving not our lives even unto death.
In the case of mountaineers the slightest self-indulgence lessens their chances of success. Even so our fight for mastery with the supernatural powers of darkness calls for the greatest possible demand upon our spiritual strength, and any unfitness lessens our chances of final victory. So few of us know what spiritual discipline means. “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” – that is, full-grown sons.
The natural life must be denied if the Spirit is to be obeyed and union with Christ maintained. It is the self-denial which constitutes true fasting and gives “spiritual strength and endurance” which can “stand in the evil day and having done all stand” until Satan is forced to yield.
The early Church conceived of their life as a military service under the heavenly General who supplied them with His own armor. Prayer was their watch they had to keep; sin and Satan the enemy; the heavenly Fatherland the kingdom to be attained and eternal bliss the wreath of victory (Eph. 6:10-18).