Thursday, 30 June 2022

Prayer and Fasting

 Scripture: Matthew 4 v 1 - 4: "Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

2  And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
3  And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
4  But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."

When Jesus had His forty day fast it came immediately after He was baptised in water by His cousin, John the Baptist.  When He came up out of the water people witnessed the Holy Spirit coming upon Him like a dove, and remaining upon Him.

It coincided with Matthew 3 v 16 - 17: "And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
17  And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

The heavens were opened.  By the baptism of Jesus.  Therefore it follows that when we are baptised in water, another break in the covering over all nations is made.
Isaiah 25 v 7 - 9: "And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations. 
8  He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.
9  And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation."

Jesus made huge breakthroughs for each one of us, and after His baptism He went into the desert to fast forty days and take on the full might of Satan, the god of this world.  He prevailed against him by quoting scripture to him that made Satan's temptations null and void.  We can, and should, do likewise.

When we fast when the Holy Spirit leads us to do so, it is very humbling.  Our pride gets crushed by fasting, even hidden pride that we are unaware of.  This makes our approach to the Lord much easier.  The Holy Spirit will reveal the barriers in our flesh and soul that hinder our spiritual growth.  This is essential, and we must pray for these to be removed from us and anyone else who may be likewise blocked.

Fasting strengthens us in our fight against evil.  We subdue the flesh by denying it everything for the time of our fast.  No TV, no sex, no food, no social media, no games, no sports, no entertainment of any kind, subdues the flesh.  When this happens our spirit grows powerfully and we become closer to God, and Jesus.  His presence is stronger, His revelations deeper, His voice more audible.  

Fasting heightens our senses to discern right from wrong.  Our objective is to get get closer to the Lord, never to achieve a goal of our own but to eliminate things that fester within our souls that block the knowledge of His perfect will for us.

Fasting without prayer is just a hunger strike.  Prayer is direct communication with our Father and it is enhanced by fasting.  Praying in tongues edifies the mind, receiving the interpretation of our tongues gives us insight and direction.  Let the Lord lead you in what books or chapters of the Bible will highlight whatever your needs may be.

As fasting accelerates removal of bitterness and memory recall of hurts, we may face flashbacks of our past brought to us by the Holy Spirit.  He helps us pray through the pain and cleanse our hearts and minds of the awful incidents in our lives.  

Luke 4 v 18: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,"

Those that are bruised in spirit will find great release by fasting.  There are different types of fasting.  There is the Daniel fast of ten days in which he ate no pleasant food.  No cakes, biscuits, puddings, sweets, mainly a mix that sounds like muesli.  

Then there is the urgent fast of Esther.  3 days of nothing but water to every Jew in that city, even every animal fasted, to enable her to approach the King.  If one approached him without being summoned it was instant death.  Haman, the wicked adviser to the King had caused him to decree death to all Jews.

The Jews fasted and prayed for deliverance, Esther made a bountiful feast for the King and sent him an invitation.  He came and was so impressed that he made Esther his Queen and gave her whatever she wanted.  All I want is for my people to be spared.  She got her request and Haman was hanged.

Forty is the number of judgment in God's eyes.  Therefore this long fast is for people to be spared from judgment.  Moses fasted forty days when he was receiving the Ten Commandments written by the finger of God on tablets of stone.  

He went down the mountain to find the Israelites busy breaking all of these commandments.  He smashed the tablets and went back to God and fasted another forty days for the second version.  He averted God wiping out all the Jews that had escaped from Egypt.

Joel 1 v 13 - 15: "Gird yourselves, and lament, ye priests: howl, ye ministers of the altar: come, lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God: for the meat offering and the drink offering is withholden from the house of your God.
14  Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the LORD your God, and cry unto the LORD, 
15  Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come."

Whenever God withheld things from the Israelites, they knew that they needed to fast to restore their fellowship with the Lord.  The same applies to us, if we have gone astray and don't know how to restore communication with Jesus, fasting is a very good way.  If we mean business with God He responds the same way.

Isaiah 57 v 15: "For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones."

During long or short fasts a prophetic word may come to give us direction, or to remove barriers to a situation that the Lord has planned for us. We fast to have our ears open to the Lord and give Him our full attention.  As we spend this quality time with Him He rewards us with more of Himself.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, we thank You for the blessing of fasting that brings us nearer to You.  It helps clear our hearts and minds of accumulated baggage and heals our hurts and bad memories.  I pray that all who read this blog will pray for the right time to have a fast and reap the wonderful benefits of it.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.