Prayer & Fasting

How To

Matthew chapter six records Jesus' most well-known sermon. He was giving a message regarding the Christian life. In it, He says, "When you give...When you pray...When you fast..." To Jesus, these three things were common, regular activities for His disciples. Most of us know how to give, so here are some pointers are on other two.

FASTING defined:

Fasting is exchanging personal time and earthly pleasures for EXTRA God time and heavenly pursuits.

How to fast in five steps:

  1. STOP A SPECIFIC ACTIVITY for a set season = fast food or a food group, fast media, fast shopping, etc.

  2. USE THE EXTRA TIME to connect with God and dwell on eternity = pray, read the Bible, journal, etc.

  3. ELIMINATE DISTRACTIONS from within and without = re-direct your thoughts toward worship, find a quiet place, etc.

  4. BE WISE and humble = drink a lot of water, get good rest, seek medical counsel, and avoid bragging or showing off.

Notes on fasting:

While fasting with the right attitude and motives, we are one on one with God, offering him the time and attentiveness we might otherwise be giving to eating, shopping or watching television. Fasting is an opportunity to lay down an appetite - an appetite for food, for media, and other earthly pleasures, in exchange for the Holy Spirit to do something new in us.

 

  • Deny yourself a meal, and when your stomach growls - "I’m hungry," take a moment to turn from your emptiness to the nourishment of every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). Feed on Jesus, the bread of life.

  • Skip the radio or TV for a day to become aware of how fidgety you are when you aren’t being amused or diverted. Then dodge the remote, and embrace Jesus and his words - "My food…is to do the will of him who sent me." (John 4:34).

PRAYER defined:

Prayer is talking with God - sharing your heart with God, and God sharing His heart with you.

How to pray:

  1. BE BIBLICAL in how you pray and what you pray for = be honest, be humble, be bold, quote scripture, think your prayers, speak your prayers, sing your prayers, etc.

  2. BE CONSISTENT with your requests = keep asking for God's will, keep knocking for God's perspective, keep seeking God's heart.

  3. BE CREATIVE how and where you pray = use different methods listed below, set a timer, use a list of topics, go for a walk or take a drive.

  4. GIVE CREDIT to God = when you see a prayer answered, tell someone how God came through.​

Methods of Prayer:

 

Hand Model

Your fingers can help you have a balanced conversation with God. Look at your hand, and pray through these specific topics for as long as the Spirit leads:

  • Thumb = Worship & thank God.

  • Index Finger = Ask God to judge your heart, then confess your sins and seek forgiveness accordingly.

  • Middle Finger = Bless and make requests on behalf or your leaders (church, government, school, work, etc.)

  • Ring Finger = Bless and make requests on behalf or your family & friends.

  • Pinkie = Seek God's will for yourself (the smallest finger).

 
ACTS Acronym

Some letters can lead you to a balanced conversation with God. Dwell on each of the following words to guide your conversation with God.

  • A = Adoration - Worship God for who He is.

  • C = Confession - Admit sin.

  • T = Thanksgiving - Praise God for His deeds.

  • S = Supplication - Ask God to help with needs.

 

Praying Scripture

The Bible is a great tool for prayer. It is God's Word! Look up scriptures, read them, then pray in that direction with those words.

  • Look up a particular passage or choose one from your scheduled reading.

  • Read the passage out loud, then use its words to pray for a specific thing.

  • Sometimes, you can just read the passage and let it stand alone as your prayer.