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~A christian life without prayer is like a fish swimming outside the pond and expects to live,
~It is a telephone line which connects man and God,
~It is the soup with which we eat the word of God,
~wow! what a thing when you lead a prayer life?
~Brethren lets embrace prayer and we are going to make it in our great commission that Christ bestowed unto us
PRAYER AND FASTING
Prayer~ is a conversation between man and God. It is a communication with God; the LORD speaks as you also speak to Him through prayer. Prayer is man giving God permission to interfere with the activities that happen on earth through conversation. Prayer can also be a license a man gives to God to affect earthly matters.
Fasting~ from the Old Testament, fasting was referred to covering of the mouth, in the New Testament, fasting is abstaining from food to encounter with God.
~It’s a willful abstaining from worldly pleasures for a spiritual purpose. ~It’s personal commitment to renounce the natural to invoke the spiritual.
~It’s a dedication of a period of time to devout oneself to spiritual priority of prayer without food. Fasting is not missing a meal or dieting i.e. stopping to eat something for some time.
~Fasting demands replacing the reading of the word and prayer with meals.
~Fasting increases spiritual capacity of ours, fasting breaks habit and spiritual bondage. It quiets the heart to here from God and brings intimacy with God
TYPES OF FASTING
1. Obsolete fasting
It takes a very short time and dry i.e. it’s done without solid food nor drink. Example is Esther 4:14-17, Modecai declared that the whole nation fasts for 3 days without eating anything, neither the cattle, the children nor the pregnant mothers nor the sick were not to fast.
2. Divine fasting
It’s a fast that God Himself commands one to fast, its authoritative and one cannot escape. E.g. Acts 9~ God made Paul to fast for three days without food by command, “it was a divine fast with special grace from God since it was the very moment that he received His salvation” Jonah 2, God forced Jonah to fast for 3 days without food though Jonah was escaping from God, he fasted for 3 days in the belly of the fish that God prepared to swallow him. Moses was taken by God to the mountain to pray for forty days and forty nights, he was fed by the word of God.
From Matthew 4, Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to pray and fasted for 40days and 40nights.
3. Normal Fasting
It takes a length of days lasting for a long period of time. Example is Elijah who prayed for 40days and 40nights from 1st kings 19. Also Daniel fasted for 21days i.e. Daniel 10, he spent time with God in prayer petitioning, interceding, fasting and confessing the sins that the people of Israel had done.
From acts 2, the disciples of Jesus were praying and fasting waiting for the spirit of the LORD before they started their ministry of declaring the oracles of the LORD. From Nehemiah 1, he prayed and fasted after being told how the condition in Judah was; the wall of Jerusalem was destroyed. He pleaded with God revive them back that they may scatter no longer but come together and glorify the name of the LORD as the commandments of the law of Moses had stated.
4. Partial fasting
This is the fasting that occurs when you use food or drink but not dieting, e.g. Daniel 1:8, Daniel and his friends purposed not to eat royal food but to be tested by vegetables for 10 days. Also Ezekiel 5, Ezekiel ate a same portion of food that was supplied to him everyday for the whole year.
NB. When you fast, the voice of the Lord becomes sharper in your life.
PREPARATION OF PRAYER AND FASTING
The longer the days/time you fast, the longer the preparation for the fast and vice versa for the case of short fast. Preparation can be categorized into two; physical preparation and spiritual preparation.
~~Physical preparation entails cutting off the regular food gradually, absconding some meals not necessarily for prayer but to make your body not to get married to food much, this breaks the stimulus that the body is conditioned that at a certain time food must be supplied.
~~Spiritual preparation on the other hand entails praying for the session of prayer and fasting, dedicating it before the Lord and create an intimacy with God that He may work through you during the fast. Also you tell God the reasons why you want to partake the fast, spent time to pray over the same.
Dedicate many hours in reading the word of God and praying, praying in the word/scripture declaring or reminding God what He spoke in His word over your life and the life of other people.
CHALLENGES OF FASTING
- Poor preparation leading to poor outcome, if you prepare well not, you may destroy yourself/life without your knowledge
- Poor preparation on the feeding system
- Breaking the fast
PRAYER AND THE WORD
Prayer is telling/reminding God of His word, It is using the scripture/His word to communicate with Him, thus, prayer is the word and the word is prayer.
PRAYER AND WORSHIP
Songs of Solomon and the book of psalms are songs that David and His son Solomon which they wrote upholding God through which they petitioned God for His favor upon their life and the house of Israel at large. The song were giving worship and praise to the Lord, this implies that praying and worshiping are fundamental and intertwined together.
