Congratulations! You’ve made it half way there! If you started at the beginning with us, you have fasted for 20 days. Praise the Lord for his goodness and mercy on us. If the middle of your fast, you may be feeling tired or uncertain. God may be bringing things up and stirring things up in you that are difficult to deal with. He may be asking you to do something that you really are scared to do.
A fast is a time of refining.
It is a time of dedication and commitment.
It is a time of listening and waiting on the Lord.
It is a time of repenting and filling.
It is a time of breaking and healing.
It is a time of redemption.
It is a time of secrecy, where God meets you in the secret place. Then he will show off what he will do in your life and through your prayers.
It is not a time of religious pomp.
It is not a time of show and tell.
It is not a time of works to get God to do what you want.
Fasting is a time for God to do what he wants to do in you- Glorify himself.Tweet
Since we are in the middle of our fast, I want to reflect on a scripture that starts in the middle of a story. It’s the middle of Gideon’s story. Many of you have read my Bible study Revealed in Ephesians – The Mystery of Who I Am in Christ. You know how much I love this story! I talk about how Gideon is so afraid. He is called, but afraid and doubting God. But, God sees a warrior when he sees Gideon. Even when Gideon is unsure, God is sure.
God walks Gideon through the process of his calling to do God’s work and deliver Israel. After Gideon accepts the calling, he jumps into action. He tears down his Father’s idols and burns them as an offering to the Lord. Next, he begins to build his army, as people rally around the call. In the Hebrew language it indicates that the Spirit of the Lord puts on Gideon like a garment!
Here we have an account of a fearful – but willing- man filled with the Spirit. God has clothed himself with Gideon! Why does God choose to do this? Because when he uses weak people, it is extra obvious that he is the one doing the work. When the Lord fills a shy person with boldness he declares his might through an unlikely mouthpiece. When he fills an uncertain person with confidence, he declares he is a God who is in control. When he uses a small remnant army to defeat uncounted thousands, he reveals he is a mighty warrior.
Gideon gathered his troops. 32,000 men took up arms to go to battle against men numbering more than the sand of the sea. Read Judges 7 below to see what God did to the size of Gideon’s army.
Gideon Defeats the Midianites Judges 7
“Early in the morning, Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) and all his men camped at the spring of Harod. The camp of Midian was north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’ Now announce to the army, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’ ” So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained.”
(Notice the Lord knows Gideon’s heart. He wants to make it clear to him that it is God himself who wins the battle.)
“But the Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will thin them out for you there. If I say, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.”So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the Lord told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues as a dog laps from those who kneel down to drink.” Three hundred of them drank from cupped hands, lapping like dogs. All the rest got down on their knees to drink.
The Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the others go home.” So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites home but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others.
Now the camp of Midian lay below him in the valley. During that night the Lord said to Gideon, “Get up, go down against the camp, because I am going to give it into your hands. If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp.” So he and Purah his servant went down to the outposts of the camp. The Midianites, the Amalekites and all the other eastern peoples had settled in the valley, thick as locusts. Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore.”
(The Lord KNEW Gideon was afraid, yet didn’t shame him. He encouraged and strengthened him!)
“Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend his dream. “I had a dream,” he was saying. “A round loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp. It struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed.”
His friend responded, “This can be nothing other than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands.”
“When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed down and worshiped. He returned to the camp of Israel and called out, “Get up! The Lord has given the Midianite camp into your hands.” Dividing the three hundred men into three companies, he placed trumpets and empty jars in the hands of all of them, with torches inside.
(Gideon was encouraged by the interpretation of a heathen’s dream from the Lord. Did you know God can give non-believer’s dreams and even interpretations? In this case, he was giving a message to Gideon to encourage him.)
“Watch me,” he told them. “Follow my lead. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly as I do. When I and all who are with me blow our trumpets, then from all around the camp blow yours and shout, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon.’ ”
Gideon and the hundred men with him reached the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just after they had changed the guard. They blew their trumpets and broke the jars that were in their hands. The three companies blew the trumpets and smashed the jars. Grasping the torches in their left hands and holding in their right hands the trumpets they were to blow, they shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” While each man held his position around the camp, all the Midianites ran, crying out as they fled.
