In the sermon on the mount, Jesus teaches very clearly on prayer and fasting.
5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,[a]
but deliver us from the evil one.[b]’
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Jesus taught the people saying, “When you pray.” The Greek verb tense here implies that Jesus expects them to be in a continual lifestyle of prayer. I think this concept is one that most Christians will agree is good. God expects us to pray.
We can understand this. Prayer is talking to God and listening to God. It makes sense to us. It has been modeled for us in our churches. It’s familiar to us. Even so, many of us probably will admit we could spend more time in prayer- or that we look forward to times of prayer.
Do you see that fasting is taught on in the same wording? Jesus also says, “When you fast.” The same Greek tense is used here- the Greek present tense. The NT (Greek) present tense expresses ongoing (continuing) activity, brought out in translation with helping words like: constantly, over-and-over again, habitually, progressively, intermittently, continuously (uninterruptedly). So from Jesus we hear that he wants us to fast as part of our Christian walk. Not once in a while. Not once a year. It is expected to be a continual activity of humbling ourselves before the Lord.
I was meditating on the fact that John the Baptist only ate locusts and honey. I used to imagine this weird diet as a strange preference of a man who had been out in the sun a little too much. I pictured him as a little on the crazy side. But, recently, (as I get a little crazier myself, perhaps- ha ha) I see that John the Baptist lived in the wilderness to hear from the Lord. He didn’t worry about coming in for 3 square meals. He just ate whatever he could find- locusts and honey. There is nothing spiritual about locusts and honey. There is everything spiritual about spending time committed to the Lord that is uninterrupted by other things- including eating.
When we fast, we are to do this privately and not for a show. Corporate fasting is exempt from privacy, except in how you carry yourself and how you dress and behave during the fast. Boasting and telling everyone what you are doing is going to cause you to lose your reward in heaven. But, go to your Father in your prayer closet. Combine the fast with seeking the face of God in private and he will lift you up. Fasting is a spiritual tool God has given us to humble ourselves and seek God. This humility comes with great and precious promises. God always keeps his promises. We can count on it.
He does not ask us to humble ourselves to shame us. He asks us to humble ourselves to protect us from the sin of pride and to draw close to him in intimacy. This spiritual and physical posturing comes with promises that are in Isaiah 58. We discussed these in day 29 of the fast. When you fast with others, be sure to gather together for prayer together! It is very powerful and a time for seeing the movement of God.
You may find that by day 30 you are getting into the groove of fasting. It actually may not feel as difficult, if you have been fasting just breakfast or fasting till 4pm everyday. I challenge you to pray and ask the Lord if there is a way he wants you to increase or change your fasting. Perhaps consider doing a 24 hour fast from 4pm to 4pm or even a 3 day liquid fast, where you only drink liquids. Or, you may be doing just fine and he will tell you to stay the course.
Today, our prayer focus will be to pray for the Lord to expose corruption in the church – in particular the corruption and sin of those who sit in the pews. This is today’s focus. We are crying out for the Lord to bring back the church goer from “consumer Christianity” into real, life-changing faith.
Let’s Pray! (Spending 2 minutes on each of these prayer points will give you 30 minutes of prayer. You can use this as a guide. Let the Holy Spirit lead you through each point. You may find yourself on one point for a long time. That’s okay!)
Father in heaven, hallowed be your name! You are holy Lord. You have redeemed men and women for yourself by the blood of your son Jesus. Jesus, you are not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters. (What a beautiful love you have for us, Oh Lord!) I love you, Lord! You are amazing! Father God, you are a good Father. I can call you Abba! Daddy, daddy. I know you love me. I am your child. You are lifted up and highly exalted, but you have redeemed me and adopted me into your family.
I pray that your kingdom will come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
- Build your kingdom in my life and through me. I want to be used by you. Reveal to me any sin that is in the way of your kingdom being built in my life, so I can repent, Lord.
- Build your kingdom in my family (name names).
- Build your kingdom in my church and in the church across American. I pray for the American church, Lord. I ask that you will send out your Spirit to convict those who come to church and sit in the pews with critical spirits, wanting to be entertained and fed, but never wanting to do a thing to serve or be a part of the work of the Lord.
- Bring conviction of the sin of spiritual laziness and apathy. I pray that with the current traumas of the year, people will turn their hearts and eyes to you. Do not harden their hearts, Lord. Please soften and draw your people into your presence.
- Sound the trumpet to wake up those who “play” at church. They go to church, if it suits their schedule, but they don’t get into your presence, they don’t seek to be a part of your work. I pray that the church in American would leave country club Christianity and join the army of God.
- Lord, expose sin and bring about repentance in the hearts of those who call themselves Christians. Many people listen more to the world’s philosophies than they listen to your word and your voice. The world has so deeply impacted the church that we doubt whether or not abominations are sins or not. We are told by many bloggers and leaders that true Christians don’t think that homosexuality is a sin. We ignore scripture and thousands of years of church history to establish our own new religion- a religion without God. A religion of anti-Christ, with a cheap grace that pretends we don’t need to repent from sin is being spread like gangrene. Lord, stop the spread of this spiritual cancer.
- Lord, expose the lies of the enemy in the church. Open people’s eyes to see and their ears to hear what lies they have believed. We have exalted sex as a god. We say that no one can say anything about sex, because it is the sacred space. We have believed the lies that shame can be removed by saying that sin is not sin. Lord, only forgiveness and cleansing can remove shame. Lord, give the believers on Christian college campuses strength and vitality to stand up against the lies from hell. Bring revival, oh Lord.
