It has been said that all medicines have side effects and that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Life is filled with actions, side effects, and reactions.
This is true of church-wide public seasons of fasting and prayer. When a group joins together in intense, focused, strategic, and unified fasting and prayer, God is glorified and there are significant side effects, actions, and reactions. Most of the side effects are delightful, things like greater peace, increased love, stronger anointing, and the like. Some of the reactions are not as welcomed.
Jesus’ famous forty day fast was met with the side effect of a visitation from satan himself. Imagine that. Seeking the Lord with all your heart and bam there is the devil at your side. Then your godly intentions are countered by an all out temptation attack. “If you are the Son of God, turn these stones into bread.”
Daniel’s well known prayer reveals that unseen beings battle in response to God’s answers to prayer. Talk about a reaction. Dan prays and a powerful angel and the “prince of the Kingdom of Persia” go to battle for TWENTY ONE days. Amazing.
Should we expect anything less than seismic repercussions to our intensified fasting and prayer?
Why would the enemy of our souls bring such opposition? There are many possibilities:
1. To discourage the person fasting and praying in hopes that the fasting and prayer will stop.
2. To delay the answer from arriving so that further damage can be done before the answer arrives.
3. To get the thrill of thwarting God’s purposes for another minute or two.
Unfortunately, well meaning church folks allow themselves to become instruments against answered prayer. They seem to specialize in extinguishing any sense of the fire of God in a persons fasting and prayer life. Snide comments, hurtful “jokes,” complaints, discouraging attitudes, disappointment with God, leaders, and life in general are all attributes of these types.
In my experience it is totally strange but true. Jesus fasted and prayed and the devil shows up. We fast and pray and the devil shows up too.
Jesus talks with the devil for a few moments. “It is written…” Jesus states. Finally our Lord has had enough of the intrusion into His fasting and prayer time. Jesus moves from it is written to a strong personal command and directive to the evil one. “Satan, be gone!”
Your fasting and prayer time will be visited by the evil one and those through whom he works. You can talk with them for a moment or two if you like, but it may just be time to say, “On the authority of the words of Jesus, Satan, be gone.”