Saturday, June 12, 2010

Fasting and Prayer (Part II)

In Isaiah 58:3 they ask, “why do we have to fast?” Some Christians ask themselves, “why do we have to fast? Is fasting necessary in Christian life?” Yes! It is necessary because difficult situations find solutions only through fasting, so we must fast as Christians.

Matthew 6:16 talks about when Christians fast they want everybody to know they are fasting. Fasting is something that happens in secret and is between you and Your God. Many Christians imitate what Muslims do, when they fast they break every radio and television then say it was Ramadan; Muslims are proud of this. Our God doesn’t say this, our God says, “do this in secret.” It is between you and God so don’t fast to be noticed by men. It means that when you fast, you can go to your room and pray quietly with a soft voice and not shouting because you can disturb others. This is what it means to pray. It is not about speaking loud to let people know that you are is praying. It’s not wrong to pray loudly, it’s only wrong if you are doing it for attention from man instead of God because whatever we do we must avoid hypocrisy.

When I was in my country we fasted. We would fast from Wednesday until Saturday and people who lived with us would not even know we were fasting. When we had finished fasting, we would go back home quietly.

When you pray, you prepare spiritually. In the book of Daniel 9:4, “I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed and said, “Alas, O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and loving-kindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments”.

If you start at verse 4 and you want to fast, you must confess your sins. Many Christians when they pray they say, “Jesus forgive me for what I have done.” Our God wants us to confess with our mouth and say, “God I have stolen, Lord forgive me.” If I have stolen from Michael I must go to him and confess what I have done and ask for forgiveness then go back to God. The Bible says that “if you have a problem with someone, go and see him first and make peace, then come back to Me.”

A good prayer for a start is when you humiliate yourself and meditate on everything you’ve done. Maybe you will say “I’ve done this to Peter or this hasn’t pleased Michael or Steve, or I’ve spoken wrong against Brenda.” You must first think of these things and go and ask for forgiveness. Jesus says, “if you are ashamed of Me I will be ashamed of you before My Father.” If you are not able to confess your sins to each other, how can you confess your sins to God? God will say, “Odon, I don’t have a problem with you but you have a problem with Michael, you don’t have a problem with Me you have a problem with Brenda, go and fix it.”

This is how many Christians pray. The very first thing Daniel did was to kneel down and confess his sins. In Daniel 6:10 you will see that when Daniel had a problem he will kneel down. It means that when you go though difficult times we must try to leave our level, if we are sinners we must leave this sin and try to reach a higher level for it will help us reach God. This is a sacrifice. You can say, “I must kneel down and pray to God today so that I can be alone with Him.

When Daniel started praying he opened the windows, so we to must open Heavens windows and to open Heaven’s windows is what? We first must confess our sins so that God’s ear can hear us and touch us.

So as Christians we must first know where are the windows? We all know how important windows are in a house. Can I ask you how important windows are in your house? Through the windows we can have fresh air, we can see what is happening on the outside without leaving our house, we can see what God created. If I want to see something outside, how can I see through the wall? This is what God wants, that through the window we can see glory and power which we can only see if we confess our sins.

Zechariah 7:4-6, “Then the word of the Lord Almighty came to me. “Ask all the people of the land and the priests, ‘when you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for Me that you fasted? And when you were eating and drinking, were you just feasting for yourselves?”

We can see that when most people pray and fast they don’t fast to please God but fast to please man and fast to please their bodies.

One-day I was with my brothers in Kenya and we prayed as we do each Wednesday. Some people would pray only because others would say that they didn’t come last time. They come only to please other men. You can pray for ten years and if your situation is like this, you will not find a solution. Some people come to pray and fast but they have sins. After having a domestic with their wives they come to church and pray and when they come they disturb everybody’s prayer. Some who are ready to learn about God will be distracted because of this person’s sins. Satan uses people like this.

That is why we must know why we pray and fast, we don’t fast just to please man but also we must know the commitment we have towards God. If you say to God we will pray each Tuesday, than this yes must be yes. When we fast we must have a goal, fasting is not saying let’s meet together for five minutes and that is it. When we pray to fast we must let the Holy Spirit lead us. Of course some people fast for ten minutes and there is an answer, some people fast for two days and have no answer.

When we fast we say, “God I give myself into your Hands and I will pray from 8:00am til 3:00pm.” It is not about praying for five minutes then finished, when we fast we must be in prayer each moment, this is where we can practice what the Bible says, “pray always.” It means we must be in contact with God every minute whether at work or driving the car, you must be in prayer and have a goal; then God will answer you.

