Day 7: PRAY

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Today we conclude our 7 Days of Prayer & Fasting with a passage from James chapter 5.

We will focus on the word “pray.”

Carefully read through the passage below and identify the verse(s) that God has for you today to meditate on and meet with corresponding action.

James 5:13-18

13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.

Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.

14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.

Please join us tonight from 7PM – 9PM on the 3rd floor of GSIS as we conclude our week of prayer and fasting with an intimate evening of Prayer & Praise. We will continue to process in prayer and conversation together the important things God has been working on our hearts throughout the week.

Hope to see you there!

 


 

Day 6: BE PATIENT

Friday, July 27, 2018

Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. James 5:7

James was speaking to Christians who were enduring hardships when he wrote, “be patient.” Patience here means “to stay put and stand fast even when you’d like to run away.”

It is human nature to want to escape the difficult places in our life. Is there, however, an area of your life where God desires for you to stay put and patiently wait on Him?

This is the focus of prayer today. 

There are certainly situations where God delivers us out of the situation, but there are also circumstances where He says, “be patient” and to remain under the difficult pressure and stress you are enduring. 

Why? What is the purpose? Because there is a valuable harvest ahead; and it is a harvest that we need to wait for and is most certainly worth waiting for. 

As a farmer waits for rains in the fall and spring to grow his seed and crop, it is important for us to also be spiritual farmers waiting for these necessary seasons to help mature the harvest. 

So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest… Matthew 9:38

In your time of prayer, pray on this harvest. What is the harvest God is showing you?

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:2

Set your mind on what God is revealing to you. Allow Him to settle this eternal picture in your heart. For we live by believing not by seeing. 2 Corinthians 5:7

Also share what God has shown you with a brother or sister in the Lord and agree in prayer together.

Jesus said, “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.” Matthew 18:19

 


 

Day 5: SUBMIT

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7

Ephesians 4:27 says, “do not give the devil a foothold.”

The devil needs a foothold to work his destructive agenda in our lives. We, however, give him that foothold.

Are you aware of any opportunities, places, or footholds that you have given the enemy?

This is the focus of today’s prayer. Ask the Holy Spirit to identify and reveal places where you have willingly given ground to the enemy. 

James 4:6 says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

His amazing grace is there for you in this process. However, it is impossible to receive and experience God’s grace if our heart is prideful. In fact, God resists the proud. The way to resist the devil and receive the power of God’s grace is to humbly submit to God. 

How do you submit to God? You do what He instructs you to do.

Ask the Holy Spirit what to do with the footholds He has identified   in your life. Here are a few practical truths from God’s Word that may help as you pray through this:

Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Proverbs 28:13

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. James 5:16

So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. 1 Peter 2:1

But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.  Colossians 3:8-10

God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor— 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. Galatians 5:16-17

 


 

Day 4: GIVE

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

If a brother or sister is without clothes and lacks daily food and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, stay warm, and be well fed,” but you don’t give them what the body needs, what good is it? James 2:15-16 CSB

The prayer notes for today is very short and simple.

If you are willing, start the day trusting God in prayer to lead you to give and bless someone with your time, practical help, or finances.

For example, it could be as simple as going out of your way to help a peer or co-worker with their work. Perhaps this also includes giving in a special way to someone in your own family. Or it could be simply caring and going to over to pray for someone you know who is sick. If you are fasting perhaps you can apply the money you would have spent on eating and use it to bless someone else with a meal, whether it is stranger or someone you know.  Those are just a few possibilities. 

If it is not practical to give in this way today, let God settle in your heart a plan for a later time and commit to it.  

Then spend some time praying specifically for these people and others that God has put on your heart. 

Act 25:30 says, In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

May you experience the power and beauty of this truth as you obey and live it out. 

 


 

Day 3: LISTEN

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

My dear brothers and sisters, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, James 1:19 CSB

Are you slow to anger or quick to anger?

The emotion of anger itself is not sin. It is actually quite normal and has a godly purpose. It helps us stand up for what is right, good, and true. However, if you do not apply God’s Word to anger, it can most certainly lead to sin. Ephesians 4:26 tells us, “Be angry and do not sin…”

There is a difference between acting out of anger versus interacting with our anger. Interacting with our anger helps slow things down instead of quickly acting on it.

