The early church knew the value of fasting. Twice fasting is mentioned in Acts 13:2-3: "While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting the Holy Spirit said, 'Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.'
"So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off."
This last verse says "they" sent them off. The next verse adds that the two were "sent on their way by the Holy Spirit." The Holy Spirit and the people were moving as one when fasting was combined with prayer.
Fasting is often a great element of success in intercession. It gains us no merit, but it is an act of obedience with which the Lord is well pleased.
In his book, The Coming Revival, Dr. Bill Bright tells of seeking guidance after sensing the Lord calling him to a 40-day fast. When he couldn't find information on how to conduct such an extended fast, he sought the Lord's wisdom. "Lord, I know you've called me to fast for forty days, but I can't find the help I need. I don't want to do anything foolish," he prayed. "Please help me!"
While he was seeking God's guidance, something extraordinary happened. He distinctly sensed a sobbing in his spirit, and he knew the Lord was weeping. He was startled at first. And although he didn't know why He was weeping, Dr. Bright began to sob, too.
Then he sensed the Spirit saying, "My people have forgotten one of the most important disciplines of the Christian life, the major key to revival." He knew the Lord meant prayer with fasting.
Fasting is a secret discipline. Jesus promised that those who engage in secret fasting would be openly rewarded (Matt. 6:18). Our fasting is to be totally to Him--for His pleasure and done out of a desire for more of Him.
Results will come but they are not always immediate or predictable. God may not respond to our fasts in the way we anticipate, but He will keep His promise to openly reward us.
Thank You, Lord, that when we humble ourselves with fasting, revival begins in us.
"But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who [is] in the secret [place]; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly" (Matthew 6:17-18 NKJV).