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2017 A YEAR OF PRAYER & FASTING Many are prophecying this is a year of breakthrougn and prosperity, but the truth is nothing comes without prayer and fasting. As we draw closer to the return of the Messiah and the imminent rapture of the Holy Bride of Christ, signs will Increase confirming the Lords return. One of those signs will be revival on the church that is humble before the Lord in crying out for revival in deep prayer and fasting. Today I would like to talk about the importance of preparing with holy fasting. Prayer and fasting is one of the most neglected spiritual disciplines in the life of the modern Christian today, which is one of the major reasons we do not see the power of God today demonstrated in the church. We know that prayer and fasting was not only a part of the lifestyle of many of the Prophets & Apostles in the Scripture, but even in the life of Jesus Christ. Therefore, I want to focus on prayer and fasting in the life of a Christian. WHAT IS IT? Fasting is abstinence from food or food and water with a spiritual goal in mind. It is when you neglect the most natural thing your body desires, which is food & water, in order to pursue the God of Heaven to do something supernatural in your life. When you fast whether it be one, two or three days it is an investment of credit into the Kingdom of God. It is an investment, because you don’t know what lies ahead of your life and you are storing up for that time. When you fast you are even shielding your family & ministry from trouble. When others are having troubles with their children yours are sitting in church each week because of what you have invested in fasting. Fasting places our focus on God alone, nothing else. Through sacrificing food & water, we are reminded of the need to deny ourselves continually. As our bodies are cleansed internally through fasting, our lives become more cleansed by the grace of God. Fasting points us to the holiness of God. Consequently and simultaneously, it also makes us aware of the sinfulness of ourselves that we may prepare our garments in absolute Repentance, Holiness & Righteousness. FASTING SIGNIFIES HUMILITY The children of Israel were required by God’s decree to fast on the annual Day of Atonement. (See Leviticus 16:29). God’s gift of atonement was to be met by their response of humility. Fasting was the means by which they were to demonstrate their humility . Saul of the New Testament exemplifies fasting as a response of humility before God. When he encountered the resurrected Christ in a vision on the Damascus Road and was brought to the realization that he had been fighting against God by persecuting the Church, he humbled himself with prayer and fasting for three days. (See Acts 9:9.) It was then that he received the gift of salvation, the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and a call to take the gospel to the Gentiles. (See verses 15-18.) He was prepared to receive God’s grace through humility expressed in fasting. FASTING DEMONSTRATES REPENTANCE Joel’s prophesy of judgment upon unfaithful Israel was followed by a divine call to ward off judgment through a fast of repentance. The Lord beckoned, "‘Even now,’ declares the LORD, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.’" (See Joel 2:12-13.) Similarly, James exhorts New Testament believers with these words: "Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up." (See James 4:8-10.) Fasting demonstrates the brokenness of a heart that is truly repentant for sin. WHEN SHOULD YOU PRAY AND FAST? Christians should fast when they are led by the Holy Spirit to do so. This fast may be for a one day, two days, three days, a week etc, but if you are going to fast you really need to start gradually building yourself up to fast the way Jesus did and that is Total Dry Fast without food or water. (CLICK ON LINK AT BOTTOM OF POST FOR STEP TO STEP INSTRUCTIONS HOW TO START FASTING) WHEN WE FEEL WEAK AND VULNERABLE We should fast when we feel weak and vulnerable. This may seem to be illogical as fasting weakens one physically. Many use food for psychologically gratification when they feel beat up emotionally. They are saying essentially, "I believe I’ll feel better after I eat." So, why on earth would one prescribe fasting to treat vulnerability? The logic here is that vulnerability points to our dependence upon God, and prayer and fasting appeals to God to intervene at the point of our need. When we feel vulnerable, we need God to protect us from harm and give us victory over adversity. Scripture confirms that God responds to fasting and prayer by providing protection from harm and victory over the Enemy. FASTING ASSUMES A DEVOTION THAT LASTS When we have trouble maintaining consistency in our devotion to the Lord, it is usually because it does not come natural to deny ourselves and put God and his interests ahead of our own. A regular practice of fasting and prayer helps assure more consistency in our devotion to God because it develops a lifestyle of self-denial. This is part of the cost of true discipleship. Jesus said, ""If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." (See Luke 9:23.) The prophetess Anna serves as an example of one whose lifestyle of fasting enabled a lasting devotion to God. She became a widow after only seven years of marriage. Thereafter, she was wholly devoted to the Lord into her late eighties. We read, "She never left the temple but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying." (See Luke 2:37.) And the intimacy she had with God was such that she immediately recognized the baby Jesus as the anointed Redeemer when His parents brought Him into the temple. (See verse 38.) Her devotion to the Lord made it easy for her to receive revelation from Him. FASTING INTENSIFIES THE WORSHIP OF GOD Another example of fasting being practiced as an aspect of worship is seen among the prophets and teachers of the church in Antioch. (See Acts 13:1-3.) They are described as "worshipping the Lord and fasting." (See