Third, take your problems to the Lord. In the midst of his crisis, Jehoshaphat ‘set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast.’ Prayer is often the last thing we think of. Why? Because we want to work our problems out on our own. A deacon approached the pastor one day and said, ‘Pastor, we’ve got a problem we can’t solve. We’ve tried everything and nothing works.’ The pastor said, ‘Well, I guess all we can do is pray about it.’ The deacon replied, ‘Pastor, has it really come to that?’
When you’re facing life’s battles, prayer should be your first resort, not your last! And sometimes when the problem doesn’t yield to prayer alone, God leads you to add a second element: fasting. Ever tried it? Fasting isn’t something mystical and mysterious; it’s about focus! It’s saying: ‘Lord, I can do without many things, but I can’t solve this problem without You. So instead of being preoccupied with TV, or food, or social media, I’m going to spend time seeking Your face.’
Cornelius, a Gentile, fasted and prayed for four days, asking God for direction. As a result, God sent Peter to his house to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, and in the process changed the course of history (see Acts 10). In order to know whom to appoint to leadership positions, the New Testament church fasted, prayed, and asked God for guidance. And as a result, one of the most dynamic evangelistic teams of all time, Paul and Barnabas, was born (see Acts 13:2–3). When you get serious enough to fast and pray about your problem, God will show you the solution.