Shane Idleman, Pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship, discussed the spiritual significance of "prayer and fasting," which was mentioned by former President Trump in his 9/11 address to the nation.
Pastor Idleman, in his Christian Headlines column, offered the Scriptural foundation for Trump's remarks.
"In Matthew 17:21, Jesus said that a certain evil spirit does not go out of a person except by prayer and fasting," he wrote. "Some manuscripts disagree on whether this verse should be included or not, but the principle is found throughout Scripture: Fasting applies pressure to the spiritual realm."
Also citing Arthur Wallis's observation that "often, pressure has to be maintained before there is a breakthrough in heavenly warfare," Idleman affirmed that certain "demonic activity" seems to hold back until force is exerted "through prayer and fasting."
Thus, in what he dubbed "a hunger strike against hell," Idleman illustrated that two wills - one's own and God's - cannot coexist harmoniously in the same person.
"Society says, 'Be yourself! Embrace your longings! Feed your desires!' However, we know that gluttony and indulging the flesh never lead to spiritual victory, or any victory for that matter. Some strongholds hang on piece by piece. We must "resist the devil," and he will eventually flee (James 4:7)," he explained.
"Fasting disciplines the body, prayer and worship bind the enemy, and the Word provides wisdom. Fasting ignites a hunger for God and provides direction," he continued.
Idleman emphasized the significance of the aforementioned spiritual practices, which are guaranteed to yield godly fruit, while clarifying that he is not advocating a "works-based religion."
"Ask God for direction and set a target date. Remove the hindrances within your homes such as junk food and junk media-out of sight, out of mind. Fuel the completion of your fast by praying, reading, worshiping, and listening to sermons on fasting. Have a prayer list available. It's a battle-a hunger strike against hell. It's challenging, but the pain of discipline far outweighs the pain of regret," he instructed.
Idleman used his "first seven-day water fast" as an example to demonstrate the importance of prayer and fasting as spiritual exercises. He said that Fox News called him to arrange for him to travel to New York to debate a preacher who has diametrically opposed views on morals.
He and his wife also met Jim Cymbala, pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle, and Kirk Cameron, an actor, director, and evangelist who is known for his work in the entertainment industry. He said that these two Christian leaders have been a source of inspiration for him.
"Additionally, God grew our church, expanded its reach, and healed old wounds," Idleman recalled. "A perfect fast didn't do this, but God, through His mercy, honored my feeble attempt, and He will do the same for you."
Weakening the grip of addictions by starving the body
Maintaining that a Christian is supposed to be "a lean, fighting machine" in terms of "spiritual weight," Idleman noted that prayer and fasting as spiritual disciplines are designed to not just tear down strongholds, but also "to build" Christians up in their faith.
"Deeply embedded addictions can be reversed by starving the flesh. We are not powerless. We give control to either the flesh or the Spirit," he said. "James 4:5 reminds us that our spirit has 'envious yearnings.' Do we yield to these yearnings, or do we give in to the pull of the flesh? We will crave more of what we feed. Fasting silences the voice of the flesh."