MAXIMIZING THE BLESSEDNESS OF PRAYER AND FASTING
In God's pattern, He declares the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:9-10, Nehemiah 9:21). God wants His people to remember what He did in the past, to make them understand that He is capable of doing it again. What He says to one, He says to all and if He sustained them for forty years and they lacked nothing, He is capable of providing all our needs this year.
But how can we make this happen?
God’s commandment for fasting and prayers, just like every commandment of his, is for our good and profiting (2nd Timothy 3:16-17).
Specifically, fasting is commanded for our benefit because certain blessings are released to us when we fast. We must be careful not to sell our heritage to our inability to control our stomach. Hebrews 12:16 tells of Esau who forfeited his place as the firstborn because of food. So in these twenty-one days, we must not allow our stomach to deprive us of God's provisions.
PROFITABLE APPROACH TO FASTING
- CONFESSION: We must confess and forsake our sins. Proverbs 28:13 warns about the dangers of covering - living with - sin. We must not assume forgiveness of sin, because it will always be a barrier to our prayers. That is why the bible says we call God a liar, if we say we have no sin (1st John 1:9). There is no sin that God cannot forgive, but, He may not, until man confesses it.
- NO OFFENSE: Refuse to be offended in God and in men. In Isaiah 58:9, the bible says, "Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer...if thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;"
So, no matter what, we must reject the temptation of offense. If you have lost something, God is the reason you have not lost everything (Isaiah 43:9). The things God has done for us far outweigh those we think He has not done. We are alive because He kept us and only the living can identify that something is not working (Matthew 11:6).
Some are not offended in God but in men. They have become cheap victims of satanic manipulations and that is one of the strategies Satan engages to disconnect people from answers to prayers. Satan has no powers, he only has tricks. He sends people that are close to you to offend you, knowing that if you do not forgive men their trespasses, God will not forgive you. If you are not forgiven, your sin becomes a barrier between you and God. We must not be offended in anyone and we should learn to operate forgiveness in advance, that is forgiving people even before they offend us.
- DEFINE GOALS: Set out goals and objectives for the fast. A wise man said living without goal is living like a goat. Proverbs 29:18 says, "Where there is no vision, the people perish…..” Ask yourself, what am I out to accomplish within these twenty-one days? There must be purpose and direction. Can you imagine two football teams playing a football match without goal posts? If there are no goals at the beginning of the fasting, you may not know whether you have scored any (Ezra 8:21). We need to be strategic and we can do so by dividing the period into seven parts of three days each, with each three-day session targeting a particular issue. The first session of three days may be allotted to spiritual needs (James 2:26). So, you need to build your spirit. Our walk with God must take preeminence this year, not forgetting that it is the spiritual realm that controls the physical.
- PREPARE TO ENGAGE YOUR HEART IN SEEKING GOD. (Proverbs 16:1). Our heart must be involved because Jeremiah 29:13 teaches that we find God when our search is wholehearted.
BENEFITS OF FASTING AND PRAYERS
Let's consider some of the benefits of fasting and prayers
- God takes over our battles when we fast and pray (2nd Chronicles 20:5-24)
- Deliverance from every satanic yoke (Isaiah 58:6).
- We receive express answers to our prayers (Isaiah 58:9).
- Divine Favour.
- Fulfillment of Prophecy. Every prophecy that has gone ahead of us must be fulfilled with speed.
The counsel of God for everyone this year shall stand...
Every member of this church who is alive today, will be alive by the end of the year...
All through this year it shall be congratulations galore...you will not lack good health...you will never know the meaning of stagnation...
You will prevail this year, no matter the battles of life...
in the mighty name of Jesus, Amen.