IMPORTANCE OF FASTING (Isaiah 58)
- Fasting comes with the glory of God, exodus 19, Moses after fasting for 40days and 40nights, his face was glittering full of God’s glory.
- Spiritual discipline
- Increases spiritual capacity
- Makes you have a clear and sober mind, hunger for God and His word. You will want to pray and the bible becomes your passion than toleration.
- Increases your physical health by purifying your body, this is by getting rid of Jung materials in your body and it also saves you money
- Fasting gives you spiritual freedom and giving spirit, you become a giving person i.e. tithing, willful offerings and many others.
- Increases personal intimacy with God
- Gives you spiritual sensitivity, the more you fast the more sensitive to the decrees of God and discerning spirits you become, makes you know if there is spiritual oppression in the house of God or your house.
What is intercession?
It is an act of standing in the gap mediate for others
Who is an intercessor?
Is a person who by calling or nature chooses to be a mediator on behalf of those who cannot intervene for themselves.
~ Esther 4:14-17
~ Romans 5:6-10
ü Because of our strong desire to be strong in the LORD, we increase our intimacy with God when we persist in prayer. When you pray you speak to God, also listen to God when He speaks by meditation, its two way traffic.
ü When we pray we win spiritual warfare i.e. Exodus 17:11-13, whenever Moses’ hands were raised up, the Israelites were receiving victory, but when the hands were lowered the Amalekites prevailed.
ü To accomplish a great commission and prepare the church for the coming of Jesus Christ
ü To have strong and disciplined servants of God in the church
CHARACTERISTICS OF INTERCESSORS
Ø Hears and sees things through God’s eyes, the way God sees is how we see. You cannot see how God sees when you are not prayerful
Ø Are broken men and women of God, because of what they see e.g. Abraham was heartbroken when he saw that Jesus wanted to destroy the city of Sodom and Gomorra and started to plead with God not to destroy them for the sake of lot. But because there was found no one righteous in the whole city, God rescued the nephew of Abraham lot and destroyed the city of Sodom and Gomorrah. Also Jeremiah 8:21~ Jeremiah takes the burden of the house of Israel and it becomes his wound in the heart.
Ø Do not use God for their own benefit when they pray. As shown in Galatians 3:13~ Jesus accepted to be a curse so that we be a blessing, John 19:31~ Jesus came and died on the cross for mankind’s sins and said its finished, he said not that “I am finished”, but, “it is finished” From 2nd Corinthians5:17~for anyone who receives Jesus is a new creation, all things have passed away and new things began.
Ø Are marked by God, from Ezekiel 9:1-5, from Exodus, the children of Israel were not destroyed in the night of Passover because they were marked by God by blood on their door steps so that the angel of death enters not in and destroy them, Daniel 11:10, 19~ God listened to Daniel’s prayer because he was marked by God as His servant and gave him knowledge and wisdom.
Ø Are called to lead a disciplined and holy life, Isaiah 59:1-3, it’s our sins and iniquities that separate us from our God, it’s not that His hand is too shortened to save. 1st peter 1:14-16, Jesus calls us to be holy because He Himself is holy.
Ø Are great givers of their time and money for the gospel’s and Christ’s sake. *Proverbs 19:17~ when you generously give to the poor, you lend to God and God will repay it back. *Malachi 3:10~ give tithes for it’s the origin of blessings of ours as the Lord opens the doors, windows and gates of blessings in heaven for you until they overflow and overtake you that where you go it will be just blessings.
Ø Can change God’s verdict over mankind,
~~Exodus 32:9-14, Moses intervenes for the Israelite when God wanted to destroy them of worshipping the golden calf, He boldly told God rather to blot him out of His book of life than to destroy the people of Israel, he was uncertain with God and troubled of how the people of Egypt will say about God, that He takes them out of Egypt to destroy them?
~~Psalms 106:23~ Moses also pleaded with God not to destroy His people.
~~Numbers 23:19~ God is neither a man nor a son of man that he would change His mind. What He speaks is what He does and what He promises he acts.
~~1st Samuel 15:29, God does not lie nor change His mind for He is not a man that He changes His mind.
~~ 2nd chronicles 7:14~ if those who are called in my name humble themselves and pray, turn away from their wicked ways, seek the face of the LORD, He will here from heaven forgive your sins and heal your land/nation/city.
