March 22
‘However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.’ Matthew 17:21 (NKJV)
Bible reading: Zechariah 7:1-14 (Go to the Bible passage)
People approached Zechariah with the question whether they should fast at the appointed time as they had done the past seventy years. Zechariah did not answer according to his own views, but he waited for an answer of the Lord.
God knows the hearts of his children, and God’s answer strikes us, as believers, deep in our hearts: ‘When you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves?’(:6). Maybe we think that eating and drinking have nothing to do with fasting, but in God's eyes they are closely linked. For if we eat and drink for ourselves, our fasting will be for ourselves too.
God does not want us to live a divided life: a big slice for ourselves and a tiny piece for God. Eating and drinking are identical with daily life, because when we are not eating and drinking, we are working for our livelihood. And if our daily lives are not devoted to God, we must not think that our prayers, our fasting and our religious services have anything to do with serving God. If our carnival has nothing to do with God, our fasting has not either. Then the heavens will remain closed when we pray and our fasting only makes us hungry so that our hearts long more for bread than for God.
But if our daily lives are characterized by our walk with God in true justice, mercy and compassion (:9), then the heavens are open, then we live in constant communion with God and we acknowledge Him in all our ways. Therefore - each of us personally and in our life together - let us lift up our hearts to God in eating and fasting, for then the darkness will flee before us!
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