What should be the believer’s attitude in other to render proper prayer with fasting unto God?
A pastor clearly explained this very topic in one of his sermons which I will be sharing below with you. There is a power that is associated to our prayers or fasting exercise when we pray or fast aright.” In one of our devotions titled prayer and fasting, we talked of the importance of manifesting faith in whatever spiritual exercise we embark in because faith is the key to receiving anything from God. But here, beyond that – that is, faith, we want to see the power that follows our prayer or fasting when they are done the right way.
“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” – Matthew 6:14, 15
When we make our request to God through prayer we should not hold anyone in our heart. We shouldn’t hold previous offenses of someone some time ago or currently in our heart. If you are angry towards somebody or holding a grudge, malice, hatred, unforgiveness etc. and you pray to God, then you cannot expect answer to your prayer
“Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward”
Concerning fasting, the Bible admonishes that we don’t wear the garment of fasting while carrying out such exercise. This is because fasting should be a solemn one, not for show whereby anyone who sees you could tell that you’re fasting. Rather, the Bible says, anoint your head and wash your face – that is, look bright and happy, not gloomy. And your Father that knows your heart desire and have seen your fasting in the secret will reward you openly.
Also when we fast, we should read the word of God and pray, these are the ingredients to aggressively address the situation or a need that has prompted us to fast. Fasting without these ingredients is not fasting but starving yourself of food and water. (see post: Christ’s temptation – If thou be the Son of God) When you have a need and the Spirit of God is leading you to fast, fast until you get your need met. Therefore, fasting is for a mission not just for fun or to imitate someone
Note: Fasting is a spiritual exercise that energize your inner man and it should not be the time to excuse yourself from been involved in any legitimate work that need to be done.
The time of fasting is also the time of temptation as we see in Luke 4:1. The temptation to break that fast before the stipulated time. The devil at that time will not tempt you with what’s not important at the moment, he won’t tempt you about a car, he will tempt you with what your body need at that time.
Things to avoid in other to make a proper presentation during prayer and fasting
Whatever we are asking from God, it is important to remember that it is for our own benefit and as a result we are to look well to avoid some things that may steal these blessings or cause us not to possess them after working hard for them through prayer and fasting. What are these things?
Avoid taking pride in spiritual exercises:
“And he (Jesus) spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” – Luke 18:9-14
Taking pride in spiritual exercises will not attract the blessings of God nor bring any answer to prayer and the purpose and benefits of such exercise will no longer be valid. Whatever spiritual exercise you are engaged in, it is between you and God and “your heavenly Father which seest secretly shall reward thee openly”
Avoid undue or unnecessary self-confidence:
“And when they had sung an hymn, they went our into the mount of Olives. Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples. ” – Matthew 26:30, 31, 33-35
One of Jesus’ disciples was manifesting an undue self-confidence. He never understood the depth of what Jesus was saying. His finite mind was telling him that he is able. But Christ, even though he had Power and could command the host of angels from heaven to save him from that hour, never resorted to self-confidence but to prayer. Christ prayed until he prayed through and when he returned to where his disciples were, he found them sleeping already (vs. 40, 41)
No spiritual exercise is by power so there shouldn’t be any exhibition of self-confidence.
Avoid prayer with strife:
“When your ministry is to call down fire from heaven alone to consume your enemies, then you want to send them to hell, but God didn’t die for anyone to go to hell and so He won’t answer such prayer”, says the preacher. When you pray a prayer of strife God will not regard nor answer such prayer
4. Avoid secret or open sin:
the Bible says that the prayer of the sinner is an abomination unto God. “When you have sin in your life whether secret or open, your prayer will mean nothing to God”, says a preacher. Before we fast we must first look into our lives and examine our self and see if our life is right with God, if it’s not right with God then we do the necessary – repent. If someone goes ahead to fast with the knowledge of sin within and the person refuses to repent of sin or just goes ahead and fast anyways, such a person is giving the sacrifice of fools according to Ecclesiastes 5:1-2. The quality or effectiveness of your prayer or fasting is not measured by the amount of words or deeds but by the state of your heart.
How to possess your possession by prayer and fasting
The prayer of Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20:1-12 rightly describes how to possess your possession by means of prayer and fasting (Read 2 Chronicles 20:1-12)
Looking at the content of Jehoshaphat’s prayer, you will see humility in it. He rightly ascribed and extolled God. He reminded Him of his promises and then made his request. This is the prayer that carries power and receive answer from God. Even our Lord Jesus Christ gave us this prayer sample or template in Matthew 6:9-13. The prayer template is not so that we recite it that way but it’s simply telling us how to pray aright by first acknowledging the Almighty God which is in heaven and secondly extolling or ascribing the glory due unto His name, and so on, before making or presenting our request to him. This was the ingredients found in Jehoshaphat’s prayer that resulted in a quick response from God as we see in verses 14 – 17
Know that it is righteousness to God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you, so look up to Him with great confidence (expectation) and trust together with the right attitude to fight your battles and don’t fight your own way or rain fire upon anyone. God will answer you.
“Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, and Jehoshaphat in the forefront of them, to go again to Jerusalem with joy; for the LORD had made them to rejoice over their enemies. And they came to Jerusalem with psalteries and harps and trumpets unto the house of the LORD. And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries, when they had heard that the LORD fought against the enemies of Israel. So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet: for his God gave him rest round about” – verses 27-30
This shall be your own testimony too by His grace