Prayer and fasting for spiritual breakthrough , • “Therefore also now, says the Lord, turn to me with all your heart, and with fasting and with weeping, and with mourning.” Joel 2:12 Prayer and Fasting How to Survive in the Slum • Prayer and fasting is vital to all slum ministry for three main reasons; A) The welfare of the Trainer/Leader Prayer and Fasting is essential for the strong spiritual life of the slum worker. B) The welfare of the workers/trainees Intercessory prayer and fasting is essential for the well-being of the workers you are training especially as they face spiritual opposition and attack. C) The development of spiritual discernment The leaders and the workers in the slum need keen and sensitive spiritual discernment as they face a myriad of deceptive forces. EFFECTUAL PRAYING James 5:16 b Those burdened with cares in ministry need……effectual prayer • James 5 verse 14 -16 tells us that “effectual prayer offered in faith restores the sick and heals the wounded”……… • In our Urban Mission to the poor our workers will often be wounded and sick.. • As leaders we need to be effectual in prayer for those we have pastoral responsibility for. Testimonies of effectual prayer? • Can you share with us one example of effectual prayer you have been involved in personally? • Can you share one example of effective prayer you have observed through the ministry of another or others…..? Fasting and prayer is a key to the growth of our personal lives and commitment to Christ. See Acts 10:9,30; 21:5; 22:17-21 Cornelius answered: “Four days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Acts 10:30 WHY PRAY AND FAST? • The early Christians "devoted themselves to prayer" Acts 2:42. • Prayer was a key element in discipleship and pastoral care of new believers. 1 Thess. 1:2 • Throughout the Book of Acts, prayer and fasting is emphasized again and again: Fasting and prayer is a key to our ministry to others. • Acts 6:6; 8:14-15; 9:40; 13:3; 14:23; 20:36; 28:8 …They presented them to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. Acts 6:6 • Empowerment by the Spirit for ministry came through prayer and the laying on of hands… and act of presbytery or ordination • And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed. Acts 14:23 Prayer is a key to our survival in persecution and spiritual attack. • After further threats they let them go…1 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.. Acts 4:2, 31; 16:22-26. • The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Acts 16:22, 25 People question the need for fasting and prayer Why is prayer so necessary? Why is fasting necessary? Is God a sadist who needs us to suffer before He shows compassion for others? If God is all-knowing and all-powerful, surely He would answer our needs without us having to tell Him about them. Three Vital Functions of Fasting and Prayer • Fasting and Prayer fulfills three vital functions in our relationship with God: • 1. Communication with God • 2. A joining together or unity in purpose • 3. Allowing ourselves to be an intercessory vessel for the Spirit to pray through. COMMUNICATION In any relationship, whether it is between husband and wife, parents and children, or between friends, there has to be meaningful conversation. Without dialogue, a relationship will soon die. We must have daily relationship with God The two parties need to share their desires and frustrations, and find the answers together. It is the same with our relationship with God. How can we really love Him unless we share our heart with Him, and how can we begin to think like Him unless we ask Him what He thinks about the situations we face each day Jesus said “He was the vine, and we need to abide in Him” The life is in the sap from the root. John 15: 1-15 Prayer is the basis of our relationship with God Prayer, for the believer, is NOT a religious duty, but an act of love. It's part of our fellowship with a personal God - our loving Father. The more time we spend with God in prayer, the closer our relationship will become, and the more like Christ we will become. Prayer is an evidence of our love for others…. • An Encarnação facilitator needs to show his/her love for others by praying for each trainee each day. • Reminding the “Enemy of our Souls” that this person belongs to the Saviour of mankind is an act of spiritual warfare. • Making a prayer list and updating it regularly is an act of love. • Depressed or burdened trainees need special prayer. • Our act of love makes us more like Christ the Advocate. A joining together or unity in purpose We are living in the days when God is bringing everything He has purposed to completion. God's plan is coming to a point of closure, and though the future looks bleak, God will still fulfill His plan by empowering His servants. Prayer and fasting empowers us as His servants. Partner with God in His great plan for the redemption of all things He has actually gone as far as limiting Himself in His plan and waiting until we pray. As we pray, we join with Him in His purposes and have the thrill of seeing Him work. This action develops a unity between God and ourselves. We are His treasure in earthen vessels. The importance of prayer and fasting in spiritual victory in our personal lives…. • Prayer and fasting enable us exercise power over the temptation of the seven deadly sins: • Greed Slothfulness • Envy Lust • Pride Gluttony • Anger Are you struggling with any of these sins ? • Together in unity we can minister to one another and help each other to find the power of God’s victory over temptation. 