As we go into the final days of the 21-day fast for most churches, I am contemplating what it really means to cultivate a prayer life after fasting because this is the first time where I am able to take some time and focus on this topic. In Part 2, I talked about how if our prayer-life is out of sync and not aligned with God’s Word; we will continue to pray for things that are contrary to God’s plan for our lives.
In this final post in the 3-part miniseries on the purpose of fasting, I want to talk on how we as Christians should cultivate a prayer life after a fast that centers of who God is, what God has in store for our lives, and how to build a relationship with Christ through prayer.
What does it mean to Cultivate a Prayer Life?
Well, to me, I think that cultivating a prayer life is more than just praying to God and asking Him for guidance; I feel that in order to cultivate a prayer life, you would have to have begun to pray to God and be able to humble yourself before God. Humbling yourself before the Lord in prayer I feel shows that you and I as Christians are willing to submit to God’s plan for our lives over our way.
In the book of 2 Chronicles 7:14, the “chronicler” mentions that God just wants the people of Israel to humble themselves, pray and seek forgiveness of their sins and turn from their wickedness, but here’s the question: Can we as Christians today humble ourselves before God and pray for forgiveness?
2 Chronicles 7:14
“14. 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 I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
Well, it’s been a while since I did a parable blog post. InThe Parable of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl of Great Price, I talked abouthow we as Christians should beobtaining the true treasure of the Kingdom of God; which is having an eternal life with Christ and being renewed by Him every day when we accept Him as our Lord and Savior over our lives. In this parable, I just want us to think of ourselves as the dragnet or net that comes to catch fish of every kind and draw them into a relationship with Christ.
If you want to read the other parable blog posts, you can check here.
What does it mean to be the Dragnet in the Kingdom of Heaven?
Well, what is a dragnet? A dragnet is a net designed to encircle a large area and gather fish near the bottom of a lake. So, if a dragnet is designed to catch fish, then what does that make us as disciples of Christ? In my opinion, I think this means that as disciples of Christ, we are tasked with gathering the “fish” or people of every kind and make disciples of every nation; just as Jesus commanded we do before He ascended into Heaven.
However, as the “dragnet” that will be used to bring people to Christ, we as Christians and as people should also remember that we are still human. In Matthew 13:47-48, Jesus gives us a depiction of not only what happens to disciples of Christ but also to those that reject Him and turn away from His gift of eternal life.
“47. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, 48. which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away.”Read More »
Welcome back. So, in last week’s blog postWhat Is Fasting?you and I learned what fasting wasn’t about our self-indulgence or our agenda but rending our hearts to the Lord and getting closer to Him. Well today, we will be talking about the other aspect of fasting; prayer. Prayer is just as important as fasting because prayer is a spiritual link that connects us to God and allows us to ask God for guidance in times of hardship and situations that seem out of our control. Together with fasting, prayer is an essential part of a Christian’s relationship with God.
What is does it mean to Pray?
Well, the words to pray or prayer either come from the Greek word proseuchomai which means “to pray to God” or “make prayer” or from the Hebrew word palal which means “to intercede” or “make supplication”. So, if both words mean to intercede and pray to God; then why do we as Christians pray half-hearted prayers and not sincere prayers to the Lord?
I think it has something to do with the type of prayer-life that we have while we are fasting. If our prayer-life is out of sync and not aligned with God’s Word; we will continue to pray for things that are contrary to God’s plan for our lives.The Old Testament prophet Ezra talks about prayer as a means of humility and praying that God leads the Israelites in the right direction but I feel it applies to us today. In Ezra 8:21, Ezra is taking the people of Israel to a river to pray and ask God for direction.
“21. 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.”Read More »
Well, it’s 2018. During the month of January, I will be doing a 3-part miniseries on the Purpose of Fasting where you and I will be exploring the Purpose of Fasting and why God has called us to fast. Fasting should be a crucial time for us as Christians to repent, draw closer to God and even learn more about God and His plan for us. So, for most churches, as we go into the fasting season I hope that you join me as we discuss why it’s important for us as Christians to fast.
What does it mean to Fast?
Well, the word fast or fasting either comes from the Greek word Nesteia which means “abstinence” or referring to “the Day of Atonement” or the Hebrew word tsum which means “to abstain from food”. So, if both words speak of fasting as the abstinence or removal of food, why then do we as Christians fast the way we want to fast and not the way God wants? It’s all because of our hearts.
The prophet Joel tells us exactly what God wants us to do regarding fasting and how we should not only fast in the physical but in the spiritual sense as well. In Joel 2:12-13, Joel is trying to not only telling us but teaching us how to fast as God would have us fast.
“12. ‘Now therefore’ says the Lord, Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning. 13. So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm.”Read More »