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Christian Life Church

July 6, 2022 7pm

July 6, 2022 7pm

The Art of Hearing God in Prayer The Joy of Fasting--Foundations

Locations & Times

Christian Life Church Columbia

2700 Bush River Rd, Columbia, SC 29210, USA

Wednesday 6:30 PM

The Art of Hearing God in Prayer 7.6.22

James 5:16 The urgent request of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect.

James 5:16 AMPC The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available (dynamic in its working).

1. Live by the Golden Rule.

a. The golden rule of Christianity: Matthew 22:37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God will all your heart and with all your mind.”

b. Intercession is always about serving God and others.

c. Serving God should be from relationship and not striving.

d. Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

2. Learn to be a Listener.

a. Prayer is a two-way conversation involving both speaking and listening.

b. Practice listening – time and discipline.

c. Focus on who God is: His character, His actions, and His ways.

d. John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

e. Proverbs 3:6 Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go, He’s the one who keeps you on track.

3. Keep a record.

a. When you hear from God, write it down.

b. He can speak in times of quiet, intercession, or in dreams and visions.

c. Record the date and pray over it. Record the date it is answered and let it build your faith.

4. Steward His Secrets.

a. “Some things are to say, but MOST things are to pray.”

b. Not everything reveled to you needs to be released.

c. Daniel 12:4 But as for you, Daniel, keep these words secret and seal up the book until the end of time.

5. Seek God as You Wait.

a. Timing is everything!

b. The phrase “Wait on the Lord” is mentioned over 100 times in scripture.

c. Lamentations 3:25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him.

d. Micah 7:7 But as for me, I will be on the watch for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation.

6. Be Objective.

a. We must not be influenced by our feelings when we are praying.

b. Being led by feelings can lead us to having a bias or inserting our own personal opinions.

c. We can fall prey to the trap of presuming God’s ways and thoughts.

d. Isaiah 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

7. Learn When It’s Time to Let Go.

a. We tend to carry the burden and feel the weight of those for whom we are praying.

b. This is a learning process we must enter into with the Holy Spirit.

c. Whether the burden lifts or you feel the nudge of the Holy Spirit to continue praying, learn when to press in and when to let go!

8. Guard Your Heart.

a. Approach God with a clean heart.

b. Anything within us has the possibility of flowing out of us, even in prayer.

c. Keep a clean heart before God.

d. Proverbs 4:23 Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.

9. Intercessors need Intercessors.

a. Relationship with God does not do away with the need for kingdom relationships!

b. Do not let the enemy isolate you.

c. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor; 10 for if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up! 11 Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? 12 And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.

10. Stay Faithful to the Place of Prayer.

a. “Pray hardest when it is hardest to pray.” – Missionary Charles Brent

b. Stay faithful even when you have prayed and have not seen the answer or fruitful results.

c. We are not promised to see the results of our prayers on this side of eternity.

d. Hebrews 11 – Faith’s Hall of Fame

e. Romans 12:12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer.

The Joy of Fasting – Foundations 7.6.22

“Fasting helps express, deepen, confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves, to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God.” ― Andrew Murray

A. Foundational Principles of Fasting

1. Fasting is an invitation.

a. Matthew 6:17-18 “When you fast…your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”

b. Helps us see His kingdom expressed in and through our lives and circumstance.

c. Enlarges our spiritual capacity.

d. Normal part of the life of the believer

e. Some spiritual blessings will be released only in the context of spiritual hunger.

f. Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”

2. Fasting is a paradox.

a. Physical bodies are weak and hungry.

b. Hearts become more tender and sensitive to the Holy Spirit.

c. As our dulled senses are awakened because of lack of food, we become “raw” before God as we become more aware of our brokenness, barrenness, sinful motives, and wrong desires.

3. Fasting is a grace.

a. We are unable to sustain a lifestyle of fasting in our own strength.

b. Ask for grace as you enter a season or time of fasting.

c. When God invites us to do something for Him and His kingdom, He also empowers us to faithfully walk it out by His grace!

d. The fear of fasting is worse than the fasting itself!

