Nor sworn deceitfully. 5 He shall receive blessing from the Lord, And righteousness from the God of his salvation. 6 This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, Who seek Your face.
This is the fourth message in the series: Simple Discipleship.
Here is what we will be studying for next week:
Holy Spirit/Power of God
Here are my Notes: Simple Discipleship Week 4
Here is the Audio Sermon: Prayer and Fasting
As we begin to look at prayer and fasting, we must first ask two important questions:
What is Prayer?
What is Fasting?
In studying this topic, my definition of prayer would be inviting God into our lives and situations by bringing things to Him.
We are encouraged to pray without ceasing. We are not supposed to go around with our eyes closed and heads bowed all the time, but wherever we go and whatever we are doing, we are to be in constant communication with God inviting Him into our situations and surroundings and making Him a part of our everyday activities.
In coming to understand more about it, my definition of fasting is giving up legitimate pleasures as a sacrifice to gain breakthrough and a deepening relationship with the Lord.
God has given us necessary things, and it is the blessing of the Lord to us for them to be good. However, in talking about sacrifice, we saw that we were to give up something important to us to gain a deeper relationship with God. Fasting is a sacrifice of something that we enjoy (Food, Entertainment, Sleep…) so that we get breakthrough and walk into a deeper communion with the Lord.
Fasting always works together with prayer. Everywhere that fasting is mentioned it is in combination with prayer. Fasting without prayer is just dieting. The point of fasting is to give up a legitimate pleasure and use the extra time that we have to spend praying.
In Daniel 10, in is clearly evident that as Daniel was praying and fasting, he was empowering God’s spiritual forces to bring about change. Something happens as we fast in conjunction with prayer that empowers heavenly forces to win spiritual battles. As a result of this, Daniel was strengthened, encouraged, and given answers that he was seeking. You have the ability to empower heavenly forces to win spiritual victories through fasting and prayer!!!
In Isaiah 58, it is even more evident that fasting with the wrong motives and wrong heart is no good and not even accepted by God. As we fast, God brings revelation to us and we then have the choice whether to repent and be obedient or to ignore the revelation. When we ignore what God is saying, our fasting and praying is not powerful or effective but our hearts become increasingly hardened to the voice of God. Fasting and prayer is powerful when we repent and walk in obedience to the revelation of the Lord.
Look at a few of the benefits of the right type of fasting and praying from v. 12. God is able to build where there was once destruction. The enemy is constantly trying to bring destruction in our lives, but through fasting and prayer, God is able to build something that lasts on top of this destruction. God strengthens our foundations, revitalizes our spiritual heritage for us to pass on in greater measures to our children, fortifies our defenses and clarifies our paths. This is the kind of fasting and prayer that I want to be a part of!!!
In Matthew 6, we come to find the importance of not being religious. In regards to both prayer and fasting, Jesus mentions the secret place. The thoughts and intentions of our heart is what God judges so we should never do these things out of obligation or for other people to be proud of us. We should have a genuine desire to grow closer to the Lord and out of that heart in the secret place, God is able to give spiritual treasures. I would rather be rewarded by God rather than men any day!!!
It is also important to realize that the prayer and fasting that we do right now affects eternity. When we are in heaven, there will be no need to pray or fast because we will be partying with Jesus face to face. Right now, we have the unique ability to affect eternity with our pure prayer and holy fasting!!!
In Habakkuk 2, we find out that it does not matter how you pray, but that you are actually communicating with God. The prophet says clearly that he was waiting to be corrected. Habakkuk’s prayers would raw and filled with emotion. He did not come with proper words and civilized emotions. He came as he was and expressed himself honestly and was willing to repent and be corrected.
We also find the importance of prophetic revelation or vision. Revelation from God gives us tiny glimpses into our God-sized destiny and this compels us to align ourselves with Him and move more into it. As we write these things down, it is an encouragement to us when it takes longer to get here than we want (which is 99.99% of the time), an encouragement to others when it does finally come about, and a testimony to the glory and faithfulness of God.
The most important lesson from Mark 9 and Matthew 17 is that in the middle of our hopeless situations that we do not feel as if we can pray or have the faith to pray for complete deliverance and healing, we pray for the grace to overcome our doubt and for God to strengthen our faith.
I encourage you to pray and ask Holy Spirit to bring revelation as you meditate on these questions:
What am I praying for right now?
What are the things I have given up praying for?
Is my secret place worthy of being rewarded?
What has God revealed and called me to that I am not being obedient or repentant to?
What legitimate pleasure am I willing to give up that I might receive a spiritual breakthrough in myself and the lives of others and be launched into a deeper communion with the Lord?
I pray even now that God would give us all hungry hearts to know Him in deeper and mightier ways than ever before. Help us all to repent of the things which you reveal in our hearts and surrender to walk in full obedience to what He is calling us to. May our secret places be worthy of reward, and may God bring forth mighty spiritual rewards because of our faithfulness and perseverance in the secret place.
I would like to encourage you to pray and give something up in fasting so that you are able to step into a deeper walk with the Lord and that greater spiritual breakthrough would come in your life!!!
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!
