Lessons on Prayer, by Witness Lee

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Fifth, fasting is for God’s will to be accomplished and for Satan to be defeated. The instances of fasting and prayer that are recorded in the Bible are either for the accomplishment of God’s will or for the driving out of the Devil. It is difficult to find even one example that is for man’s own benefit. Hence, we may conclude that real fasting is, on one hand, to accomplish God’s will and, on the other hand, to get rid of Satan. Perhaps you will ask, “When we fast and pray for the healing of our sickness, can we say that this is also for God’s will to be accomplished and for Satan to be removed?” The issue is this: if your concept and viewpoint are purely for God’s healing then your fasting is useless. You need to receive mercy, become enlightened, and be led to such an extent that even though your sickness may be so serious that there is no hope for recovery, you will still say to God, “O God, if You keep me on this earth, all my days henceforth shall be absolutely for You; if not, may You allow me to die quickly. I don’t want to live for myself on this earth. O God, I am asking You to do one thing here today, that I may be healed and that I may live henceforth wholly for You.” If you have such a condition, such a heart, and such a thought, you are already fasting. I believe that most sickness will be healed at such a point.

Allow me to add a few words here concerning healing. Never believe that divine healing is absolutely unconditional and unlimited. As far as God’s power is concerned, it is indeed unlimited, but as far as men who receive the divine healing are concerned, there is still a limit. Brothers and sisters, I would like to tell you that those who have received divine healing in the past have eventually still died. Even Lazarus, after having been raised from death, eventually died. We have to wait until the coming day of resurrection to receive the unlimited divine healing. Today there is no sickness that is absolutely and completely healed. Tens of thousands in the church have received divine healing in the last two thousand years, but where are they today? They are all in tombs; they are in death waiting for the ultimate healing. Hence, Brother Darby wrote: “Waiting for Him who takes us up beyond the power of death” (Hymns, No. 47). Although you and I have not entered into tombs, we are in death. All sicknesses are factors of death. Actually, before resurrection comes, everyone who is healed receives but a temporary healing. Today, in times of necessity, God gives us limited healing. He allows us to live a few more years on this earth, but it is not for our health or for our longevity, but for His will.

Brothers, this does not mean, therefore, that when you are sick and you fast and pray, God will necessarily heal you. What fasting means is that you are here absolutely for God’s will to be done and for God’s enemy to be cast out. As to whether or not you will be healed, that is another matter. Having realized that you were altogether living for yourself in the past, you repent to God and ask Him that, if it pleases Him, He keep you on this earth for another period of time. You tell Him that you desire to have His will fully accomplished in you and to give Satan no ground whatsoever in you. I repeat, however, this healing is temporary. It is so that His will may be accomplished in you. Otherwise, no matter how you fast and pray, it is still futile. Never think that as long as you fast and pray, your prayer will be answered by God. The basic principle of fasting in prayer is to indicate that you absolutely care for God’s will to be accomplished and for Satan to be removed. You cannot find an illustration in the Bible showing that when man fasts and prays for his personal interest God answers that prayer. Never imagine that if your business is losing money, and your whole family fasts and prays, tomorrow your business will prosper. This is absolutely not the case. This is superstition. Fasting in prayer in the Bible is always this: either man on earth has touched God’s desire and asks God to fulfill it, or he has encountered God’s enemy and desires to cast him out.

(Lessons on Prayer, Chapter 19, by Witness Lee)