Many people have understood prayer in diverse ways; as a communication with God, as a fulfillment of religious activities etc. Actually prayer is a sole thing that every human being engages in, praying differently with different motives, different beings some man made and those who pray to God. Prayer connects a human being with the spiritual world which invokes the physical. Therefore prayer is a ship which carries our worries and requests to a trusted supreme being who in turn invokes the physical existence to be relieved. Thus the future of a human being has two determinants;
- The destination of the prayers
I’m going to consider prayer centered to the creator of heavens and the earth; Genesis 1
Prayer is the act of man trying to invite God in his affairs. Asking God to initiate your affairs because you are not able, it is an act of surrender to Him since you allow Him to take over your life and your destiny.
It is also a reminder to God of His word and fulfilling the commands of him;
1st Thessalonians 5:17, pray without ceasing. Also He says if you remain in Him and His word remain in you, “John 15:7, If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.(KJV)”. You can only remain in Him if you are connected to Him and that is through prayer. Embrace payer and make God your friend by prioritizing Him. Draw near to Him and ne will also draw near to you, James 4:8, Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse [your] hands, [ye] sinners; and purify [your] hearts, [ye] double minded. (KJV)
You can do it by reading the word of God and praying the word, when you pray the word you directly tell God of His promises and will to be done to you. Remember, “the degree with which your mind is fed with the scripture/word of God is directly proportional to the degree with which your prayers are answered.” The less you feed yourself with the word of God the slower the rate of your prayer to be answered by God. Embrace and read the word of God to empower yourself and create an intimacy with God to have a personal encounter with Him. He has good things in store for you if you abide in Him, Isaiah 40:31, But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint. (KJV). He will prosper you,
Jeremiah 29:11, For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (NIV)
2. Destination of prayers
Many people pray but fail to realize one thing that it solely important to them, i.e. the destination of their prayers. Some of us have been brought up in Christian families and through that we were saved. Conversely, many people are Christians and religious but still do not understand and know who the God they pray to and worship is, because most of them have been conditioned from their childhood as a custom of the society to be praying and worshiping not knowing who they worship nor pray to. This ruins your life if you know not, one has to recognize the kind of God you pray to and how you have known this God. Have you just known Him because you were told he is God? Do you pray because that is what your parents told you to do? Do you pray because if you don’t somebody will not care for you? Why do you PRAY? COME ON SOMEBODY. Realize the reason why you pray, it makes your future, if you recognize not then how will you excel. Pray knowing that your prayer is going to be answered, do not pray to pass time, such prayers hung freely in thin air and God hearkens not to such. If the prayers you make are not centered to the creator of heavens and the earth the destination of it is in vain, its waste of time.
In a nut shell, if you pray then you know who is to receive the petitions of yours i.e. the destination of the prayer.
Where your prayers are received determines the future you are going to have, be careful lest the prayers you make enter the hands of the enemy.
Instead of being driven by the things that add no value to our lives, why can’t we be driven by the desire to be a gift to the world.
The world needs you and me so that it can develop, but what happens if you and I sit down…first, there is no development at all.second, the standards of living become worse and lastly, nature begins punishing us. It’s good we know that nature is unforgiving, it doesn’t compromise with anybody.
We all have what it takes to make the difference, the little thing you have that is what you should use to make the difference. David didn’t go to look for a big stone so that he could kill Goliath, he used the small stone that he had. the same case applies in our lives, you don’t need million of shillings to begin any project, the little that you have just use it to generate something better.
Use what you have to get what you don’t have!
What are your priorities in life? Have you ever spent your time thinking what you should spend most of your time on? Most people have not, they just go from day to day doing whatever they want and whatever they feel like doing. To most people priority has lost it meaning and that why many are dying without discovering their dreams. What is least important is given priority, while the most important matters are set aside!! Several years back a well-known professor once said that there two things that are difficult for most people to do: to think and to do things in the order of their importance, what a tragedy it would be to have gone through your whole life and at the end of it all you will realize that you spent all your time, money, and energy on things that were pointless and had no value or worth. How depressing it would be to realize that you had wasted your entire life on vain pursuits.
Each and every person throughout history has a God-given purpose. It is not only Jesus Christ who had a purpose, God gave a specific purpose to every individual. You have a purpose, I have a purpose and until we discover what that purpose is and begin to single-mindedly fulfill that purpose life will seem empty and meaningless. In addition, every one of us has different gifts, talents, and abilities, but we waste them and fail at life because we fail to understand our purpose and setting our priorities right. Jesus knew both His Purpose and priorities and so He completely fulfilled God’s plan for His life. My prayer for each of you is that you will discover what your purpose is and will make the necessary adjustment in your priorities to fulfill that purpose. Set your priorities right!!