Fasting and intercession go hand in hand. For anyone who has felt the burden of lifting a loved one up in prayer, fasting can certainly add fervor and frequency to your prayers! In Matthew 17, the disciples were puzzled as to why they were powerless to drive the demon away from the afflicted boy. Jesus did it and then spoke to them of their faith. He also included these words at the end of their questioning in verse 29: “but this kind does not go out but by prayer and fasting.”
When we are praying against a particular stronghold or addiction in our life or the life of a loved one, we need to be armed for battle. Our prayers will be effective for the situation when we are exercising our faith for God’s ability to deliver, our subjection to His purpose and will, and our steadfastness to entreat HIs help. Fasting increases our reliance on Him in moments of physical weakness and need, and turns our mind to active prayer. It is in these moments we feel most intensely armed for battle.
It is important to be a clean vessel oneself if praying for the deliverance of another. Spend some time in prayer asking the Holy Spirit to reveal areas of sin that might inhibit your prayers from being effective. Then, ask the Holy Spirit to specifically reveal to you the ways you need to be interceding. What should you be praying FOR? What should you be praying AGAINST? Make sure you ask for covering and protection for yourself as well as for the one for whom you are praying. The enemy will not be happy to lose ground in another’s life. The battle may be fierce and long, depending on the type, length, and degree of the stronghold you are praying against. Make sure you have taken up the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) and are working in a place of prayers fueled by the Holy Spirit.
Why weren’t the disciples able to deliver the boy from the demon? Jesus indicates their lack of faith and lack of preparation. Prayer and fasting, plus faith are the necessary ingredients for intercessory battle! Do not lose heart or grow weary in it, either. Ask yourself, who else in this person’s world is praying for them? For their deliverance from evil? For their protection by God? You may be the only one! Your job then is critical. Keep at it. Fast and pray and have faith that He is a deliverer! If it is a need you can share with another prayer partner, enlist their help as well. Praying in unity for someone is very powerful. It adds to our persistence and allows another person to be blessed in the process.
Answered prayer is one of the greatest motivators to seeking more answers in prayer. Don’t give up and don’t give in. We will see great answers to our prayers if we choose a path of consistency, humility, faith, and asking Him to constantly lead and guide us in the specific needs for which to pray. His Spirit is constantly speaking to His children to reveal what and for whom to pray! Will you be one of His faithful prayer warriors to listen and respond?