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FASTING AND PRAYER: KEY TO BREAKTHROUGH From the website of: Advocates For Prayer Precious Testimonies Staff Note: We encourage all believers to explore the website of: Advocates For Prayer ... especially if you are going through a discouraging time right now in your relationship with the Lord. For those who are in need of a healing, this writing may be greatly beneficial: Give Your Insides A Vacation, For Goodness Sakes Awesome video about prayer and fasting that ALL Christians need to hear: From a different ministry, here is an insightful two-part video clip that addresses Fasting (and Prayer): Part 1 Part 2 -- Norm Rasmussen, Director, Precious Testimonies

Introduction OUR STUDY OF PRAYER has emphasized the role of our prayers on earth to invoke the power of our God from heaven. Prayer is powerful because it is human weakness deferring to God’s strength. As James write, "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." (See James 5:16 KJV.) When the righteous pray fervently, God’s power is released to accomplish much. But, what about those times when the cares of life distract us from seeing our righteous standing before God through Christ and cause us to pray limp prayers that bounce back at us? In such times, our prayers need help. We need a breakthrough in our prayer lives. A biblical key to a breakthrough in our prayer lives is to join fasting with prayer. Jesus told His disciples on one occasion that the reason they could not cast out a particular spirit of infirmity from a demonized lad was because of their unbelief (See: Matthew 17:20-21). A few verses later, He added these words: "But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting." The point is that prayer and fasting combined can debunk our unbelief and re-empower our prayer lives. When prayer alone doesn’t work, prayer and fasting will bring the breakthrough.


I find that the practical lessons learned from the Bible regarding prayer and fasting can be presented in an orderly fashion by allowing the Bible to address the following question: When should we fast? Scripture answers this question in a variety of ways that are sure to touch each of our lives. Let’s look at them.

When We Feel Estranged From God We should fast when we feel estranged from God. It is sin that separates us from God and brings upon us the sentence of death. (See Isaiah 59:2 and Romans 6:23). But, Scripture teaches that Jesus took the penalty of our sins in His own death and defeated death for us through His resurrection. (See Romans 5:10.) By believing in and accepting this redeeming work of Jesus Christ for us, we are reconciled to God. (See Romans 5:1.) We are no longer estranged. I don’t believe Christians ever feel estranged from God because of questioning Jesus’ work of redemption for them. I believe it is when they turn the focus upon themselves and question the sincerity of their own humility, repentance, and acceptance of pardon. After all, these three responses on our part are the requirement of Scripture for receiving God saving grace. When we feel that our hearts are growing cold toward God and that we lack sincerity in our humility, repentance, and acceptance of pardon, fasting and prayer are instrumental in restoring passion in our relationship with God by bringing renewed depth and sincerity to our responses to Him. Let’s see how this plays out in Scripture.

Fasting signifies humility The children of Israel were required by God’s decree to fast on the annual Day of Atonement. (See Leviticus 16:29). God’s gift of atonement was to be met by their response of humility. Fasting was the means by which they were to demonstrate their humility. Saul of the New Testament exemplifies fasting as a response of humility before God. When he encountered the resurrected Christ in a vision on the Damascus Road and was brought to the realization that he had been fighting against God by persecuting the Church, he humbled himself with prayer and fasting for three days. (See Acts 9:9.) It was then that he received the gift of salvation, the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and a call to take the gospel to the Gentiles. (See verses 15-18.) He was prepared to receive God’s grace through humility expressed in fasting.


Fasting demonstrates repentance Joel’s prophesy of judgment upon unfaithful Israel was followed by a divine call to ward off judgment through a fast of repentance. The Lord beckoned, "‘Even now,’ declares the LORD, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.’" (See Joel 2:12-13.) Similarly, James exhorts New Testament believers with these words: "Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up." (See James 4:810.) Fasting demonstrates the brokenness of a heart that is truly repentant for sin.

