Posts categorized Fasting and Prayer
During seasons of fasting and prayer, I find myself reading, watching and reflecting upon the human relationship with food.
Ellen G. White’s Counsels on Diet and Foods (1938) is filled with inspiring insights worth considering. Those who follow her guidance are among the longest lived, healthiest people on earth. Although I am not a Seventh Day Adventist, I enjoy many of their insights and highly value their commitment to God and His word.
Today I am enjoying Chapter Seven, Overeating. Her reflections on eating more than is necessary are thought provoking. In the following paragraph, encouragement is given to embrace a sabbath rest for the digestive system.
(1905) The Ministry of Healing
We should not provide for the Sabbath a more liberal supply or a greater variety of food than for other days. Instead of this, the food should be more simple, and less should be eaten, in order that the mind may be clear and vigorous to comprehend spiritual things. A clogged stomach means a clogged brain. The most precious words may be heard and not appreciated, because the mind is confused by an improper diet. By overeating on the Sabbath, many do more than they think, to unfit themselves for receiving the benefit of its sacred opportunities.
Throughout the years, “Jesus is Lord!” has become my creedal declaration. From my perspective, all Christian truth flows through this primary creed.
As you continue in fasting and prayer, remember to declare the Lordship of Jesus over all of your life and especially your relationship with food.
Seeking the Wisdom of God for
Fasting and Prayer
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.””
- We repent of darkness in our own lives and celebrate God’s gift of light.
- May the national conversation and prayer be, “What pleases the Lord?”
- May our nation properly respond to Paul’s command, “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead” and receive his promise, “Christ will shine on you.”
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
- We lift President Trump before YOU and pray that he will have eyes to see and ears to hear what YOUR choice is regarding this next Supreme Court nominee.
- We ask YOU to confirm to him the person of YOUR choosing.
- We pray that President Trump would feel deep peace when he thinks about the person of YOUR choice and deep unrest should he start to waiver from YOUR highest and best.
Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.
- Give our President wise and godly counsel to help him discern YOUR will in this important decision.
- Give our President the ability to trust the wise and godly counsel you provide for him.
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
- We pray that President Trump will resist any temptation to please people rather than to please YOU in this selection process.
- May what pleases YOU be very clear to our President.
There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.
We pray that there is nothing covered that will not be revealed or hidden that will not be made known, regarding those who are being considered to fill this vacancy.
- May the intention of the nominee’s heart to please you be evident to our President.
2 Kings 6:8-14
Now the king of Aram was at war with Israel. After conferring with his officers, he said, “I will set up my camp in such and such a place.”
The man of God sent word to the king of Israel: “Beware of passing that place, because the Arameans are going down there.” So the king of Israel checked on the place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned the king, so that he was on his guard in such places.
This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, “Tell me! Which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?”
“None of us, my lord the king,” said one of his officers, “but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom.”
“Go, find out where he is,” the king ordered, “so I can send men and capture him.” The report came back: “He is in Dothan.” Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city.
- We pray YOU will cut off all outside enemy attempts and influences to manipulate, confuse, or confound the President’s hearing from You or his resolve to stand firm in YOUR choice.
- We pray our President will “put on the whole armor of God” as he deliberates.
He pursues them and moves on unscathed,
by a path his feet have not traveled before.
- We ask YOU to give the Supreme Court Justice nominee of YOUR choice supernatural favor, wisdom, and protection to navigate through the Senate confirmation hearings and to speedily receive Senate approval.
- We ask YOU to direct the steps of the nominee of YOUR choice.
For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
- We pray that this new Supreme Court Justice will be a voice for righteousness and justice—even to changing the landscape of the entire nation toward godliness.
- May the new Supreme Court Justice do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with You.
Righteousness exalts a nation,
but sin condemns any people.
- We pray for a Great Awakening in these United States of America.
- May God bless America with righteousness.
Prayer Guide adapted from https://bridgebuilders.net/2018/07/03/supreme-court-nominee/
Gigantic decisions require God’s guidance and this comes through fasting and prayer.
From my perspective a spiritual battle is raging in both the seen and unseen worlds over the upcoming selection of a nominee for the Supreme Court of the United States.
It is surprising to read Republicans explaining their support and the Democrats organizing their opposition to the nominee. How can you support or oppose a nominee that isn’t yet selected?
The national conversation is dominated by what the Democrats and Republicans want.
I have yet to hear in the media, “What does God want?”
You are invited to join me in fasting and prayer for a gift of the wisdom of God for our President in this most crucial and urgent decision.
We are requesting our brothers and sisters in our related churches in Burkina Faso, the Netherlands, Australia, Israel, Russia, Guatemala, Thailand, Samoa, Poland, and sensitive countries to pray for God’s mercy upon our nation as seen in our leaders welcoming His wisdom and guidance.
