By Pastor Ay Nee Ng
Last week Pastor Karl spoke on how do we live life to the fullest based on John 10:10. When he spoke about it, I woke up with the thought that we would be doing a series on how to live for Jesus Christ.
Many of us go through the motion of life but don’t realise that there is more to life in Jesus. Do we know Jesus’ new order—His calling of all believers to a higher standard of living? As we start our 40 days of corporate fast and prayer, I want to challenge us to make prayer and fasting a norm in our lives. It has to be part and parcel of our everyday life. We are no longer babes wanting milk but needing spiritual food for maturity. We are no longer babes who are spoon fed with His Word but are now able to discern and apply Godly wisdom in our everyday living and make disciples.
Worry never empties tomorrow of its sorrow, but it does empty it of its strength. Don’t let anyone rob you of your confidence in God. Know His Word. Hold on to His Hand. He will make your impossible mission possible and your life so much more than bearable. –Barbara Johnson
Can we tell ourselves to stop worrying or stop being anxious or fearful? Momentarily, we stumble a little when the worst things are thrown at us, but every child of God has this assurance: we can take anything up with God in prayer and fasting to break spiritual bondage over us. With God’s help, we can worry less and less until worry ceases and fear is replaced by God’s love so we can move on with boldness. God’s mission is the impossible done through us! Church, believe this, think what God can do through you, and ask of Him!!!
Let’s read Philippians 4:6-8 (NIV); as we read, faith is stirred in us.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Things come in triplets because three signifies the divine intervention and presence in why we do what we do. There are three aspects to attaining peace–no short cuts. We need all three.
1. Praying and petitioning with thanksgiving. Be thankful and come to God with a grateful humbled heart.
2. Thinking positive thoughts. Apply self-control, the fruit of the Spirit, to you mind, taking your thoughts captive, pulling down strongholds—negativity, pride, critic, and cynicism—and subjecting them to God’s will (2 Cor. 10:3-5). Church, you become what you think, so think how Jesus would do things and think as a child of God. You won’t go wrong.
3. Put into practice godly examples. Paul followed Jesus’ example; therefore, follow Jesus’ example and you are a winner!
Now, the power play is in fasting. Fasting is an important spiritual tool that the Bible teaches us to do in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. As we take time to seek God’s protection and petition the Lord in fasting and prayer, let’s be encouraged and stirred by His Word, always giving thanks and praise for His goodness endures forever.
Why do we want to make prayer and fasting a norm in our lives? Prayer is a gateway to God through Jesus Christ; it moves the hand of God and allows us to have an outlet of our soul–the anguish of our soul for communication, for hope. Fasting is the unleashed power in spiritual warfare against the wiles of the devil, spiritual darkness, and bondages.
Do you want to hear a secret to power in living a life for God? The secret is simple; make prayer and fasting a norm in your life.
Few realise its importance and the frequency needed. It helps build self-discipline in each child of God and unleashes great power in our daily living for answered prayers and deliverance. The end result is growing so much more in love with our Lord Jesus Christ and remaining humble.
“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Mt. 6:16-18).
Jesus continues his sermon, breaking down piece by piece the Pharisee’s notion of truth and replacing it with His own standards and principles. Church, we are to fast in secret and not for show. Don’t be like the Pharisees that make a show of giving to the needy and praying loudly and publicly. Jesus says prayer should be private, quiet, and secret. Jesus rebukes those same hypocrites for their long faces as they fast, hoping others will see their piety.
Jesus makes it clear that He is ushering in a new higher standard, a new understanding of following God. He tells his listeners to fast without trying to gain recognition, to do it in secret. Don’t tell what you are praying or asking, for it is between you and God. This type of fast helps build self-discipline in us and allows for self-examination. If we fast to be seen of men, then we already have our reward. Is that all the reward you really want: to be seen by others!?
Why not fast and tell no one and allow God to reward you openly someday soon? This way we can experience miracles in our lives and allow God to work it out for us. He will reward if we fast in secret for Him.
What breakthroughs are you asking? It is between you and God. This fast is to deal with ourselves first.
Let us read Psalm 121:1-8 (NAS).
I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; The LORD is your shade on your right hand. The sun will not smite you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul. The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever.
There is also an important word that most people miss. Jesus said, “When you fast”, not “if you fast”; He seems to be saying that fasting should be done at least occasionally. It is not about being legalistic and feeling commanded to fast.
Fasting should not be a chore but a desire. We willingly fast because we want to draw nearer to God. When we fast for spiritual reasons, we show God that we are serious in desiring Him more than food. To have a hunger for God is like a person’s desire for food when they are hungry. Be hungry for His Word. Be hungry to draw into worship and praise.
Let us be like David in Psalm 42:1: “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.” This is a deep sense or desire to long for the things of God and for God Himself. The picture is of a deer that has been running for its life and stops and is dying of thirst and pants for water because it is desperately thirsty. That is the type of desire God wants us to have for Him, and fasting can help us achieve that type of deep, longing desire that is like a fierce hunger for food or a dying thirst for water.
Picture yourself in a desert looking desperately for water to quench your thirst. In a way, this scene represents where we are, in a desert of emotions because of our circumstances, thirsty and hungry.
You have a choice—reach out to God through Jesus Christ in prayer by calling His name to quench your thirst and hunger or keep on seeing mirages but never reaching your full potential and living life fully for God.
Church, what are we running from or running to? Run to Jesus Christ our Lord, for He satisfies the thirsty. Surrender your needs to Him now, confessing your sins and inadequacies, and ask for spiritual awakening. Ask for the Holy Spirit to empower you, fill you with wisdom, understanding, and discernment, and give you favour of men, women and authorities. Then, give all the praise and glory to our Lord God Almighty!
I will conclude with this video: “The Mighty Influence of a Praying Mom: Rhonwyn Kendricks Story”. Mrs. Kendricks’ son produced the movie “War Room”.
Church, we want a lot of things in life, things that will bring comfort. We leave prayer aside and strive and work hard to achieve what we call success in life, but sometimes we forget that prayer achieves even more on our behalf. As we start on our 40 days corporate fast, let’s be challenged to make prayer and fasting a norm in your life.
Church, prayer has to be our first priority in all that we undertake in life. Join us to pray and fast for our church’s growth, safety and protection. The secret fasting will unleash great power and presence of God. Be prepared to be changed, not only changed but transformed!
Let us pray.