- Lord, cleanse families in the church of sin. Lord, there are believers filled with lust, with adulteries. There are those who call themselves Christians who are full of anger and hatred and bitterness. These sins have them in a choke hold and define and drive their lives. Lord, bring fathers to repentance. Bring mothers to repentance. Bring teenagers back from their rebellion. Bring back young adult children to Jesus. Heal families. Heal marriages, Lord.
- Lord, bring down the heresies that are circulating in the body of Christ. Expose the heresies and the abominable teachings. Cleanse the church of these heresies.
- Lord, wake up the Christians and the churches who have ignored your Holy Spirit. Wake them up and give them repentant hearts for ignoring your Spirit and being afraid of him. Pour out your Spirit of wisdom and revelation into the church of Jesus Christ that the church in America will know you in a way that changes their lives. Fill the church – the people of God – with the knowledge of your will, with all wisdom and understanding that the Spirit brings that the bride of Christ may live lives worthy of their calling!
- Lord, raise the people of God up to live as living sacrifices before you. Convict people of not bringing the full tithe into the house of the Lord. Let the work of the Lord go forward, Oh God!
- Lead your people, Lord. Many people are like sheep without a shepherd. Many pastors and denominations have been given over to abominations and have led their people astray. Your people perish for a lack of knowledge. Please open the flood gates of heaven and pour out wisdom and knowledge. Lead your people in a true exodus of those denominations and churches which do not serve you. Raise up mighty men of God to fill pulpits and ministries, in Jesus’ name.
- Lord, teach your church to love in holiness. Teach them to have love in their right hand and holiness in their left. Your people have been deceived that it’s either one or the other, but Jesus, you stretched out your arms and died, because of love and holiness. Your mercy and your judgement were poured out through Jesus. Let us live in the mercy of God and the love of call, calling people to repent.
- Lord, do all these great things in my life and my family. Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from the evil one. Oh Lord God, you know my weaknesses. You know where the enemy is targeting me. Deliver me, in Jesus’ name. My spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak. Teach me to walk in your spirit and not in the flesh.
- Lord, lead me on. I rest in your love. I rest in your redemption. Lift me up. I bless your holy name! I resist the devil and command him to leave in Jesus’ name. I stand against him in the armor of God.
Spiritual warfare prayer guide-
|Father, In Jesus’ name, I praise you because you are glorious. I praise you for Jesus Christ your Son, our Sovereign Lord. I ask that you fill me with the Spirit of wisdom and revelation that I may know you and understand this battle that I am living in. Open the eyes of my heart so that I may see you and the hope that I have in you, in Jesus’ name. I need to know that I have hope in the battle, Lord. Right now I acknowledge that my battle is not against flesh and blood. I am not battling people in this world. I am not battling against my spouse or children. I am not battling against non-believers or family members. I am battling against spiritual rulers and authorities in my life. I am battling against things seen and unseen that raise themselves up against the knowledge of Christ Jesus. I stand against lies and darkness that come against me in Jesus’ name. No weapon formed against me shall prosper, in Jesus’ name. I acknowledge the power of Jesus and I praise you that I am seated with him in heavenly realms above all rule and power and authority.I know that in Christ and his resurrection power I am victorious. |
So, I stand in the armor of Jesus right now. I put on the helmet of salvation. I praise you for my salvation, in Jesus’ name. I thank you for your protection and that you protect my head, my life, my authority through Christ. I rejoice that my name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
I stand firm in the truth of Christ. I buckle your belt of truth about my waist. I pray that your truth will secure my life. Defend me against the lies of Satan, in Jesus’ name. I know that I am vulnerable apart from you, Lord. I ask in Jesus’ name that you will reveal to me any lies that I am believing and allow me to walk in your truth.
Today, I thank you for the righteousness that is imputed to me in Christ Jesus. I ask for the power of the Holy Spirit to walk in that righteousness. I pray that the righteousness of Christ and the power of God to live a life of holiness will protect my heart. I put on that breastplate of righteousness. Teach me to submit to and obey your truth in the grace that God provides me, oh Lord, in Jesus’ power and holy name.
I also pray, in Jesus’ name, that you will ready my feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Everywhere I go, oh Lord, may I be ready to bring your message of good news. Do not let me lose my footing in this area. May my feet truly be the beautiful feet that bring good news to those who are lost and need to find their way. Use me, oh Lord, to bring your salvation to the lives of those who are not in your family. Bring people into my life, in special moments, who need you. Ordain for me opportunities to minister the gospel of Jesus to them.
Father, fill me with faith, in Jesus’ name. I pray that your Spirit will ignite faith in me that I can fight against the devil and be protected from his diversions and lies. I take up your shield of faith, Father. Hide me in the shadow of your wing, oh Lord. Build up my inner spirit in faith. Minister faith to me and help my unbelief, in Jesus’ name!
Also, I take up your Holy Word, the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. I ask that daily I will be filled with your Word. I ask that the truth of your Word will work like a mighty weapon in my hands. Teach me to fight the enemy with your Word, oh Lord. Develop in me the spiritual gifts and abilities you want me to use in this battle, in Jesus’ name!
|Fill me with your Spirit’s power right now. None of this is possible in my flesh. I trust in your Spirit. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.|