In addition to our personal fasting and prayer, MCA Church will join together in unified corporate prayer at noon on July 6th (Anchorage, Alaska time). You are invited to join us in person or live online at http://www.pastorkent.me/media/live-streaming/
In the spirit of the Apostle Paul, we pray for our leaders to “find out what pleases the Lord (Ephesians 5:10).”
Sometimes I listen with such intensity to music and voices and sundry sounds that I can’t hear my life.
What is my life saying and singing and sounding?
Frederich Buechner suggests that muting the noise pollution from time to time is critical to hearing my life.
“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”
Over the years I have made feeble efforts at transforming my narrowly defined Lenten fast into a more broadly experience Lenten rhythm of life.
I have heard the two most common items people fast during Lent are alcohol and chocolate. May I suggest abstaining from two things during your fast?
Abstaining from speed and sound. Slow down. Quiet down.
Listen to your life.
Sure doesn’t resonate with the soul, “He is an undisciplined Jesus follower.”
God’s spectacular gift of grace is often lived out as the removal of all faithful discipline and effort on the part of grace’s recipient.
Yes, God’s grace is an expensive, valuable, and luxurious gift given from His heart of love and mercy to all who are willing to welcome it’s reception.
What if discipline is required to embrace grace and faith and mercy?
Since faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God, might the discipline required to hear the word of God be a good thing?
James values the significance of the disciplines of drawing near to God, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you (James 4:8).”
Jesus fully supported the acts of the righteous life, private prayer, private fasting, and private alms, as assumed disciplines active in His followers lives.
God calls us, during the Lenten season, to the disciplines of grace; especially the grace of fasting, abstaining, and praying.
May it be said of us, “They are disciplined Jesus followers.”
Awaken the Wonder of the Holy Spirit For Me
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. Romans 8:26
Awaken the Wonder of the Holy Spirit In Me
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? 1 Corinthians 6:19
Awaken the Wonder of the Holy Spirit Upon Me
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8
Awaken the Wonder of the Holy Spirit Through Me
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6
In the New Testament, we see the Holy Spirit empowering life and service for God’s mission in the world.
“…a Pentecostal perspective on Spirit baptism is integral to our continued sense of expectation and effectiveness in mission.” Bob Menzies
All believers are entitled to and should ardently expect and earnestly seek the promise of the Father.
- Luke 24:48-49
- Acts 1:4
- Acts 2:33
- Acts 2:39
This glorious “promise of the Father” is promised in Joel 2:28-32.
- I will pour out
- My Spirit
- On all flesh
- Prophecy, dreams, and visions.
What did an Old Testament “pour out” look like? Numbers 11:24-29
- The Lord came down in the cloud. 25
- Took some of the Spirit that was upon Moses and put it upon the 70 elders. 25
- As soon as the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. 25
What did a New Testament “pour out” look like? Acts 2:1-13
- Suddenly there came from heaven. 2
- With a sound of a mighty rushing wind. 2
- Divided tongues of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 3
- And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Vs. 4
- And began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. 4
Without a doubt, God has committed the “promise of the Father” to you.
- We ardently expect the promise of the Father (characterized by warmth of feeling typically expressed in eager zealous support or activity).
- We earnestly seek the promise of the Father (characterized by or proceeding from an intense and serious state of mind).
We ardently expect and earnestly seek God’s “pour out” of His Spirit upon each and every one of us.
The Bible reveals a solid link between fasting, prayer, and prophecy.
- Biblical prophetic promises
- Contemporary prophetic promises
- Personal prophetic promises
God is speaking His promises in the past, present, and future. Francis Schaeffer captures this truth in the title of his 1972 book, “He is There and He is Not Silent.”
From my perspective, fasting and prayer accomplishes the following in relation to God’s prophetic voice:
- Fasting and prayer, demonstrating humility and commitment, catches the attention of God and He responds by desiring to release His voice to you.
- Fasting and prayer, demonstrating humility and commitment, aligns my whole being with the ‘frequency’ of God and I hear what He has already been speaking.
- Fasting and prayer, demonstrating humility and commitment, helps silence my competing wills, and aligns me with the will of God and the process of hearing what He is saying about His will.
- Fasting and prayer and aligning myself with the will of God to hear the voice of God precedes the actions of God.
2 Chronicles 20
After this the Moabites and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites,[a] came against Jehoshaphat for battle. 2 Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, “A great multitude is coming against you from Edom,[b] from beyond the sea; and, behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar” (that is, Engedi). 3 Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. 4 And Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.
