Tag: fasting

Prayer & Fasting // Called to Pray

Prayer is central to following Jesus.

He modeled a life of prayer and repeatedly taught His disciples to pray. He taught specific prayers, He promised to answer us and He challenged His disciples to pray in faith.

In one parable, found in Luke 18:1-18, we read a peculiar story about a judge who was indifferent to the plight of a poor woman who was seeking justice. He initially refused to hear her case, but she persisted and confronted him every day until he finally relented. Luke informs us that Jesus told this parable to teach His disciples that they “ought always to pray and never give up.”

Faith is the key to understanding this story and a powerful lesson for us. The woman knew her strength was insufficient, but she knew the judge had the power to help. In other words, she had faith and this faith caused her to “cry out day and night.” Do we have this same faith? Do we recognize our need? Do we trust that God’s power is enough? The God we serve is not an indifferent judge but a loving Father who joyfully gives us good things.

Whenever we fast, we set aside extra time to pray. The two go together.

Fasting is an act of voluntary weakness and a confession of human need. Prayer is a partnership with God to see His will done on the earth. God does not need our human help, as though His power were lacking; instead, God chooses to work through human partnership.

This is seen as early as Genesis 2 when God created the animals but asked Adam to name them. Throughout Scripture, God works through people. He chose Abram, He called Moses and He anointed David. These people repeatedly failed but God never abandoned His plan. God choose to partner with us to do His will on the earth.

Prayer is central to this partnership. It’s like young children working with their father. The father doesn’t need the child’s strength. After all, he could work much faster by himself! Instead, the father seeks relationship and the joy of working together. If the children ignored the father while working than they would have missed the point entirely. The same is true for us.

Prayer is a partnership, but even more so, prayer is a relationship.

We often overvalue our ability and strength, as though human effort is the cure for all problems. Our society views prayer as merely a last resort or perhaps a tool to gain inner peace. But a right view of God and a right view of ourselves flips the equation. Prayer is the greatest work. Prayer acknowledges the power of God is far greater than our own and reorients us to a partnership with Him. We still work hard but we do so in a relationship with Him.

Today, set aside expanded space to pray. You can use tools here to help guide your time. Ask God to increase your faith as you enter into prayer. We need a move of God to stop Coronavirus, to heal the sick and to guide our leaders and medical professionals. Even more so, we need a move of God to restore our hearts and revive our land. Press in today and let’s live with hearts of faith as we believe for God to move.


Read this article for more tips for a great fast.

Here’s a crafted prayer centered on 2 Chronicles 7:14 to pray throughout the day as we humble ourselves, pray and repent through this fast.

Join us live on YouTube for Jesus Hour Monday – Wednesday at 7 a.m., noon and 7 p.m.

Why do we Fast and Pray?

It was 1997 and I was living in a hopeless situation with no earthly way out. I was dead in sin and addiction. Broken marriage, broken family and broken life, but someone cared enough to fast and pray. It was my wife. That fall was a battlefield and my wife was at war. On November 23, 1997, the 32nd day of her water fast, I was gloriously set free from the sin that had entangled me for the past 28 years. For the first time in my life I was free and it was because of His grace through her faith in fasting and prayer.

Why do we fast and pray? “To loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free…” (Isaiah 58:6).

Everyone has someone in their lives who needs a breakthrough. It may be your father, mother, brother, sister, roommate, classmate, coworker or your child. It may be your neighbor, a people group that you have been called to or the nation in which you live. Whoever it is, your fasting and prayer may be the only earthly weapon working together with the blood of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, along with God’s will to bring breakthrough.

WHY DO WE FAST AND PRAY? TO TURN THE TIDE OF THE CULTURAL SITUATION THAT NEEDS GOD’S INTERVENTION.

Some people say that fasting is only for personal submission to the Lord and that it does not move the hand of God to act on our behalf. While fasting certainly does create a place for a deeper submission in us to the Lord, I believe fasting and prayer are the key components for turning the tide of anything we face.

During our second year on the mission field, our team felt burdened for a red light district in our area. We began to fast, pray and contend before the throne of God for a breakthrough. Within a year and a half of contending before God we saw 90 percent of all the bars in that area completely shut down and they are still shut down to this day. We also saw many prostitutes in the largest brothel in our area come to the Lord.

WHY DO WE FAST AND PRAY? BECAUSE WE NEED THE FAVOR OF THE LORD.

Esther needed the favor of the Lord, so she called a national time of fasting and prayer. What she was going to do could cost her her life, so she needed God to intervene (Esther 4:16). What are you facing today that you need the favor of the Lord? Is it the need of a new job? A house to sell? A business to take off? An election to win? A truth revealed because someone lied about you? Your spouse to come into agreement with you on something the Lord has spoken? Whatever it is, fasting and prayer puts you in the position for a breakthrough into favor.