I would like to apologize for taking so long to post, but it has been a crazy fast move of God since the last posting in September. God led us suddenly to Living Water Church. Within the last 5 months, God has honored us by placing us in a position as Assistant Pastors. In November, we began overseeing the youth, and the pastor here had to have a surgery that kept him out for a month and a half. God very quickly showed His favor in our lives, and we were given a huge responsibility of making sure things were running at the church until the Pastor returned. We have an amazing group of leaders surrounding us and helping us in our new role, and are thankful to them for being a blessing to us.
Along with that, we have had a growing Man of God to look after. He is ever a joy and brings life to us in all things, even when he is getting into mischief. We are training him up with a love for the nations, and he often asks to see the world. We take that time to pray for revival and an increase of Holy Spirit and Fire to overwhelm the nations.
Now that the Pastor is back to full strength, things have settled down a bit, and I hope to be posting more often to keep you updated. God recently opened the door for me to teach on Simple Discipleship.
He gave me a discipleship plan not too long after returning from our around the world trip. Finally, after a year and a half of waiting, I have been given the opportunity to teach this at the church. I would encourage you to study through this with us. I will be posting the weekly topic and verses to allow you to study them, and then about a week later, I will post the recording from my teaching at Living Water Church. If you are hungry and wish to grow, use this as a study to be discipled and than to disciple others to do the same.
My intention in this study is to study the major topics of important by studying the scriptures directly. I have tried to find between 3-5 short scripture references for us to learn together directly from the Word. I want to teach in such a simple way over each area so that you are able to not only learn it, but you have the ability to teach it the very next day. I have also tried to take scriptures out of the Old and New Testament to bring a totality of teaching on each subject. Again, I encourage you to be a part of us growing together through what God is speaking.
The First Week’s topic is Being a Leader/Disciple. The scriptures we will be focusing on are: John 13:1-17, John 14:12-14, Mark 8:34-38, Daniel 11:32-33, Matthew 28:18-20, Luke 14:25-35, Mark 10:28-31.
May the Lord bless you in all that you do and may much fruit abound in and around you, no matter where you may be in the world, because of your love and faithfulness to Him!!!
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!
Well, plans are ever changing here. The Indian culture is a culture of change, and this becomes more evident every day. We will be leaving tomorrow for Dharamapuri instead of today. Knowing that we might not have an opportunity to use internet again for a while, I wanted to share what happened this weekend.
Friday, we got the privilege to go and preach at a small Fasting-Prayer gathering once again, and God supernaturally changed what I was going to preach and gave me a brand new word that combined the Parable of the Sower with John 15. This was a very powerful word that touched the people there greatly, and I know it was from the Lord, because I can hardly remember what I even spoke about.
Saturday, we went with Pastor Binny once again to a girls college in Kolar where they were having a Thanksgiving meeting. It is the end of the year and everyone has taken their exams and are getting ready to head home for their summer break. They had gathered to thank the Lord and give testimony about everything God had done this school year. It was amazing to hear the testimonies about how God had raised up a prayer community in the group and by the end of the school year everyone was a part of it. There was testimonies of divine healings, provision, and so much more. Katie got the opportunity to share about the ministry and journey that God is taking us on and even had some spontaneous preaching.
Later, I was given the chance to speak about giving thanks. Pastor Binny told me on the way that I was to share about this topic. I spent the hour on the way to the college asking the Lord what He would have me share about giving thanks. God brought to mind a passage of scripture and gave me some important revelation about thanking Him. This is what I want to share with you.
Most of us are familiar with the passage of the feeding of the five thousand found in the gospels. In John 6:1-13, Jesus sees that need of the people and is more than willing to respond. However, He wants to partner with the Apostles in meeting this need. All the Apostles see is an unsolvable problem and such a small portion of food that they see no way that they can bring resolution to this problem. “Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them… and likewise the fish, as much as they wanted”(John 6:11) and there were 12 baskets left over. Five thousand men, as well as women and children, benefited from the blessing of thankfulness.
In our world, it is so easy to see the needs and the problems. We are overwhelmed by these things in our daily news and it seem impossible for us to do anything to change it. How can we end abortion, stop sex trafficking, stop wars, bring governmental reform, feed the hungry, end sickness…? When we think of the the problems, we are placing our eyes on ourselves and our circumstances. What can I do? However, when we bring the smallest ability and blessing to the Lord and give thanks for it, He cannot help but multiply it!!! Thanking God takes our eyes off of ourselves and our problems, and places them upon Him. When our eyes are on Him, we begin to see things from the heavenly perspective and the impossible things become the reality that God intended them to be!!! It is by giving thanks to God in the small and great, that the gates of heaven are opened to pour out even more blessings of abundance upon us. God will always multiply what we have if we thank Him for it! It comes from Him and is for His glory, and when we recognize this, He will give us more!!!
How have you been thankful to the Lord?
Are you thanking Him for the smallest of blessings?
Are you giving him thanks and glory or are you taking it for yourself?
Ask Holy Spirit to reveal all the blessing of the Lord in your life. As you recognize these things, give Him thanks. In the giving of thanks, the blessings we have are revealed because our focus is changed. Our focus is no longer selfish and on us, but we focus on the person of Jesus and all He has done. Unthankfulness is selfishness. In any area where you have been selfish and focused on your own problems in unthankfulness, ask for forgiveness. Ask Holy Spirit to change your focus to one of a thankful heart. Ask Him to help you to be thankful in all things. His blessings will flow more freely as thankfulness is released in your heart!!! I bless you with a thankful heart that brings forth an abundance of blessing in order that God may receive all the glory!!!
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!