The Power of Fasting & Prayer
You can watch the full service HERE
You can listen to the Podcast HERE
There's no question that the past two years have been challenging. But God's Word has promised us that we can live triumphantly despite any circumstance.
The Lord is calling us to claim The Year of VICTORY!
As a believer, you should be living a victorious, joy-filled life in Christ - but how? Throughout 2022, we will explore what it means to find freedom in every area of life and how to triumph over the areas that hold you back from walking in the joy of the Lord.
Where in your life do you need a victory?
Let's believe and discover VICTORY together!
Key “Theme” verse for 2022:
1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
As we launch into a new year – striving for Victory – in all areas of our life we need to start here, today: How to have a victorious spiritual life of fasting and prayer.
I want to set the stage for not only this month but for the year. For the month of January, I want to invite you to fast and pray with me. Fasting may be new to you and maybe even a regular and consistent prayer life. So, I want to give you an overview on fasting and prayer that will give you the insight, tools, and encouragement to get your spiritual life in order so that the rest of your life will follow.
I do believe that if we get our spiritual life straight, the other areas of our lives will follow. Because, when we are spiritually “right” it puts Jesus at the center and when He is at the center there is nothing else that comes in at #2 so the rest of our life can be ordered accordingly.
Let’s start by talking about FASTING:
GUIDE TO FASTING – can be found online at crossroads.org/victory
The noise and busyness of daily life can keep you distracted from praying and hearing from God. Both prayer and fasting are powerful ways to draw closer to Him, be in His presence, and discover His plans for your life. Honestly ask yourself, “What am I allowing to come between me and God’s presence?” Imagine the blessings He has for you when you prepare your heart and surrender!
1. What is Fasting?
Fasting is voluntarily going without food and/or drink, or something of significance for a limited period of time, in order to experience God.
It is not doing something and then replacing that time with spending time with God. When we empty what we have both physically and spiritually it allows God to step in and do something amazing!
“Prayer is reaching out after the unseen; fasting is letting go of all that is seen and temporal. Fasting helps express, deepen, confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God.” - Andrew Murray
2. Why Should You Fast?
You may be wondering why you should fast. I think it’s a valid question. First, fasting is not just a way to lose weight. In this context it is for spiritual benefit in our attempt to hear, serve, and follow God closely.
A. Jesus’ Example in Preparation for Ministry
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
B. It Was an Expectation that We Would Fast
16 “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.
17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,
18 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.
C. Strengthen Personal Prayer Life and Intimacy with God
So we fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty.
As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.
Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.
D. Seek the Lord’s Direction
26 Then all the people of Israel, the whole army, went up and came to Bethel and wept. They sat there before the Lord and fasted that day until evening, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord.
27 And the people of Israel inquired of the Lord (for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days,
28 and Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron, ministered before it in those days), saying, “Shall we go out once more to battle against our brothers, the people of Benjamin, or shall we cease?” And the Lord said, “Go up, for tomorrow I will give them into your hand.”
E. Showing Repentance
1 Samuel 7:6
6 So they gathered at Mizpah and drew water and poured it out before the Lord and fasted on that day and said there, “We have sinned against the Lord.” And Samuel judged the people of Israel at Mizpah.
“Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning
F. Alignment with God
3 And they said to me, “The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.”
4 As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.
G. Expressing Love & Commitment to God
And then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.
3. Types of Fasting
A. Complete Fast: abstaining from food and drinking only liquids (Matthew 4:2; Luke 4:2)
B. Selective Fast: removing certain elements from your diet (Daniel 1:12)
C. Partial Fast: (aka The Jewish Fast): fast during specific times of the day, for example sunup to sundown
D. Soul Fast: good for those new to fasting or those who have health issues preventing them from fasting from food. Also a good way to refocus specific areas that are out of balance.
E. Total Fast: no food or drink (Ezra 10:6)
F. Private Fast: (Matthew 6:16-18) what you are doing
G. Congregational Fast: (Joel 2:15-16) what we are doing
H. National Fast: (2 Chronicles 20:3)
I. Periodic Fast: (Leviticus 16:29-31)
4. How to Safely Fast
A. Fast only as the Spirit directs you.
B. Before starting a fast, consult your doctor to ensure you are in good health.
C. If you have never fasted, initially start with a 1 or 2 day fast.
D. People who are diabetic, pregnant or nursing, on medication or have a physical condition that depends on a regular diet, should NOT fast without proper medical supervision.
E. Drink plenty of fluids unless God is clearly leading you to abstain from liquids.
F. Prepare your schedule. Decide where you will meet with God and how you will spend your time differently.
5. Questions to Ask While Fasting
A. How can I experience God’s grace through fasting?
B. What fears of fasting do I need to confess and release to God?
C. What will obediently following the Spirit’s leading to fast look like for me?
D. How can I separate myself from the world to spend quality time in prayer and truly listen to Him?
Now let’s talk about PRAYER:
January Prayer Guide can be found online at crossroads.org/victory
5 And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
7 And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.
8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
1. It is an Expectation That We Would and Should Pray
2. It is Not About Praying Vain Prayers to Impress People
3. It is Not About Elegancy in Our Words – But Rather Sincerity in Our Heart
Break Down of the Lord’s Prayer: Matthew 6:9-13
1. Worship & Prayer: acknowledging God this way and knowing His place and our place
9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
2. Invitation & Submission: inviting the Kingdom into our everyday life and submitting to His will
Matthew 6:10 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
3. Provision: welcoming & requesting God’s help into all areas of our life
Matthew 6:11 11 Give us this day our daily bread,
4. Forgiveness & Repentance: asking and allowing God to search our heart and mind and to remove anything that may be sinful
Matthew 6:12 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
5. Protection: against temptation, evil and the attacks of the enemy
Matthew 6:13 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Let me close by going back to forgiveness and repentance.
I think that for some people, you don't have that spiritual breakthrough in your life, it could be because you haven't forgiven somebody. Forgiveness is very powerful. Do you realize that oftentimes forgiveness is more for you than it is for the person that you're forgiving? Sometimes the person that you're forgiving doesn't even want forgiveness or couldn't care less about it. But of you, it's freeing.
This prayer, it's acknowledging and it's asking God to forgive us of our debts, but in that same time it's actually forgiving other people as well. Some of you, your biggest breakthrough this season of your life might be forgiving somebody else.
Again, if you're new to praying, this is a great way to structure possibly your prayer time. You could take the Lord's Prayer and structure your personal prayer time off of those five components. You could start off by worshiping him. You could invite His kingdom into your life specifically. You can then move on to asking him to provide for you, for provisions.
You can go to forgiveness, asking for forgiveness, offering forgiveness, praying for protection.
It's a great rhythm to a prayer life.