WHY DO WE FAST AND PRAY? THAT WE MAY LIVE IN THE PROTECTION AND THE DELIVERANCE OF THE LORD (EZRA 8:21, 23, 31).

In a world of so many attacks, including verbal, mental, emotional and spiritual, even sometimes physical, we need the protection of the Lord. There are times when we experience overwhelming pressures in our lives that we have no answer for. There is seemingly no way out. Often times, these things could be stopped before they started, or revealed and done away with, if fasting and prayer were a valued spiritual commitment that we implemented in our lives.

WHY DO WE FAST AND PRAY? BECAUSE “TEMPTATION MAY COME AS A SURPRISE BUT SIN IS NOT AN ACCIDENT.”

The devil was coming to tempt Jesus, but He was ready for Him. He was prepared with the Word of God, His sword and with 40 days of fasting and prayer (Matthew 4). What temptation are you facing right now? The lust of the flesh? The lust of the eyes? The pride of life? All temptation falls into these three categories. Whatever it is, there is a pathway to victory through fasting and prayer. We cannot stop temptation from coming, but when it does come, we can walk in power to overcome it through a lifestyle of fasting and prayer!

WHY DO WE FAST AND PRAY? TO MOVE THE HAND OF GOD.

For some, the thought that we are able to do anything to move God is so absurd that they can never accept it. Yet history is filled with stories of those who have fasted and prayed until God answered. Did fasting and prayer cause God to respond? I believe it did. Martin Luther, John Wesley and Charles Finney all saw the Lord impact their generations and they were all men of fasting and prayer. It was Smith Wigglesworth who said, “If the Spirit of God is not moving, I will move the Spirit of God.”

WHY DO WE FAST AND PRAY? BECAUSE WE WANT TO BE HUNGRY FOR GOD.

When we find ourselves lulled to sleep by a consumer Christianity, fed up with going through the motions of compartmentalized Christianity and cannot live another day of our lives in complacent Christianity we decide, “I have to have more of God!” Everything becomes secondary to pursuing the presence of the Lord in a deeper way. Nothing can satisfy us but a deeper reality of the Lord in our lives.


IN RESPONSE:

Look around you right now. There has never been a time in history that needs people of fasting and prayer more. Will you join in this season of fasting and prayer and be counted among those who are part of turning the tide of a generation and moving the hand of God to act on behalf of those who’s faces are set toward Him? It is time to fast and pray!

Corporately, we are kicking off a three-day Prayer and Fast this Monday, February 27th – Monday, March 1st. Join us as we seek God and contend for breakthrough in our lives and in the lives of those around us.

This post was written by an Antioch missionary

Fasting for Breakthrough: A Letter from Jimmy

A few years ago there was a young couple in our Lifegroup who were struggling with their eight year-old son. He seemed out of control and they seemed out of wisdom and strength to help him. We agreed as a Lifegroup to take three days to fast and to pray for a breakthrough for their son. We stayed in contact during those days; praying and asking God to touch his life in a fresh way and to give the parents fresh wisdom on how to lead their son. After those three days they begin to say things seemed different in their home and felt they had direction for how to handle some of the unruly behavior. By the next week when they came to Lifegroup he was a different little boy. Today he is married, walking with Jesus and holding down a solid job.

Jesus said some things only come out by prayer and fasting (Mark 9:29).

What a powerful phrase! God desires to partner with us in every way so we might see victory in the things that concern us, but some things require a little bit more. These next three days, Monday through Wednesday evening, we are asking our church family to take time to fast and pray for breakthrough in our congregation, in our city, in our nation and the nations of the earth.

We will be meeting three times a day corporately at 6:30 a.m., noon and 6:30 p.m. to worship and pray (see below for prayer time locations and fasting tips). I also encourage you to set up any separate prayer times with your friends and family around the needs of your own heart, home and the things that burden you in our world. These should be glorious days of meeting with God and watching His hand at work in response to our prayers.

I want to encourage you with this: anything you set aside in order to give more time to prayer and worship and meeting with Jesus will be a win for you and your family.

I am so grateful and thankful for each of you. I look forward to seeing you next week as we seek the Lord for breakthrough in our lives and the lives of those we love.

In His strength and love,

Jimmy

 

Prayer Time Locations

Monday and Wednesday: all prayer times are located in the Auditorium

Tuesday:

6:30 a.m. – Auditorium

Noon – Journey Room

6:30 p.m. – Underground (located in the main office building)

Fasting Tips

In anticipation of our corporate prayer and fast starting tomorrow, here are some practical tips to equip you for the safest and most faith-building experience possible. If you have a medical condition (hypoglycemia, pregnancy, etc.) or are taking medication, please consult your physician with any questions about fasting.