1 John 1:9 • Together our prayers have great power. Acts 1:14 • United we stand, divided we fall. Luke 22:40 • We all need to learn to extend grace to each other so we will find grace in our time of need. 1 Peter 3:7 Three Deadly Dangers • But give attention to yourselves, for fear that your hearts become over-full of the pleasures of food and wine, and the cares of this life, and that day may come on you suddenly, and take you as in a net: • For so it will come on all those who are living on the face of all the earth. But keep watch at all times with prayer, that you may be strong enough to come through all these things and take your place before the Son of man. Luke 21:34-36 Are you struggling with any of these dangers ? • Food obsessions or, gluttony? • Addictions? Drugs or drink? • Lustful desires? • Financial worries? • Wrong affections? • Ungodly ambitions? God’s power can set you free from these dangers and change the affections of your heart! A post-modern spirit of compromise • In these days many believers have compromised their standards and suffer the consequences. • The Biblical standards of godly living are timeless and wise. • Compromising our standards of godly living weakens the power of our life. • A sacrificial life is an act of love for God and our fellow man. Three righteous duties • In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus speaks of the three righteous duties of Christians: Giving (Matt. 6:2-4)、Prayer （Matt. 6:5-8）、Fasting (Matt: 6:16-18) • Jesus did not say, If you desire to do so, you can give, pray or fast. Rather he said, (When you ___) • He assumed that every Christian would do these three things. Our motivation for the three righteous duties should be the same as for ministry When we perform these three righteous duties, we must be careful of our motivation. (Matt. 6:1) The motivation of many is not pure. It is only to cause others to look on them with admiration or some other selfish motivation or envy. Such people will not receive the reward from the Lord, and are called hypocrites. Even so, these scriptures clearly tell us a proper fast that purifies our motives will be rewarded by God. Throughout the world countless numbers die everyday through starvation. Christians are blessed by the Lord, in order to save these lost souls, and have compassion on them by fasting and pray. These sacrificial acts move the Spirit of God to mobilize men and women to ministry among the poor. Our motivation for servant-hood comes from a new attitude • You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds. Eph 4:22-23. Fasting is Contrary to our natural reasoning • "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts”. Isaiah 55:8-9 People who fast can enjoy God’s joy • “Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'The fast of the fourth month, ….., Shall be joy and gladness and cheerful feasts for the house of Judah. Therefore love truth and peace”. Zechariah 8:19 Fasting and Prayer was not only for Biblical times • Then John‘s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast. Matthew 9:14 -15 Faith increases through fasting • If we want to be sensitive to messages from God, one method is through fasting. This is like finely tuning a sensitive radio. • When Jesus taught his disciples about increasing faith, He said fasting and prayer is the key to this kind of faith. • However, this kind (demon) does not go out except by prayer and fasting. Matthew 17:21 Through fasting you will experience an open heaven • So Cornelius said, "four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the Ninth hour I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, Acts 10:30 • So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed. Acts 14:23 Fasting will make you sensitive to the Holy Spirit • The spirit of those who fast is sensitive to both the Holy Spirit an other spirits. However, if your motivation is right, you are very safe. • “And she [was] a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served [God] with fastings and prayers night and day And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.” Luke 2:37-38 Short periods of fasting and prayer and the leading of the Spirit • If the Holy Spirit leads you, even in a short fast you can grow very close to God. Whether it is a few days, one, two or three weeks, you will be amazed at the close communication you have with the Lord. • “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. Matt 4:2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered.” Matt. 4:1-2 Three Types of Biblical Fasts 1. Standard Fast – You only drink water, not other solid or liquid nourishment. 