I don’t have any figures to back this up but I’m guessing that fasting is the least popular form of prayer.
Recently, we visited friends who confided about a difficult circumstance. No matter how much they prayed and talked to the people involved, nothing changed. They’d reached a dead-end. After a discussion, we suggested that fasting and prayer might make the difference. Within a couple of days they called to say that one day after they fasted, their situation turned around. Minds had changed, people became agreeable.
Like most people I only fast when all other forms of prayer have failed. Such was the case with my father. My sisters and I longed for him to accept Christ. He resisted. We prayed. We talked to him. Nothing happened. We set aside one day a week to fast and pray for Dad. We did this for months, perhaps years. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. It looked like our prayers would never be answered.
It didn’t occur to us that God was working out a plan far above anything we could conceive. One day, a year before Dad passed away, he and I went for a long walk. I talked about Jesus as much as possible. He stopped on the road, looked up and with a new light in his eyes, said, “I believe Jesus.”
When we returned to the house, I said to my mother and sister, “Ask Dad what happened today.” He again said, “I believe Jesus.” The smile on his face told us that something had happened. His experience was genuine.
Then we knew, our fasting wasn’t in vain. God had given Dad the mind of a child, a mind that isn’t hindered by unanswerable questions like, “why is the church full of hypocrites?” He believed as a little child does, with total abandon.
Fasting is appropriate for stubborn problems. When His disciples asked Jesus why they couldn’t drive demons out of an afflicted man, Jesus said, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting.” (Mark 9:29)
Do you have a problem that just won’t budge no matter how much you pray? Devote a day, or portion of a day, to fasting and prayer.