Fasting appeals to God for forgiveness and pardon Ahab was a king of Israel described as one who "did more evil in the eyes of the LORD than those before him." (See 1 Kings 16:30). But when God spoke to him through Elijah with a prophecy of impending judgment, we read that he "he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly." (See 1 Kings 21:27.) God saw Ahab’s humility and fasting as repentance and withheld judgment until the next generation. (See verses 28-29.) What God did for Ahab He will do for his people corporately. This is assured in the Lord’s response to Solomon’s prayer dedicating the temple: "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (See 2 Chronicles 7:14.) The humble response of fasting and prayer, God said, would assure pardon and restoration. A tell-tale sign that we are growing cold toward God is that our relationship with Him lacks heart. Humility, repentance, and acceptance of God’s pardon become more words that we say in prayer than genuine heart attitudes toward God. The principle is there but the passion is missing. In such a condition, if we are honest with ourselves we will have to admit that we feel estranged from God. How do we restore passion to our relationship with Him? The biblical answer is to humble ourselves before him with fasting and prayer.


When We Feel Weak and Vulnerable We should fast when we feel weak and vulnerable. This may seem to be illogical as fasting weakens one physically. Many use food for psychologically gratification when they feel beat up emotionally. They are saying essentially, "I believe I’ll feel better after I eat." So, why on earth would one prescribe fasting to treat vulnerability? The logic here is that vulnerability points to our dependence upon God, and prayer and fasting appeals to God to intervene at the point of our need. When we feel vulnerable, we need God to protectus from harm and give us victory over adversity. Scripture confirms that God responds to fasting and prayer by providing protection from harm and victory over the Enemy.

Fasting appeals to God for protection When Ezra the scribe appealed to the Persian King Artaxerxes to send him and an entourage of devout Jews to Jerusalem to re-establish religious instruction and worship among the newly returned exiles, he called a fast for protection along the way. In his words, "There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions." (See Ezra 8:21) The result? "So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer." (See verse 23.) Likewise Nehemiah, troubled by the report of the sad state of affairs among the returned exiles in Jerusalem, "mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven." (See Nehemiah 1:4.) As a result, God gave him favor with King Artaxerxes to secure the provisions and protection needed to travel to Jerusalem and assist in rebuilding the city.

Fasting appeals to God for victory Jehoshaphat, a king of Judah, learned the power of prayer and fasting to conquer literal military adversaries. When faced with a military alliance of Ammonites, Moabites, and Meunites, Jehoshaphat called a fast for all the people of Judah. (See 2 Chronicles 20:3.) The result was that God set confusion in the camp of the enemy so that they turned upon themselves and destroyed each other. (See verses 22-23.) For the prophet Elijah, prayer and fasting brought victory over a powerful demonic principality operating through Queen Jezebel. Elijah was fearless in the face of King Ahab and 850 prophets of Baal and Asherah (see 1 Kings 18:16-40) but ran for his life at the threat of Jezebel because she was empowered by a demonic principality of witchcraft that intimidated him. (See 1 Kings 19:1-3 and 2 Kings 9:22.) At the end of a 40 day period of fasting and prayer while in route to Mount Horeb to meet with God, Elijah received a message from God that assured Him of the Lord’s sovereignty over political and spiritual forces. (See 1 Kings 19:15-18.) He was able to return at God’s command with no fear for his security as God had assured victory over his enemies. 5

Fasting places us in the position to receive from God’s hand protection from harm and victory over the Enemy of our soul. It is not that God withholds these blessings from us but that we have been blindsided by the Enemy into living below our privilege. Fasting and prayer open our eyes to see things in right perspective so that we cast off our insecurity complex and embrace an expectation of continual blessing and favor. To employ computer terminology, the old insecurity program is removed from memory and replaced with a new blessing program.

When We Feel Tension in Our Relationships We should fast when we feel tension in our relationships. A sign that God’s grace is doing its work in our lives is that we have harmonious relationships with other believers. Walking in the light of God’s truth means that we "have fellowship with one another." (See 1 John 1:7.) Fellowship implies that we relate to each other as equals. Lack of fellowship means that we either feel we are above others or below them. But, when we are able to accept ourselves and accept others equally, a fellowship is established that paves the way for the glory of God to be revealed. The prophet Isaiah writes, "Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken." (See Isaiah 40:4-5.) When done as God prescribes, fasting and prayer proves to be a great leveler. It brings the haughty down to size and lifts the oppressed from their valley of despair. This is evident from the description of God’s chosen fast as related in Isaiah 58.

We should fast when we tend to be oppressive towards others Sometimes our lives become so self-absorbed that we unintentionally develop attitudes that are oppressive towards others. Even our fasting can be self-absorbed as it focuses on what we want from God as a result of our fast. In answer to such, God encouraged the people of Israel not to fast merely as an outward form of humility before God while continuing to exploit their workers and quarrel among themselves. (See Isaiah 58: 35.) Rather, their times of fasting were to be combined with setting the oppressed free and providing food for the hungry, clothing for the naked, and shelter for the homeless. (See verses 6-7.) Fasting as God prescribes turns oppressive attitudes into new attitudes that truly liberate others.