2. Absolute Fast – You neither eat nor drink. This type of fast usually is just for a day. Because after 2-3 days, the body will dehydrate and it will cause damage. Moses and Elijah both fasted for 40 days without water. This was a supernatural event. 3. Partial Fast – You abstain from certain foods or all food and only take liquid nourishment. (Dan. 10:3) How long should you fast? • 1. Until we finally know that God has heard our prayer. For this you have to get the assurance whether to have a short (1-10 days) or a longer (20-40 day) fast. • 2. As long as our health and physical condition permits, without resulting in damage. The reasons for fasting • 1. For Personal Needs a. Repentance and holiness 2 Sam. 12:16 b. To buffet the body, for God to hear prayers Isa: 58:3-5 c. For salvation and deliverance from difficulty. Ezra 8:21, Isa 58:6 a. Repentance and cleansing. 2 Sam 12:15 • Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, in sackcloth, and with dust on their heads. Nehemiah 9:1 • And in every province where the king's command and decree arrived, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes. Esther 4:3 b. To buffet the body, for God to hear prayers • But as for me, when they were sick, My clothing was sackcloth; I humbled myself with fasting; And my prayer would return to my own heart. Psalms 35:13 • When I wept and chastened my soul with fasting, That became my reproach. Psalms 69:10 • My knees are weak through fasting, and my flesh is feeble from lack of fatness. Psalms 109:24 • Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. Daniel 9:3 Banishing of Natural Desires • Man has four different desires: • 1. The spiritual desire, the longing for God. • 2. The desire for food. • 3. The sexual desire. • 4. The covetousness for possession, power and luxury. • All these needs can be justified to a certain degree. The first desire does not take any effect at all in most people because it is suppressed by the other three The second and third desires degenerated into major vices in ancient times, of which Paul warned severely in 1. Thessalonians, chapter 4: "abstain from fornication..." also, "that no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such.“ 1 Thess 4:5 – 6 The fourth, covetousness for improvement of one's life, degenerates into greed for money, possession, power and luxury. It is a modern trump card in satan's hand. However, with fasting, a miracle occurs: first of all, the second desire - hunger - vanishes. After approximately 10 days of fasting the weakness is gone. Thereafter the sexual desire disappears too. If the person who is fasting continues in fervent prayer to be united with God, the fourth desire - covetousness, is taken from him; or at least so much diminished, that it is hardly noticeable. To the same degree, as fleshly lusts decrease through fasting, the spiritual longing for God is increased: "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God." PSALM 42:2 It is the Holy Spirit who is working by His moving force. Now, the spirit of prayer becomes alive and an inner urge to pray arises, wherever you are. c. For salvation and deliverance from difficulty. • [Is] not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Isa. 58:6 • And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. 4 And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask [help] of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD. 2 Chr. 20:3-4 • "Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!“ Esther 4:16 • Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions. Ezra 8:21 Fastings as a ministry • a. To seek God’s will, that His will shall be done. Dan. 9:3; 9:21-22 • b. seek power for deliverance. Matt. 17:21; Isa. 58:6 • c. to begin a new ministry – Acts 14:2-3 • d. to ordain ministry Acts 14:23 To fast for revival • Ask God to forgive the sins of the people, to return to God, to bring the power of deliverance- Joel 1:14; Joel 2:15-17; Jonah 3:5 • Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders [and] all the inhabitants of the land [into] the house of the LORD your God, and cry unto the LORD Joel 1:14 • Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly.Joel 2:15 Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. 17 Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where [is] their God? Joel 2:16-17 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. Jonah 3:5 . A spiritual person is a person who fasts and prays often • “Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: But in all [things] approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;” 2 Cor. 6:3-5 • “[In] journeyings often, [in] perils of waters, [in] perils of robbers, [in] perils by [mine own] countrymen, [in] perils by the heathen, [in] perils in the city, [in] perils in the wilderness, [in] perils in the sea, [in] perils among false brethren; 27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.” 2 Cor. 11:26-27 Our challenge: In Bible times, men and women changed the course of history through intercession. Now, in these crucial days when God is completing His glorious plan, the challenge comes to us: "And I searched for a person among them who should build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land . . . but I found no one" Ezekiel 22:30 .