Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rearward (Isaiah 58:6-8).
We understand from scriptures that spiritual exercise, which includes prayer and fasting, is profitable in all things as it impacts on every aspect of our lives. We must also understand that fasting is one of the commandments of scriptures designed for our profiting, not punishment (Matthew 6:16; 1 Timothy 4:7-8).
However, to set the stage for a most profitable engagement in prayer and fasting, we must note the following:
Prepare in the Word to approach the prayer altar: The throne of grace is the throne of judgment where the Judge of all the earth (God) is seated. It is also the courtroom of heaven where we produce our cause in prayers. As it is written: Produce your cause, saith the Lord; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob (Isaiah 41:21; see also Genesis 18:25).
However, it is on the basis of God’s Word that we plead our cause. This is because He grants us audience on the basis of His Word. Therefore, the stronger our reasons, the more assurance we have for answered prayers. No wonder the Bible says:
Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified (Isaiah 43:26).
We must understand that engaging God’s Word in prayer guarantees us audience with Him. This is why it is important to prepare in the Word before approaching God on the prayer altar because it is the scriptural basis for our demand that gives us audience with him. That means God does not hear our prayers except we are asking Him according to His will, which is His Word. The Bible says:
And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us (1 John 5:14).
For instance, the will of a man is his written document on what pertains to his children after he is gone. Likewise, God’s Word which is Kingdom legal tender is His will for His children and God cannot deny Himself. When we pray according to His will, we remind Him of His commitment to us on the subject matter. Therefore, preparing in the Word to approach the prayer altar is wisdom because we rule and reign by the Word.
When we are adequately Word-prepared, prayer becomes a smooth adventure. This is why Word-lazy people don’t get much out of prayer. Thus, we have a duty to search through scriptures for what commits God to answer our requests in prayer.
Genuinely forgive those who offend us: Jesus said: And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses (Mark 11:25-26; see also Matthew 6:12-15).
We must be willing to forgive those who offend us because it qualifies us for automatic forgiveness with God. Moreover, if our trespasses are not forgiven, God’s hand cannot deliver answers to our prayers. Therefore, it is very important to willingly forgive, so we can clear the way for our own forgiveness and secure audience with God on the prayer altar (Isaiah 59:1-2).
Engage in praying for the needs of others: This is one of the facilitators of the heavyweight profiting we access in fasting. When we pray for the needs of others, we commit God to the release of ours. For instance, when Job prayed for his friends, in spite of his affliction, the Lord turned his captivity and gave him twice as much as he had before (Job 42:10).