We should fast when we feel oppressed by others


Hebrews chapter 11 in the Bible is known as “The Hall of Faith”. Perhaps that is because Hebrews 11:1 is the best place to find the Biblical definition of faith “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (KJV). It is also the book and chapter that we can review for those heroes of faith, such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and others. The Bible uses the words faith and belief or believe interchangeably. Eternal life is received by grace through faith. Faith is the victory that overcomes the world and without faith it is impossible to please God (1 John 5:4; Heb 11:6). Take a look at these twenty popular Scripture quotes about faith:

Featured Bible Verse Ephesians

2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.


Much Faith Acts 6:5 And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of

the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. Acts 11:22-24 The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. 1 Corinthians 13:2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 1 Corinthians 16:13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 2 Corinthians 5:6-7 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Ephesians 6:16 (KJV) Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

Little Faith Matthew 8:26 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the

winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. (Jesus speaking to His Apostles) Matthew 14:29-31 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Matthew 17:20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Jesus Speaking) Luke 12:27-28 “Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! (Jesus speaking)


Healing Faith Matthew 9:22 Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.”

And instantly the woman was made well. Matthew 15:28 Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly. Matthew 21:21-22 And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” Mark 10:52 And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way. Acts 14:9-10 He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and began walking.

Saving Faith Acts 15:8-9 And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit

just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. Acts 20:18-21 “You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” 2 Corinthians 4:13-14 Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence.

Christian Quotes About Faith “Let God be true but every man a liar” is the language of true faith.” ~ A. W. Tozer “Faith expects from God what is beyond all expectation.” ~ Andrew Murray “Faith makes all things possible… love makes all things easy.” ~ D.L. Moody

“Faith, mighty faith, the promise sees, And looks to God alone; Laughs at impossibilities, And cries it shall be done.” ~ Charles Wesley “To learn strong faith is to endure great trials. I have learned my faith by standing firm amid severe testings.” ~ George Mueller

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Praying the Word of God Over Your Situation

Growing prosperity comes from God the Great Giver. He loves to bless His children… From the earliest of days, God has been searching for individuals who have their hearts toward Him; on whom He can pour out His blessings. Unfortunately, whenever He has poured out prosperity, the people have quickly forgotten who made them prosper. The tendency is for them to begin seeking the gift and not the Giver. These scriptural prayers for prosperity are based on the spirit ofseeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and then enjoying the manifestation of His generous abundance. Each of our desires, pertaining to wealth and prosperity, cannot be to consume the abundance of God on ourselves, but to understand, just like Abraham did, that all of us are blessed so that we can be a blessing. 5 Scriptural Prayers for Prosperity 1) Angels on Assignment Thank You, Father, that as I speak Your Word over my finances today, Your angelic warriors are hearkening to the sound of my voice to perform that which I speak. (Psalm 103:20) 2) Prosperity Now I thank You, Heavenly Father, for this day You have made and I rejoice in it. You are sending me prosperity now and giving me success. (Psalm 118:24-25) 3) Taught to Profit Thank You, Lord God, that You are teaching me to profit. You are leading me by the way that I should go. Therefore, I declare that because I hearken to Your commandments, my peace and prosperity are like a flowing river. (Isaiah 48:17-18) 4) Reap Bountifully Father, I confess that because I have sown bountifully in order to bless others, I also reap bountifully with blessings. (2 Corinthians 9:6) 5) Prospering In All I Do Father God, I declare that because I keep Your charge, walk in Your ways, and obey Your voice, I am prospering in all that I do and wherever I turn. (I Kings 2:3) So, go ahead; begin praying these prosperity prayers daily. They are meant to help you get started learning how to pray the Word in the area of provision, and help you plant the Word of God into your heart. Keep in mind: The more the Word of God is planted within us, the more spontaneous our prayers will become. Once you begin regularly praying the Word, you will find that as you are reading the Word, many other scriptures will begin to “come alive” for the purpose of prayer. Get ready now to have the abundance of God manifest in your life.


