Today’s devotional is made up of an excerpt from Paul’s prayer journal. As we take time to come to Jesus and pour out our hearts, He answers. So, what you are about to read reflects a conversation between Paul and the Lord. (Scripture references were added later.)

Within the context of the discussion is some insight and instruction on fasting. As you read, PRAY, and see if He speaks to you, as well…

JESUS: I want to tell you something about the controversial passage (in Matthew 17) regarding “prayer and fasting.” Many have quarreled over that passage, and as you know verse 21 is omitted from several manuscripts.

PAUL: First of all, Lord, is it true?

JESUS: More than ever for your present day. Prayer and fasting creates new connecting points between you and Me. When you fast, deny some aspect of everyday life, whether it’s food, media, etc., your natural senses are suppressed – and that allows your spiritual senses to arise. This creates a more intimate connection between us.

In a way, you are stepping beyond the veil of the natural realm of life and into the spiritual realm. When your spiritual senses become stimulated, your spiritual sensitivity is  awakened to new levels of faith.

PAUL: So prayer and fasting are important in casting out demons, healing the sick, and raising the dead?

JESUS: You bet.

Understand too, that prayer and fasting go hand in hand. If you fast and don’t pray, you are just abstaining from food – and that will produce little, if any, results. Fasting simply opens new connecting points, but if you don’t pray, those connecting points are of  no value.

I am not impressed with fasting when it’s just for the sake of abstaining from food. People do that for a number of reasons: medically, to lose weight, to get their way regarding an issue, and in some cases, to force social action. None of that is of any value when it comes to connecting with Me.

Think about it this way, fasting prepares the way for the coming of the Lord. John the Baptist played a vital role in preparing the hearts of those who would find Me. Fasting prepares your heart to receive more of Me. But don’t just fast – you must pray. You must take the time to pour out your heart and allow Me to speak to you…just as you are doing right now.

PAUL: Okay Father, I see what You are talking about – and I wholeheartedly agree. I have often wondered why people might participate in the fasting but fail to come together to pray. How important is coming together to pray during theses times of fasting?

JESUS: Well, first of all, you know the verse that says, “iron sharpens iron.” (Proverbs 27:17) That is often thought of as an abrasive action – and at times it is. However, the very act of rubbing swords together creates heat – and heat creates fire.

Every revival throughout history was started when two or more people gathered in my name. It’s the spark that ignites the heart.

On the Day of Pentecost, I lit up the disciples one at a time, but it didn’t take long before 3,000 others were set on fire. It only takes a spark to get a fire going…

It is vital that you pray together. The power of unified prayer is the most powerful force in the world. If one can put to flight a thousand and two can put to flight ten thousand in the spiritual realm (Deuteronomy 32:30), just think what a group of ten, twenty, or thirty can do when they pray in unison!

But you must learn to pray in agreement.

I want you to take some time during this fast to unite in prayer for what you envision for this coming year. I want you to approach this on three levels: (1) for individual breakthrough (2) for breakthrough in the church, and (3) to breakthrough the barriers that plague your city.

But here’s the key: You must pray in agreement. (Matthew 18:19)

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