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!!!
Due to lack of good internet, we are just now able to upload the video from our time in Kosovo. God opened a door for us in the nation of Kosovo! We were able to partner with Him in His ministry there, praying for the people who were in war less than 15 years ago, missionaries sent there to teach the children, a missionary recently diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer, and our friends, Liz and Sam, who were called to be missionaries there. We also got the opportunity to do an interview for Christian-focused online magazine, Awaken Magazine!
Scotland is ready for revival and their time is now!!! Scotland is the gateway to Europe, so check out this Video Update from our time in Scotland to see specific ways you can be praying for the nation and the people there to see this wave of revival sweep not only across Scotland but to all of Europe!!!
Our time in Scotland was a flurry of unceasing activity and I barely had any time to stop and breath let alone write a blog. It was a nice feeling being so involved with ministry that by the end of the day, we were exhausted. So, I did not write anything while I was in Scotland, but my wife is amazing and somehow found time. Now, we are at the next stop on our trip Newcastle, England, but I thought I would write a retro blog about two things while I had a little time to sit and reflect on our Awesome Father!
The first is that it was just a blessing to be in Scotland. We were welcomed in such a mighty way and never got a negative glance. We got to encourage, strengthen, and pray for so many people and this was not even a place we planned on coming. At the beginning, God told us to look for the open doors and go there along the way. This was such a wide open door that it did not even appear to have one. It truly was a blessing to be in Scotland, and we know that God used us to bless many people.
While we were there, I got to share several times a message God gave me while we were landing in Edinburgh. I did not get a prophetic vision like my wife (which she shared earlier in a blog titled Lighthouse of Life), but these two messages working together, hers and mine, blessed many people. God spoke the word to me to remind the people of Scotland that He is Faithful! The promises that He has spoken will come about, it just takes our faith and patient perseverance until it happens (Hebrews 6:12). The people in Scotland have been praying the promises of God into existence for so long. We met so many small fiery prayers groups who were all contending for God to come and do a mighty work in their land. How many years of prayer did it take for God to bring about freedom from slavery? How many were praying that this would be ended that we will never know or hear of? These faithful prayers prepared the way for God to move mightily. They are praying that God will send revival to their country and to Europe with the same fervor and expectation.
Just as I reminded the people of Scotland of the Faithfulness of God and the surety of His promises coming about, I want to mind you as well. It seems that as we go throughout this life, the thorns of this world grow up and choke out the fruit from the promises God has made to us or given us through His Word. The cares of this world, deceitfulness of riches, and pleasures of this life choke out the fruit that the promises of God wants to bring about in our lives. Gods promises will always come about, but it depends on our continued faith and perseverance as to the timing and fruitfulness of these promises (Luke 8:14-15).
So, hold on to every promise of God as if your life depends on it, because it does. Never let the lack of seeing things happen hinder you from believing and praying that the promises of God will come about. Trust and obey what God has said to you and never let anything else keep you from bearing the fruitful reward of His promises in your life!!! Never accept any less than the very best, the promises of God being fulfilled completely in your life and the lives of all you are around!!!
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!