4. Fasting is an expression of humility.

a. David spoke of fasting as humbling himself before God.
Psalm 35:13I put on sackclothand humbled myself with fasting.
Psalm 69:10 When I weep and fast, I must endure scorn;11when I put on sackcloth,
people make sport of me.
b. It humbles us to fast; this is God’s plan.

c. Humbling or afflicting one’s soul
Isaiah 58:3, 5

B. Seven Types of Biblical Fasting

1. Fasting to experience a greater measure of the power of God in personal ministry

a. Ministry of Jesus
Mark 9:29 He replied, “This kind (demon) can come out only by prayer (and fasting).”

b. Ministry of John the Baptist
Matthew 11:18 For John came neither eating nor drinking.

c. Ministry of the Apostle Paul
2 Corinthians 11:23, 27

2. Fasting for direction

a. Paul fasted for three days, immediately after his conversion on the Damascus road, waiting to receive clear direction for the Lord. (Acts 9:9)

b. Paul and the leaders of the church of Antioch fasted and prayed for direction. (Acts 13:1-2)

c. Paul and his team also fasted and prayed in the process of selecting and commissioning elders of the new churches in Lystra, Iconium, and Anitoch. (Acts 14:23)

3. Fasting for fulfillment of God’s purposes

a. Daniel prayed and fasted for the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy that He would deliver Israel from their 70 year captivity in Babylon.
Daniel 9:3 “I set my face toward the Lord God to make requests by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes.”

b. The prophetess Anna, who “served God with fastings and prayers” for over 60 years saw the dedication of the Messiah Jesus. (Luke 2:36-38)

4. Fasting to stop a crisis

a. Fasting to avert an individual or national crisis was a regular practice in the Old Testament.
Example: Jonah was sent to warn the wicked Assyrian city of Nineveh that the God of Israel was going to destroy them. When the inhabitants of Nineveh humbled themselves and repented with fasting, the Lord showed mercy and spared the city (Jonah 3:3-9)
Example: King Ahab was one of the most wicked kings in Israel’s history. Yet he humbled himself with prayer and fasting, and God stopped the judgement that was set against him.
(1 Kings 21:25-29)

5. Fasting for protection

a. Ezra’s (the priest) caravan to Israel to help rebuild Jerusalem. (Ezra 8:21-23)

b. When King Darius was tricked to throw Daniel into the lion’s den, he fasted and prayed for Daniel’s protection and God shut the mouths of the lions. (Daniel 6:18)

c. Esther needed divine protection when going before King Xerxes, in order to save her people form annihilation. She called the Jews in Persia to fast for three days. The Lord spared her life and used her to reverse the situation regarding her people.

6. Fasting for insight into God’s end-time plan

a. The Holy Spirit is raising up men and women who will have an increased measure of insight into what the Scripture says about Jesus’ end time plan.

b. There will be a release of the fullness of His Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8), as well as a release of prophetic activity in the church before Jesus returns (Acts 2:17-21).

c. This activity also occurred in the Old Testament regarding the end of times. We find these accounts in Daniel 11:33-35 and Jeremiah 23:18-20.

7. Fasting for intimacy with God

a. Matthew 9:14-15 Then the disciples of John came to Him, asking, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?” 15 And Jesus said to them, “The attendants of the groom cannot mourn as long as the groom is with them, can they? But the days will come when the groom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.

b. This fast is motivated primarily by one’s desire for Jesus rather than by a need for more power, direction in ministry, divine intervention, or protection.

c. This type of fasting is based on desire alone.

d. Matthew 5:4, 6 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.

e. Spiritual hunger is a divine gift that leads us to seek greater experiences in His love, regardless of the cost.