Some people get together and say “we will fast” and when they are together they look at each other. “Why are we fasting today and what are we going to tell God?” You’ll say I wouldn’t have a clue but because we don’t know we’ll pray for Michael that he won’t need to wear glasses. Then they pray. Some people may want to pray for Odon because he is too black, they ask God that He will make him brown. So they pray. Are you praying or joking? People do what they don’t know. If you decide to pray and fast on Saturday you must start the day at midnight because that is when Saturday is.

You must tell God all that you want to pray for and what time you have set and beg Him to answer you. So when you go to bed at night you have already started your prayer and when you wake up you proceed praying. If you decide you are not eating then don’t eat, if you say you are not drinking then let your yes must be yes, accept it and don’t drink. So now you must fight for temptation will come. When we fast we see food and know it is good to eat, even the water you’ll find is good, so you will see that Satan will not leave you alone and that you will have problems. Maybe your children, friends, husbands, wives all these things seem to disturb you. You must be strong spiritually.

Luke 18:12, I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get. We can see here with the example of our brother that he makes known all that he is doing. God doesn’t like this but today Christians still sound the trumpet. If someone asks you, “are you fasting” you say “yes, I’m fasting,” if someone says, “are you fasting” and you say “yes, I am fasting and I give my tithes. You only want to raise yourself up but this could bring shame to the person talking to you. So you will give a wrong interpretation, avoid this. If someone asks you a question, answer the question and leave it at that. This is what God wants.

God says Himself, “if you ask for a fish I’ll give you a fish.” As for us Christian’s we must ask for something specific and when God gives us something we also must accept it because He gives according to how specific we are.

Matthew 4:2, After fasting for forty days and nights Jesus became hungry. After Jesus fasted, Satan came. Satan did not come on the first day or on the thirty eighth day, but the devil came at the last minute. It means that when we fast, at the end of it when we feel tired Satan comes.

For example, you have started your fast in the morning and decide not to eat until 5:00pm. At 4:00pm the body will start shaking and when you see food you want to jump on it and envy it. This is a sin. For example, you ask Sylvie to pray for the food. She prays for fifteen minutes and in your heart you are judging her, why are you taking so long to pray Sylvie? Then you will start hating her and it is a sin to hate. The Bible says that when you hate someone you are a murderer. So you must be very careful in your last minutes of fasting, this is when Satan comes and does great things. In our country we say that the boat is about to tip over before reaching the shores. That is why Satan came to meet Jesus at the last minute because he could see that Jesus was tired. Jesus was hungry and Satan came to offer Him impossible things. People think that when Satan comes he comes to tell you lies or to murder, but he also has strategies and this is how he came to the Lord.

Is fulfilling a miracle a sin? I don’t think so, but he did say to Jesus’ turn these stones into bread so you can eat. This is a good offer and hard to refuse. You can see that Satan feels for Jesus and says “instead of starving to death just change these stones into bread because I know you have the power to do it.” This is how Satan comes, he comes with something logical and you will think this is the truth and if you are not careful you will listen to what he says. If you follow this, you will see Satan gave orders to Jesus indirectly, it was a discussion, “if you are the Son of God change these stones.” I’ll say to Michael, “if you are a pastor pray for me so I can be healed” and Michael will say “is that what you want, so I’ll pray and you’ll see that I am a pastor.” Before Michael prays he asks, “don’t you recognise that I am a pastor? I say that “I am not too sure, but pray first and then I will know”. If Michael is not careful when he stands up to pray, he will not do that for the glory of God but for his own glory so that he’ll be known as a pastor.

God is against this. All what we do must be for the glory of God. Always pray and know that fasting is better and when we pray we can change all sorts of things. There are many examples in the Bible about fasting and God never waits to answer our prayers. If you want to see God’s Hand in your life, pray and fast, then you’ll really know how God works. All the miracles on this earth performed by servants of God and preachings you have, if they are not supported by prayer and fasting they have no effect, that is why people pray and fast. To fast doesn’t mean to waste your time, to fast does not mean to burn time because you are bored. It is a sacrifice, so don’t accept to do it for yourself. Don’t ask Oscar to fast and pray for you because when Oscar is gone who will be there to fast for you? Now it is time to start practising fasting, so test God and God will answer you, this is a secret, this is what Daniel and others did.

No comments:

Post a Comment