“And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief…Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” — Matthew 17:20-21.
Our Lord here teaches us that a life of faith requires both prayer and fasting. That is, prayer grasps the power of heaven, fasting loosens the hold of earthly pleasure.
Jesus Himself fasted to get strength to resist the devil. He taught His Disciples that even as with prayer and almsgiving, fasting should be in secret, and The Heavenly Father would reward openly. Abstinence from food, or temperance in taking it, helps to strengthen the soul for communion and communication with God.
Let us learn this great lesson that abstinence, temperance, and self-denial in temporal things, is a help to the spiritual life. After having partaken of a hearty meal, one does not feel much desire to pray. To willingly sacrifice our own pleasure, or bodily enjoyment, and to subdue the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, will help to set our minds more fully on heavenly things. The very exertion needed in overcoming the desires of the flesh will give us strength to take hold of God in prayer.
This great lesson is this. Our dullness in prayer comes from our fleshly desire of comfort and ease. Those who are in Christ have crucified the flesh and its desires. Prayer is no easy work. It may easily become a mere form. For the real practice of prayer, and taking hold of God, and having communion with Him, it is necessary that all that can please the flesh must be sacrificed and given over to death.
Beloved Christian, do believe that it is worth any trouble to deny ourselves daily, in order to meet The Holy God, and receive from Him heavenly blessings.
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