Examples of Fasts in the Bible

Fasts of various lengths:

· One-day fast: The Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:29; 23:27)
· Three-day fast: Paul after his conversion (Acts 9:9)
· Seven-day fast: David before his child died (2 Samuel 12:15-18, 21-23)
· Twenty-one-day fast: Daniel seeking to understand prophetic scriptures (Daniel 10:2, 3)
· Forty-day fast: Moses (Exodus 24:18; 34:28; Deuteronomy 9:9, 18), Elijah (1 Kings 19:8),
Jesus during His temptation (Matthew 4:2-3)

Corporate Fasting

· Believers in the early church fasted and prayed for Peter’s deliverance from prison (Acts 12:1-19).
· The church leaders at Antioch fasted to receive prophetic direction (Acts 13:1-3).
· Paul and his team fasted as they commissioned elders in Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch (Acts 14:23).
· God’s people, the Jews, fasted on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:29; 23:37; Acts 27:9).
· The Jews fasted during Purim (Esther 9:30-31).
· Israel fasted in the fourth, fifth, seventh, and tenth months during the captivity in Babylon (Zechariah 7:3- 5; 8:19).
· Israel fasted at Mizpah before the Philistines attacked (1 Samuel 7:3-10).
· The children of Israel fasted when engaged in civil war with the Benjaminites (Judges 20:26-28).
· Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah fasted before going to war with Moab and Ammon (2 Chronicles 20:3-4).
· King Josiah humbled himself with fasting – it is probable that others joined him (2 Kings 22:11-20).
· The people of Judah fasted in King Jehoiakim’s day in obedience to the Lord (Jeremiah 36:9-10).
· Joel called the people to national solemn assemblies (Joel 1:13-14; 2:12-15).
· Esther and the Jews fasted to avert a plot to annihilate all their people (Esther 3:13; 4:3, 7, 16-5:6).
· Ezra and others fasted to seek God for protection on the way to Jerusalem (Ezra 8:21-23).
· Nehemiah and the Jews in Jerusalem fasted for spiritual renewal (Nehemiah 9:1).
· Nineveh fasted after Jonah’s preaching (Jonah 3:3-9).

Individual Fasting

· Believers will fast to experience Jesus as the Bridegroom God (Matthew 9:14-15).
· Jesus fasted for forty days (Matthew 4:1-3; Luke 4:1-2).
· Moses fasted on Mount Sinai for forty days (Exodus 24:18; 34:28; Deuteronomy 9:9, 18).
· Elijah fasted for forty days on the way to Mount Horeb/Sinai (1 Kings 19:8).
· John the Baptist led a fasted lifestyle (Matthew 11:18).
· Paul led a fasted lifestyle (2 Corinthians 6:5; 11:27).
· Paul fasted for three days to receive clear direction (Acts 9:9).
· Paul fasted to receive clear direction in ministry situations (Acts 13:1-2; 14:23).
· Daniel fasted to receive end-time revelation (Daniel 9:1-3, 20-23; 10:1-3, 12-14)
· King Darius fasted all night for Daniel’s protection in the lions’ den (Daniel 6:18-23).
· Anna the prophetess fasted and prayed regularly for more than sixty years (Luke 2:36-37).
· Cornelius prayed and fasted for spiritual breakthrough (Acts 10:1-4, 30-31).
· Esther fasted for the Jews’ deliverance (Esther 4:16-5:6).
· King Ahab humbled himself with prayer and fasting (1 Kings 21:25-29).
· Hannah fasted over her barrenness (1 Samuel 1:7-8).
· David fasted often (2 Samuel 12:15-23; Psalm 35:13; 69:10; 109:24).
· Ezra fasted as he mourned over the people of Israel’s intermarriage with pagans (Ezra 9:1-6).
· Ezra fasted again as the people joined him in repentance (Ezra 10:1-6).
· Nehemiah fasted in Jerusalem for Israel’s spiritual renewal (Nehemiah 9:1).
· Nehemiah fasted for Israel’s restoration (Nehemiah 1:1-11) and renewal (Nehemiah 9:32-38).

Excerpt taken from Growing in Prayer by Mike Bickle.

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