When the three hundred trumpets sounded, the Lord caused the men throughout the camp to turn on each other with their swords. The army fled to Beth Shittah toward Zererah as far as the border of Abel Meholah near Tabbath. Israelites from Naphtali, Asher and all Manasseh were called out, and they pursued the Midianites. Gideon sent messengers throughout the hill country of Ephraim, saying, “Come down against the Midianites and seize the waters of the Jordan ahead of them as far as Beth Barah.”
(God can bring confusion into the enemy’s camp, so that the enemy ends up doing things that bring destructions to his own plans. I have see this when God takes what the enemy means for evil and uses it to destroy the devil’s ultimate plan. This was a supernatural confusion from the Lord.)
So all the men of Ephraim were called out and they seized the waters of the Jordan as far as Beth Barah. They also captured two of the Midianite leaders, Oreb and Zeeb. They killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and Zeeb at the winepress of Zeeb. They pursued the Midianites and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon, who was by the Jordan.
So, the Lord delivered Israel from great oppressive nations by the hand of 1 fearful uncertain man and 300 soldiers who blew trumpets and broke clay pots.
Someone may ask me, “Why doesn’t God just do it himself? Why do we have to be involved in the spiritual battle?”
The answer is clear- God isn’t doing it himself just for himself. He is doing it through us for us. He wants to be in relationship with us. A relationship of a holy God with a broken human race produces the healing, the building, the strengthening, the renewing of the broken life. God did more for Israel’s faith using Israel itself than if he just fought the battle while they were cowering in caves and holes in the ground.
God didn’t call us to live lives as cowards. He calls us to rise up in his power. If you have never felt the power of God rising up in you that changes you, heals you and strengthens you- it’s time for a change! If it’s been a long time- it’s time for a new move of God. God is calling up his remnant army to rise up from being mighty fearful to mighty forceful.
We need to pray with power and might- trusting the Lord. If we are weak- GOOD! All the better. Admit it and expect a mighty God to fill you. Ask him for what you need. He will be patient with you the way he was with Gideon. Gideon was actively following him. Actively follow. Actively ask. Actively seek. Actively obey.
When we pray, we must pray in the authority that God gives to his people. Yes, we are humble. Yes, we are sinners, but we are redeemed, cleaned and ready to be filled! God is ready to put you on like a garment. Be filled! Be bold! If you need cleansing from sin- repent. God will do the rest.
Here is a short scripture on the power of righteous prayer-
The Prayer of Faith James 5
“Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. If you are in Christ, living for him, repenting of sin and seeking to live a life filled with the Spirit- you need to have confidence in Christ! Let your prayers reflect the power of the resurrection in you. You are bought with a price. You were raised in power. Pray in that confidence. Pray in that power. The word “effective” in the Greek means to provides resistance in battle. Let your prayers of faith in Christ provide resistance in the battle today!
Let’s pray! I challenge you to pray out loud today.
- Lord God, I lift you up. I lift your name. There is no other name like yours. Your name moves mountains. Your name heals the sick. Your name raises the dead to life. Your name heals the nations. At your name demons flee. Your name is great and mighty. The name of Jesus! I declare your name Jesus! The Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. You died for my sin and rose again. I thank you for your sacrifice. I worship you!
- Lord, bring your kingdom here. Build it here, Oh Lord. Build your kingdom in lives and hearts and minds. Bring it! (Take time to pray for government leaders.)
- Lord, let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Lord, evil people resist you. They resist your will and your ideas. They submit to Satan. Lord, resist the works of Satan in this world and bring your will. Build your people up to have strength to resist the works of Satan and the call of their flesh. Let your will be clear, Lord. Fill me with the knowledge of your will with all spiritual wisdom and understanding that I may live a life worthy of your calling. I want to please you in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of you God, being strengthened with all power according to your glorious might so that I may have great endurance and patience. I give joyful thanks to you Father, who has qualified me to share in the inheritance of your holy people in the kingdom of light. For you have rescued me from the dominion of darkness and brought me into the kingdom of the Son you love, in whom I have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
4. Lord, use me! Bring people into my life to minister to. Give me opportunities to minister to others. I want to be your hands and feet- doing your will. Fill me with your Spirit to do your will. Fill me and baptize me! Fill me to overflowing, Lord! Pour out of me. I love you. I ask that you do your great works through me- so that you can be glorified!