5 And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court, 6 and said, “O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. 7 Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? 8 And they have lived in it and have built for you in it a sanctuary for your name, saying, 9 ‘If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgment,[c] or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before you—for your name is in this house—and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save.’ 10 And now behold, the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom you would not let Israel invade when they came from the land of Egypt, and whom they avoided and did not destroy— 11 behold, they reward us by coming to drive us out of your possession, which you have given us to inherit. 12 O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
13 Meanwhile all Judah stood before the Lord, with their little ones, their wives, and their children. 14 And the Spirit of the Lord came[d] upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly. 15 And he said, “Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s. 16 Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the valley, east of the wilderness of Jeruel. 17 You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.”
18 Then Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord, worshiping the Lord. 19 And the Levites, of the Kohathites and the Korahites, stood up to praise the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.
20 And they rose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. And when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed.” 21 And when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the Lord and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say,
“Give thanks to the Lord,
for his steadfast love endures forever.”
22 And when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed.23 For the men of Ammon and Moab rose against the inhabitants of Mount Seir, devoting them to destruction, and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they all helped to destroy one another.
“Shut in with God in a Secret Place,” a song of unknown authorship, invites me to create a space where I remove every distraction and focus entirely upon God. Truthfully, both removing and focusing are a challenge.
Exteriority may be the natural tendency of the sinful heart. Eve and Adam, after their disobedience, practiced exteriority when they hid from God. Maybe, without thinking, they “hid” their exterior.
Surely, our first parents knew their interiority sourced the broken relationship and took the greatest damage. The inclination of the heart, from then until now, is to build a false sense of security through personal emphasis on exteriority.
In hiding my exterior, maybe my shattered and paralyzed interior won’t be noticed. Maybe my idolatry, fraudulence, incompetence, and self preservation can hide from God too.
In the secret place with God I gain the faith to come out from my misbelief that I can and should hide my true heart condition. This same faith walks with me, broken and contrite, toward God.
In this journey toward God, I discover my fears are completely unwarranted.
“The quickest way for anyone to reach the sun and the light of day is not to run west, chasing after the setting sun, but to head east, plunging into the darkness until one comes to the sunrise.” Gerald L. Sittser, A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows through Loss
Jesus invites me into poverty of spirit and reveals an almost immeasurable urgency by saying, “Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:20).”
The Living Word connects my entrance into the kingdom of heaven with being poor in spirit.
Why then do we exert so much energy, effort, and time to propping up our imagined spiritual assets? Why build a sense of righteousness on a non-existent foundation of self capacity? Why pretend before the All Knowing God?
This 21 Days of Fasting and Prayer I am inviting you into the place of contemplation pictured in the song, “Shut in with God in a Secret Place.”
The sweet Spirit of God begins to open our eyes to various props with which we avoid our total inability to effect salvation or right standing with God.
From my perspective, the largest and most significant prop we hold and that prohibits us from “taking hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of us,” is “I.”
The western world has deified personal opinion. “I think” has become this generation’s “infallible and authoritative word of god.” The God of the Ten Commandments, 1 Corinthians 13, and the Beatitudes has been replaced by the false god of “my opinion.”
The “My Opinion Idol” is worshiped, even to the point of human sacrifice, by millions of folks who have been tricked into the myth of personal opinion transcendence.
However, this idolization of personal opinion is not a new practice.
The children of Israel did the same thing as recorded in Judges 21:25, “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” It didn’t end well for Israel and it won’t end well for us.
Total surrender to the Word of God, the will of God, and the ways of God is the only antidote to this diabolical idol. I must be crucified with Christ! All the way on the cross. Dead to self entirely.
In your fasting and prayer closet, will you ask God to “tear down my idols of personal opinion so I stand totally dependent upon God and His grace?”
Day eight of our Twenty-One Days of Fasting and Prayer is being marked by an intensity of prayer and pursuit of God. Glory to God!
Our noon prayer meeting, last week, featured Dick Eastman’s “Hour that Changes the World” model of prayer. Starting today, for the rest of this week, we will be praying each noontime according to a prayer guide I have prepared called, RENEW. The renewal of God’s work within me is one of my great needs.
In our RENEW prayer time we will be considering these five components of renewal, 1. Return, 2. Enter, 3. Notice, 4. Engage, 5. Wonder.
Return Renewal begins with a returning of the whole heart to the Father.
- Luke 15:20 – The prodigal returns to Father
Enter Returning to the Father, we see that He has much for us to enter.
- Ezra 3:11-13 – Upon returning to Israel, they built the foundation of the Temple
Notice As we enter, we notice much about ourselves that must change.
- James 1:22-24 – Forgetting one’s own mirror image
Engage As changed persons, we fully engage ourselves in further renewal.
- Ezra 7:10 – Ezra had set his heart to study, do, and teach the word
Wonder Renewed and fully engaged, we see God’s wondrous graces
- Acts 13:41 – God is doing a work that scoffers won’t believe
- Acts 15:12 – People fall silent upon hearing the wonders of God
May God grant significant renewal to you and me as we humble ourselves in fasting and prayer.