Fasting and Prayer: A 10 Week Bible Study, Week 4
The following devotional Bible study is based on our book Fast Friends: The Amazing Power of Friendship, Fasting and Prayer, available at Amazon.com http://ow.ly/2bvzuL. While we are not theologians, we are students of the Bible and followers of Jesus Christ. We are two average women who want more of Jesus, and we have made the sacrifice to pray and fast together one day a week—a journey we share in much more detail in our book. We see an important link between fasting and prayer, and we want you to see that too through a personal study of God’s word. Although there is no biblical command to fast and pray, there are certainly reports in scripture showing God’s people engaged in these spiritual disciplines. We are offering you a free ten-week downloadable Bible study for your research into fasting and prayer.
Followers of Jesus are all charged with this message from scripture: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15, nasb). If you are in Christ, you have the Holy Spirit to guide you into the truth of God’s word. For that reason, we will share the Bible stories, their location in scripture, and a few questions to spur you on to your own study. We will not expound on the Bible’s accounts. Instead, we will leave you to wrestle with your own findings and seek the Lord for answers. If you will commit to this process, you will be fulfilling 2 Timothy 2:15, becoming a student of the truth. Our hope is that this process will bring you into such closeness with God that you will truly learn what it means to have Jesus as your first love. We are praying for you.
David’s Fast for His Son
In preparation for this study first read 2 Samuel 12:1-22
Read 2 Samuel 2:2-4. What title was David given and over whom did he rule?
Read 2 Samuel 5:1-5. Who was David ultimately king over, and how long did he rule and from where?
In Acts 13:22, how does God refer to David, and what does God say David will do for Him?
God called David a man after God’s own heart. What an amazing legacy! His backstory was rich. He is remembered as a young shepherd, a giant slayer, and the one whose lyre playing chased away the evil spirit from King Saul. David also became the object of Saul’s hatred when he received praise for slaying more people than Saul (2 Samuel 18:7-11). David ends up having to evade Saul’s attempts to murder him. After Saul’s death, David replaces him as king.
Although David had a heart that sought after God, his heart also fell prey to dark, murderous sin. This sin, once brought to light in David’s life, moved him to repent and then fast and pray, pleading with God for the life of his newborn son. This part of David’s life is recorded in 2 Samuel 11. It’s the story of David’s sin with Bathsheba and its fallout. Take a few minutes to read it through.
Now let’s move ahead to 2 Samuel 12. Read the first 22 verses. For personal application, ask yourself these questions: How often do I truly search my heart for any hidden sin? If another believer confronted me with my known sin, how would I hope to respond? Knowing there can be consequences to sin, will this help me avoid giving into temptation?
- Look back over 2 Samuel 12:1-6. As a prophet, part of Nathan’s responsibility to God was to speak the truth about sin. How did David react to the story of the rich man and the poor man?
- In 2 Samuel 12:7-14, what did Nathan reveal to David about the truth of the story? How will God deal with David’s sin?
- In verse 13, does David accept the truth of this confrontation? What does he say?
- What judgement does verse 14 say David’s sin will bring?
- In 2 Samuel 12:15-22, we see that David’s infant son became ill. What does David do as a result of this news?
- David’s attendants pleaded with him to eat, but he refused. On the seventh day when the child dies, does David continue to fast? What does he do?
- After David washed and changed his clothes, what did he do before he ate?
- David’s attendants were perplexed by his actions. When they questioned him, what reason did David give them for his behavior? Who had a stronger faith in the Lord, David or his attendants? Do you get an understanding for how sincerely David truly trusted and loved the Lord, accepting with worship whatever came from God’s hand?
David felt compelled to fast and pray, pleading with the Lord for his son’s life even though God had already pronounced judgment. He thought that maybe God would be gracious to him and let the child live. David acknowledged his sin, yet he knew the forgiveness and goodness of God and hoped that God might change his mind. What is so powerful is that even though David fasted and prayed and received a “no” to his request from God, the first thing he does in response is to make himself presentable to go worship the Lord. When we receive a heartbreak instead of a rescue, how do we respond to God?
You may fast and pray, but there is no guarantee that God will send you the answer you desire. On the other hand, there is the guarantee that in His sovereignty He will do what is just and right. His ways are higher than ours; His thoughts are higher than ours. Regardless of the answer you receive, will you respond like David, with praise and worship in your heart to God? May we all become Christ followers who seek after God’s own heart, in prayer, in faith, in trust—living a life that testifies to the magnificent wisdom of our heavenly Father.