Some time ago one of our readers asked about fasting, so I’d like to give a Bible reference/quote as follow-up on that from the beatitudes:
“16 Moreover, when you fast, do not have a mournful face as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces so that they may appear to people as fasting. Truly I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face. 18 Thus you may not appear to people as fasting, but only to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret, will reward you.” ULB-EN
I think that last verse is so rich: Our Father sees & rewards.
For me, I think of fasting as giving up something so I can spend the time used during that something in prayer. Fasting does not earn us anything; it gives the extra time for special prayer.
About resources: I’ve been asked what translation or version of the Bible I’ve been quoting from, so will give the web link. It’s called the UnfoldingWord and I use it because it’s public domain. I understand that so is the King James Version, but since that is old English I thought it might be harder for our foreign readers. I do check with other translations to see how they compare, and most have been pretty close in the wording.
3 “Do not put your trust in princes
or in mankind, in whom there is no salvation.
4 When a person’s life’s breath stops, he returns to the ground;
on that day his plans end.
5 Blessed is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,
whose hope is in Yahweh his God.” ULB-EN
5 “Trust in Yahweh with all your heart
and do not lean on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways acknowledge him
and he will make your paths straight.” ULB-EN
Sisters, we need to rely upon God in all things. Let us, in this season of prayer for revival, keep our eyes on Him. God has mightily sent His Holy Spirit to do great things among us in the past; He can do it again. Trust in the Lord, and pray on….
My Sisters, let me encourage you today with the words of CH Spurgeon:
“Men ought always to pray.” Luke 18:1 (KJV)
If men ought always to pray and not to faint, much more Christian men. Jesus has sent his church into the world on the same errand upon which he himself came, and this mission includes intercession. What if I say that the church is the world’s priest? Creation is dumb, but the church is to find a mouth for it. It is the church’s high privilege to pray with acceptance. The door of grace is always open for her petitions, and they never return empty-handed. The veil was rent for her, the blood was sprinkled upon the altar for her, God constantly invites her to ask what she wills. Will she refuse the privilege which angels might envy her? Is she not the bride of Christ? May she not go in unto her King at every hour? Shall she allow the precious privilege to be unused? The church always has need for prayer. There are always some in her midst who are declining, or falling into open sin. There are lambs to be prayed for, that they may be carried in Christ’s bosom? the strong, lest they grow presumptuous; and the weak, lest they become despairing. If we kept up prayer-meetings four-and-twenty hours in the day, all the days in the year, we might never be without a special subject for supplication. Are we ever without the sick and the poor, the afflicted and the wavering? Are we ever without those who seek the conversion of relatives, the reclaiming of back-sliders, or the salvation of the depraved? Nay, with congregations constantly gathering, with ministers always preaching, with millions of sinners lying dead in trespasses and sins; in a country over which the darkness of Romanism is certainly descending; in a world full of idols, cruelties, devilries, if the church doth not pray, how shall she excuse her base neglect of the commission of her loving Lord? Let the church be constant in supplication, let every private believer cast his mite of prayer into the treasury.
Is not that an old saying “Live and learn”, yet do we? I’ve been reading a lot, because one must read to write, the Bible being the best place to study, yet God has given many “men of old” wisdom that we can learn from. I’ve been reading William Gurnall’s The Christian in Complete Armour, and find that God is teaching me many things, especially about the armour in Ephesians 6:10-20. This book is very deep in knowledge, but I’m currently reading about the helmet which makes it rather funny that it took reading two-thirds of the book before the complete make-up of the armour hit me. I recall Gurnall writing many times about the defensive nature of the armour, that only the sword is an offensive part. In my recent readings, it became very clear that, in most cases, we as Christians are to be on the defensive, protecting the “castle of the heart” as John Bunyan would put it in Holy War.
So, rather than running out to attack Satan’s grounds, let us pray in a way that God would strengthen His people to fight when attacked, not back down, standing firm on the whole counsel of God—His Word, the Bible.