The sixth of our steps to excellence in ministry is to commit ourselves to a lifestyle of prayer and fasting.
Prayer is the foundation for success in every Christian endeavor.
Jesus is our example.
Have you noticed how often the Bible mentions that he withdrew to a lonely and solitary place to pray?
In fact, if you study it out you’ll see that Jesus moved from one place of prayer to the next and in between, the Power flowed!
Mark 1:35King James Version (KJV)
35And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.
Luke 6:12King James Version (KJV)
12And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
These are just two of the many instances recorded in the gospels.
Jesus was in continual communication with God through prayer.
He spent hours every day separated from the people, fellowshipping with His Heavenly Father.
If he had the need for preparation through prayer, how much more should we?
In fact, such foundation and preparation is the only thing that will keep us together when we’re faced with the situations that require a great deal of faith.
Even the apostles recognized this need!
They chose deacons to assist them in their duties, saying:
Acts 6:2-4King James Version (KJV)
2Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.
3Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
4But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
If we have taken the time to saturate our minds and hearts with the word of God – to the extent that we’re single-minded on that word, our thinking will no longer be influenced by doubt, fear, and unbelief.
We will stop wailing and begging God for power to do the job.
We’ll experience the truth of 1John 2:27; Which promises the anointing that abides or remains in us.
1 John 2:27King James Version (KJV)
27But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
All we have to do is open our mouth and of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.
The word will be what is in your heart in abundance and that is what will come out.
Prayer and study are the keys.
The anointing is there – we have, past tense, received it.
But it is accessed and released by prayer.
Our ministry will be severely limited if we’re not prepared to base it on fellowship with God.
It is in our prayer time; more specifically, time spent praying in the spirit –that we will find out what God would have us say in the moment and how to conduct ourselves.
Nothing can be substituted for prayer.
Now, a few words on a very popular subject – fasting!
We won’t get into the nuts and bolts and specifics on how to fast – that’s a book all by itself.
Contrary to popular belief, fasting was not given to us as a spiritual discipline that helps us convince God to do something he doesn’t want to do or influence Him to act on our behalf.
Abstaining from food does not impress God!
The purpose of fasting is to shut off the influence of the flesh in order to become even more in tune with the spirit.
It brings areas to the surface that need correction so you can deal with them in light of the word.
It will keep us keen to the voice of God for guidance– both for our own lives and the lives of others for whom we are interceding.
We must be very careful not to fast in order to receive visions or apparitions from the Lord. Why?
Because Satan would love to step in and manifest himself as an “angel of light” in order to deceive you!
Make a quality decision not to seek dreams and visions.
If the Lord sees fit to bring them that’s great!
But we have to determine to base our faith on and receive our revelation from the Word of God alone!
Because, anything we receive, aside from the Word of God will not produce faith.
Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.
Fasting helps us receive from God but it does not push God to action.
Faith is all it takes to move God to exercise of power for you.
The problem is not God’s unwillingness to help us or his inability to intervene on behalf.
The problem is the believer’s spiritual density!
It’s our inability to understand and receive what Christ has already provided to Calvary.
Fasting is simply a tool that puts us in a position to be more spiritually sensitive and “tuned in” to God, so we can better receive from him.
Let’s talk about the rewards of fasting:
Matthew 6:17-18King James Version (KJV)
17But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;
18That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
The reward of fasting is whatever motivated you to fast in the first place.
Whatever it is, establish it by faith and declare it before you even start to fast.
Expect to receive it!
God will see in secret and reward you openly.
Perhaps you’re fasting for no other reason than to fellowship with God.
That is a sound reason and you will receive your reward of divine fellowship.
You may be fasting to better understand something from the Word of God that you know he has been trying to reveal to you, but you haven’t been able to grasp it, yet.
That understanding can be the reward you seek during your fast.
Perhaps you have been praying for an unsaved family member. Your fast can be undertaken as a time a special intercession.
Declare the purpose of the fast and that will be the reward.