verse 2.) Like Anna, their devotion to the Lord made it easy for them to hear from Him, and He spoke to them during their worship to set apart Barnabas and Saul for a missionary work to which they were divinely called. Upon receiving this word, they spent a season of time in fasting in prayer after which they laid hands upon Barnabas and Saul and sent them off on their first missionary journey. (See verse 3.) Fasting is an exciting venture because it focuses us upon a deeper relationship with God. God is a jealous God who gives Himself most fully to those who give themselves to Him most completely. The discipline of fasting helps us to give ourselves more fully to the Lord by putting the ax to any tendencies we have that would distract our focus from Him. In develops in us a consistency of devotion that draws us into God’s confidence in which He is pleased to walk with us and talk with us. WHEN YOU ARE DESPERATE I have practiced prayer and fasting ever since my early days as a Christian. I was never taught really about prayer and fasting. What I learned, I learned through Scripture. That is until I built a hunger to seek God. I then developed an enormous desperation for God to do a mighty work in me, my family, my church, and Country. I was sick and tired of seeing what man could do; I wanted to see what God could do. That is when the Lord started directing me to investigate Revival and understand the importance of serious prayer & fastings. WHEN YOU NEED DIRECTION It is amazing to see what God does when He aligns your spirit with the Holy Spirit of God. Nothing does this like fasting. Your mind, will, emotion, and body fight against fasting. But when God leads you to fast, your spirit comes alive. You are automatically more in tune with God and His Spirit. You begin to see what He wants you to see, feel the way He wants you to feel, and sense what He wants you to sense. As you immerse yourself in the Word of God during a time of fasting, you become alive to His will. You begin to see and sense what God is saying to you. As God speaks to us through the Word, it is prayer and fasting that can prepare us to hear and embrace the Word of God. When I need direction about major matters in my life, family, or church, I set aside a time for prayer and fasting I go to the mountain and don't come down until it is finished. Therefore, when I pray more and not eat, I am able to begin to see where God is leading me in my life and ministry. WHEN YOU NEED A MIRACLE Fasting helps us seek God in complete humility. Fasting helps us abide in the secret place. The more humble we are before God, the more we become convinced that God alone is the answer for everything. Let’s face it: At times in life, family, and ministry, we find ourselves up against the wall in desperate need for a miracle. This is not a bad place because it usually forces us to know that God alone is the only answer to the need. Many times I have been lead to stand on: Isaiah 43:1-3 “But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. 3 For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your place.” Weekly, I would fast and pray for a miracle, stating this text again and again before the Father. Daily, I would carry an this scripture in my heart witb Isaiah 43:1-3 written on it. When I had any fear or doubt, I would call out this scripture before God. God has done many miracles. Some may question whether God can do miracles today you hear these days from not only unbelievers, but Christians also. He can do anything, anytime, anywhere, with anyone. FASTING APPEALS TO GOD FOR VICTORY & BREAKTHROUGH Jehoshaphat, a king of Judah, learned the power of prayer and fasting to conquer literal military adversaries. When faced with a military alliance of Ammonites, Moabites, and Meunites, Jehoshaphat called a fast for all the people of Judah. (See 2 Chronicles 20:3.) The result was that God set confusion in the camp of the enemy so that they turned upon themselves and destroyed each other. (See verses 22-23.) For the prophet Elijah, prayer and fasting brought victory over a powerful demonic principality operating through Queen Jezebel. Elijah was fearless in the face of King Ahab and 850 prophets of Baal and Asherah (see 1 Kings 18:16-40) but ran for his life at the threat of Jezebel because she was empowered by a demonic principality of witchcraft that intimidated him. (See 1 Kings 19:1-3 and 2 Kings 9:22.) At the end of a 40 day period of fasting and prayer while in route to Mount Horeb to meet with God, Elijah received a message from God that assured Him of the Lord’s sovereignty over political and spiritual forces. (See 1 Kings 19:15-18.) He was able to return at God’s command with no fear for his security as God had assured victory over his enemies. Fasting places us in the position to receive from God’s hand protection from harm and victory over the enemy of our soul. It is not that God withholds these blessings from us but that we have been blindsided by the enemy into living below our privilege. Fasting and prayer open our eyes to see things in right perspective so that we cast off our insecurity complex and embrace an expectation of continual blessing and favor. To employ computer terminology, the old insecurity program is removed from memory and replaced with a new blessing program. Therefore fellow Christian, I want to encourage you to take up a higher level of fasting in your life, ministry and your country. For many of you, this is a new discipline. For others, it is a reminder about a neglected discipline. And for others, it is a blessing because you know the power of prayer and fasting. I hope you will pursue God with prayer and fasting more in this year of 2015 “The Year To Fear The Lord”, that we may prepare our garments for the coming of the King. If you want to find out some more basics on fasting to get you started I suggest you read a previous post I posted some time back to help get you started. (Steps To Help You Fast) - (Midnight Hour Prayers) -

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