May you seek first the kingdom of God and enjoy a life of growing prosperity! Be blessed to be a blessing -

The Turning Point in Prayer Discover the Turning Point in Prayer by Observing the Way Jesus Prayed

When God answers your prayer, it's a feeling like no other. You stagger around for days, awestruck because the Creator of the Universe reached down and worked in your life. You know a miracle happened, big or small, and that God did it for just one reason: because he loves you. When your feet finally touch the ground, you stop bumping into walls long enough to ask a crucial question: "How can I make that happen again?" When It Doesn't Happen So often our prayers don't get answered the way we want. When that's the case, it can be so disappointing it drives you to tears. It's especially hard when you asked God for something undeniably good—someone's healing, a job, or mending an important relationship. You can't understand why God didn't answer the way you wanted. You see other people getting their prayers answered and you ask, "Why not me?" Then you start to second-guess yourself, thinking maybe some hidden sin in your life is keeping God from intervening. If you can think of it, confess it and repent of it. But the truth is that we are all sinners and can never come before God totally free of sin. Fortunately, our great mediator is Jesus Christ, the spotless sacrifice who can bring our requests before his Father knowing God will deny his Son nothing. Still, we keep looking for a pattern. We think about times we got exactly what we wanted and try to recall everything we did. Is there a formula we can follow to control how God answers our prayers? We believe praying is like baking a cake mix: follow three simple steps and it comes out perfect every time. Despite all the books that promise such a thing, there is no secret procedure we can use to guarantee the results we want.


The Turning Point in Prayer With all that in mind, how can we avoid the frustration that commonly accompanies our prayers? I believe the answer lies in studying the way Jesus prayed. If anybody knew how to pray, it was Jesus. He knew how God thinks because He is God: "I and the Father are one." (John 10:30, NIV). Jesus demonstrated a pattern throughout his prayer life all of us can copy. In obedience, he brought his desires in line with his Father's. When we reach the place where we are willing to do or accept God's will instead of our own, we have reached the turning point in prayer. Jesus lived that: "For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me." (John 6:38, NIV) Choosing God's will over our own is so hard when we want something passionately. It is agonizing to act as if it doesn't matter to us. It does matter. Our emotions try to convince us there is no possible way we can give in. We can submit to God's will instead of our own solely because God is absolutely trustworthy. We have faith that his love is pure. God has our best interest at heart, and he always does what is most beneficial for us, no matter how it appears at the time. But sometimes to surrender to God’s will, we also have to cry out as the father of a sick child did to Jesus, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24, NIV) Before You Hit Rock Bottom Like that father, most of us surrender our will to God only after we hit rock bottom. When we have no alternatives and God is the last resort, we grudgingly give up our independence and let him take over. It doesn't have to be that way. You can begin by trusting God before things get out of control. He will not be offended if you test him in your prayers. When you have the all-knowing, all-powerful Ruler of the Universe looking out for you in perfect love, doesn't it make sense to rely on his will instead of your own puny resources? Everything in this world that we put our faith in has the potential to fail. God does not. He is consistently reliable, even if we do not agree with his decisions. He always leads us in the right direction if we give in to his will. In the Lord's Prayer, Jesus said to his Father, "‌your will be done." (Matthew 6:10, NIV). When we can say that with sincerity and trust, we have reached the turning point in prayer. God never abandons those who trust him.


It's not about me, it's not about you. It's about God and his will. The sooner we learn that, the sooner our prayers will touch the heart of the One to whom nothing is impossible

Prayers for Prosperity Thank You, God, for Your loving spirit within me that prospers and blesses my life. God, You are my source of abundant living. I place my trust in You, knowing that You will guide me and multiply my blessings. Thank You, God, for Your wisdom that fills me with prospering ideas and Your all-providing presence that assures bountiful supply for every need. My life is enriched in every way. You are my source, dear God, and in Your presence every need is met. Thank You for Your overflowing goodness that blesses me and those I hold dear. God, Your love fills my heart and attracts to me all good things. Through Your unlimited substance, I live a life of plenty. Affirmations for Prosperity

My thoughts are enriched by the creative spirit of God within me. I am filled with renewed enthusiasm, and my life is prospered. I am a spiritual being, heir to the abundance of God's kingdom. My life is prospered and enriched. I give thanks for God's prospering ideas that inspire me to live a full, rewarding life. I am God's beloved creation, and I rely on God's provision to fulfill every 13

good desire. The presence of God is within and around me. I am alive with creative energy, awake to prospering ideas, and open to unlimited goodness.





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