Have you ever prayed repeatedly about a situation, but found no relief and felt as if your prayer had fallen on deaf ears? Are you frustrated by ongoing circumstances that have taken hold of your life, leaving you or someone you love discouraged and bound even though you've prayed long and hard for deliverance? If so, you are not alone. The disciples of Jesus had the same experience in Mark 9:14-29 with the boy possessed by a mute spirit. When they asked Jesus how come they could not cast it out, Jesus replied, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” Prior to this encounter, Jesus had just come from a literal mountaintop experience, where He was in intimate communion with God. There are also many accounts where Jesus stole away to be alone with God, attesting to the fact that He lived in a state of prayer and received power to minister miracles in the lives of others with 100% victorious results. Jesus' healing of the boy indicates that fasting was also a common element of His spiritual practice. Equally important is the father’s ability to believe and receive the healing for his son, in spite of his partial unbelief.
- Lifestyle Lesson: Incorporate prayer and fasting as a consistent spiritual practice; Believe that all things are possible with God and surrender any unbelief to God; Speak to the problem in your divine power and authority.
Prayer and fasting are biblical principles, a form of consecration, and key elements of discipline for victorious Christian living. Sincere Christ-minded individuals will desire to do as Jesus did in word and deed, demonstrating love to others and obedience to God. Jesus drew close to God and gained overcoming power through fasting and prayer. Before Jesus began His ministry, He was baptized, anointed with the Holy Spirit and led into the wilderness, where He had fasted 40-days and nights. The devil’s efforts to tempt Jesus after the fast while He was in a hungry vulnerable state were of no effect because Jesus knew and stayed obedient to the word of God. He rebuked the enemy and then was ministered to by angels after the devil left.
- Lifestyle Lesson: Be baptized by water and the Holy Spirit; Read and study the word of God and use it as a weapon; Resist the devil and he will flee; Rest and Allow God to minister to you after the victory.
God chooses people and sets them apart to do His work in the world. There are often seasoned church leaders, who disciple and appoint those called to minister as the Spirit leads. Acts 13 describes how certain prophets and teachers were instructed to separate Paul and Barnabas for the work of the Lord. They first fasted and prayed, laid hands on them, and then sent them out. Paul and Barnabas spoke the word of God and successfully added many new believers to the kingdom.
- Lifestyle Lesson: Be connected to a spiritual community and submit to leadership; Before going out to do the work, be spiritually prepared and Holy Spirit empowered; Speak God’s word; Everybody will not receive you; Don’t sweat the opposition; Allow a refilling of joy and the Holy Spirit.
- At the start of a new year, Apostolic Temple of Jesus Christ (AToJC) engages in a 21-day fast that consists of one meal per day and prayer services on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. The prayer focus is to draw closer to God with the understanding that when you seek His kingdom and righteousness first, He will add all other things you may desire and even better.
- Previously, AToJC Pastor Marcus McKnight and congregation also engaged in a 7-day consecration period of prayer, fasting and intercession, using the Daniel fast of water, fruits and vegetables while gathering at 7:00 p.m. each night. The prayer focus was on seven God-directed areas of intercession.
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