5. Teach me and fill me with your revelation and wisdom. I want to know you in intimate, life-changing ways. I want to honor you. I want to understand you, Lord. Strengthen me in my inner man. Strengthen me to know your love. Strengthen those I love in their inner beings. Let your work be done in those I love. Pour out your Spirit in revelation and wisdom on my loved ones and my friends. (name them by name!)
6. I pray for spiritual leaders, pastors (name your pastor and leaders), and spiritual leaders across the nation and world. Forgive me for criticizing, slandering, gossiping about them. Please forgive me for not lifting them up in prayer and support. I ask that you pour your Spirit out and strengthen those in leadership. Open their eyes to their own sin that they will repent. Give them hope in their calling. I stand against Satan’s attacks against them in the name of Jesus. I resist the attacks of the evil one on the leaders of the body of Christ. I pray that you encourage them. Bring them Jonathons, Aarons and Hurs alongside them to hold up their hands, to bear their armor, to go into battle with them. Call the church itself up to battle. The church is so busy being entertained and pursuing the things of this world, we have forgotten our call to win the lost, to disciple, to worship and to proclaim your coming. Raise the body of Christ up, that people would awaken and desire what you desire- a committed relationship with you – your kingdom being established on this earth through your power.
7. I pray against confusion, depression, despair, defeat, hopelessness, and self-harm, in Jesus’ name. I stand against these spirits and spirits of suicide that are harassing many- including those in spiritual leadership and even the very young and vulnerable. Lord, go to battle against this wave of depression and lift it off of your people that we can be healed and strengthened, in Jesus’ name.
8. I pray for your leading in these times. I ask that you give me discernment that I will not be deceived. I throw myself on you, Lord! Teach me! I stand against lies from Satan and ask that you bring your truth to me.
9. I pray that you will raise up workers into your harvest fields. Show us where the ripe harvest is and instruct us how to harvest, oh Lord of the harvest. Bring in the harvest, Lord. Save the lost. Open the eyes of those who are blind that they can see, in Jesus’ name. (Spend time asking the Lord to save those you know who aren’t believers.)
10. Bring repentance from sin to the believers. (repent for personal sin here) Convict in areas where hearts have been hard. Soften hearts, Lord. Bring a peace where there is anxiety about you. Where people have been hurt by believers, whether it is parents or church leaders, please bring these people to a place of forgiveness. Draw back the prodigal sons and daughters.
11. Raise up our children to serve you, Lord. Don’t “just” save them. Deliver them. Redeem them. Draw them by your Spirit. Reveal your love to them. Speak to our children by your Spirit, Oh Lord. Give birth to life inside of them. Call them up from death to life. Overcome them with your love. Bring to pass Joel 2- “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.” As we see the fearful signs of the times, we eagerly anticipate your pouring out of your Spirit, Oh Lord!
12. Prepare our hearts, Lord, for whatever we must walk in. Prepare us with your love. Lead us and speak to us. Direct us in any physical preparations we need to make to prepare. Let us know how we must prepare. Give us direction, Lord. Confirm it to us.
13. Lord, we pray for the incredible division and racial tensions in this nation. May your church rise up and be the light. Bring repentance where there is hatred and racism. Bring freedom and healing to those who are in chains of the bondage of sins from years gone by. Lord, shake the power of Satan off of your people. He is trying to bring us into bondage through division, political distress, uncertainty, fear, pain, accusations, and all things that are evil. Bring your light into this situation that the truth can be revealed in every area of contention. Expose evil doers, Lord. Bring justice and righteousness and healing, Oh Lord. We pray against all witchcraft that is being done to stir the pot of hatred in this nation. Break every curse and every hex that has been spoken over this nation, in Jesus’ name. Raise up your church to speak righteousness and truth and peace and to lead the way to racial reconciliation through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
14. Lord, you are our deliverer, our guide, our armor. We put you on now. We put on the armor of God. We are standing in the righteousness of Christ, ready to forgive offense, ready to repent from sin, ready to speak life not death, ready to pray, ready to listen to and hear the truth, ready with the gospel of peace at our feet. We put on the armor of light in Christ Jesus!
15. Spend time worshipping the Lord and listening to anything he wants to say to you.
If this prayer guide has blessed you- please share with a friend that they can be blessed, too.