  • Have a purpose.
  • Set a definite beginning and ending time. Be accountable to someone if it is an extended fast.
  • If this is a new discipline for you, begin slowly. Start by fasting for one day and increase the number of days you fast over a period of time.
  • Always drink lots of water and/or juice.
  • Consult a doctor before beginning if you are on medication.
  • Set aside plenty of time for prayer during the fast.
  • Break it with healthy food — bread, fruit, nuts.
  • Make it a consistent part of your spiritual disciplines.

Why We Fast and Pray

Why do we fast?

We fast for transformation in ourselves

Many people think we fast for God so He will hear us or love us more.  However, we already have His love and His ear!  In reality, fasting is for us.  It humbles us and teaches us to depend on God and not ourselves.  Ways to experience personal transformation through fasting:

  • Block out time over meals to worship and pray (rather than filling them with tasks)
  • Every time you grow hungry, acknowledge God’s presence around you
  • Carry a Bible with you and feast on the Scriptures

We fast for transformation in others

Fasting is key for breakthrough in others because when we are dependent on Him we will naturally pray more and with more faith!  Ways to see God “break every yoke” through fasting:

  • Go into the fast with a couple people or situations in which you are praying for breakthrough
  • When you are hungry, pray for those people/situations
  • Journal anything God speaks for those people/situations and watch God answer prayer! (Psalm 5:3)

Join us as we fast and experience the transformation He has planned for us starting tomorrow through Tuesday. See the schedule below for ways you be a part of praying corporately throughout our time of fasting! All events are located in the auditorium.

Monday, November 3rd

  • 6:30 a.m. – Corporate Prayer and Worship
  • Noon – Corporate Prayer and Worship
  • 6:30 p.m. – Corporate Prayer and Worship

Tuesday, November 4th

  • 6:30 a.m. – Corporate Prayer and Worship
  • Noon – Corporate Prayer and Worship
  • 6:30 p.m. – Church-wide Prayer Rally (Kids ministry will be available for ages birth – Kindergarten. Kids 1st grade and up are invited to participate in the auditorium)

Letter From Jimmy – Why We Pray and Fast

“Blessed is the man who hungers and thirsts for righteousness…” Matthew 5:6

I love fasting…kind of.

But I really do love the fruit of fasting. When I take time and set aside food or some other comfort, it gives God room to renew my heart and my mind. His power becomes preeminent above my own abilities and that makes fasting worth it.

This Monday through Wednesday is our church-wide prayer and fast. I encourage everyone to commit to fasting and praying during those three days as we believe God for breakthroughs personally and corporately.  It could be as simple fasting one meal a day or laying aside media or some other comfort to make more space for God. You could choose to fast from food all three days and drink water or juice. Whatever you choose, please take a look at these resources to help you along the way.

Over the next three days, you can be praying:

  • For personal repentance and a renewed love for Jesus (Acts 3:19)
  • For people to be saved and prodigals to come home (Luke 15)
  • For the building of God’s House; families to be restored, the church strengthened and new vitality and health in everyone’s personal life
  • For the literal church building; for God to bring the resources and finances
  • For the churches of our city; for Waco to be “a city set on a hill” (Matthew 5:14)
  • For our churches in the U.S. and our work around the world to flourish and abound in the grace and power of God.

On Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. we will gather in the auditorium to celebrate what God has done. We will take time to worship and pray for our city, the nation and nations. Please join us!

In His strength and love,

Jimmy

 

 

ADDITIONAL FASTING RESOURCES AVAILABLE IN OUR BOOKSTORE:

 

 

Why We Fast and Pray

In a society that trains us to be independent and strong, fasting can seem very unnatural and unnecessary.  But God uses fasting as a doorway to intimacy with Him and a key for breakthrough.

Why do we fast?

We fast for transformation in ourselves:

Many people think we fast for God so He will hear us or love us more.  However, we already have His love and His ear!  In reality, fasting is for us.  It humbles us and teaches us to depend on God and not ourselves.

Ways to experience personal transformation through fasting:

  • Block out time over meals to worship and pray (rather than filling them with tasks)
  • Every time you grow hungry, acknowledge God’s presence around you
  • Carry a Bible with you and feast on the scriptures

We fast for transformation in others:

Fasting is a key for breakthrough in others because when we are dependent on Him we will naturally pray more and with more faith!

Ways to see God “break every yoke” through fasting:

  • Go into the fast with a couple people or situations in which you are praying for breakthrough
  • When you are hungry, pray for those people/situations
  • Journal anything God speaks for those people/situations and watch God answer prayer! (Psalm 5:3)

Join us as we fast and experience the transformation He has planned. It’s a new day for our city, our nation and the nations!

By Mark Speeter, Young Adult Zone Pastor