Christian, we must continue to grow in bringing these feelings to God as soon as possible and let Him speak to them. This is one important way to put into action God’s Word in James, “be quick to listen, and slow to speak.” Learning to listen and listen well must start with our relationship with God. The more we grow in our ability to listen to God, the better we become at listening to others. 

So take a moment and interact with any angry feelings you may have been feeling recently.

What have you been angry about?

What have you been doing with this anger? 

What might be fueling this anger? Here are some possibilities: hurt, rejection, feeling wronged, offended, disrespected, injustice, fear, frustration, loss of control, and unmet expectations or needs. 

Because of this (hurt, rejection, injustice, fear, etc) what have you come to believe about yourself, others, or God?

Now take these beliefs, feelings and thoughts to God and talk with Him about it. Most importantly, listen to what He has to say. This not only means you are willing to hear His Word but also willing to accept what He tells you and instructs you to do.

Feel free to have this conversation with God as you walk, write, or talk and pray with others. You can work through this in moments of quietness or through the active moments in your day. God simply wants to connect with your heart. 

The second part of Ephesians 4:26 says, “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” Meaning deal with it today and every day.

Anger is not something you eliminate, it is something you present to God as an instrument of righteousness (Romans 6:13).  So don’t  let your anger go unresolved. Deal with it now. Present it before the Lord and let Him shine His light on it, speak life into it, and enable you to do what is right with it. 

Do what it says: Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.

 


 

Day 2: ASK

Monday, July 23, 2018

But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. James 1:6 CSB

Let him ask…

in faith…

You have probably heard the phrase: “It is not what you say, it’s how you say it.” Here in this verse we learn that is not just what we ask God in prayer but more importantly how we ask Him. What we ask God may reveal the deep concerns we have in our heart but how we ask Him, in faith or with doubting, reveals our heart towards Him, specifically whether or not we truly trust Him. 

Christian, do you trust God with the things you are bringing to Him in prayer?

This question is not meant to be a challenge. It is written as a loving invitation to make vulnerable the important things you ask of Him and to put them fully into His hands. 

Perhaps you have had issues with trust. Valid reasons. However, please understand that your ability to trust is core to who you are as a human being. So our inability to trust makes us very unstable as a human being: like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. Verse 8 says, he is double-minded and unstable in all his ways.

The truth is God is the only One who can help you and heal your ability to trust. He gave you this ability in the first place, and He is the only One who can restore it by having you experience His perfect trustworthiness. You were in fact created to be in relationship where there is nothing less than perfect trust. This is His invitation to you to experience just that. It is goes far beyond simply giving you what you have asked. His desire is to make you whole from the inside out. 

So what do you have in your heart to ask Him? When you are ready, ask in faith without doubting.

Spend some time also meditating on truths about God’s faithfulness and praising Him for who He is.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Psalm 62:5-8

 


 

Day 1: CONSIDER

Sunday, July 22, 2018

During this week of Prayer & Fasting we will be taking our lead from what God has been teaching us through the Book of James.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:22 NIV

This has been an important verse of Scripture we have been mediating on through this series, and each day this week we will focus on one specific action word found in the Book of James to help us put into action God’s word in our lives. 

For our purpose today on Day 1 of Prayer and Fasting, we will focus on the word “consider.” 

James 1:2 says, Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,

The word “consider” essentially means making a willful decision to change your outlook and attitude. Biblically this means to fully take on God’s attitude and perspective in regards to your current situation, your identity or purpose in life.

This is really important because your outlook and attitude is what determines your action or inaction. How you face what is going on in your life right now is completely dependent upon your perspective and attitude. How you head into this week of Prayer and Fasting is also dependent upon your attitude and what you choose to value in this week. 

So today, consider carefully these questions and take them into your time of prayer:

What do you desire in this week of Prayer and Fasting? What are you seeking God for?

Do you have any ungodly attitudes or perspectives towards someone in your life, your past or present situation, or yourself that you need to surrender to God?

Are you willing to take on God’s attitude and perspective and consider whatever trial you are facing right now as pure joy?

 


 

Fasting FAQs

What is the purpose of fasting?

Whilst fasting can be physically good for us this is not the reason we fast.

It is not to lose weight
It is not to go hungry for as long as we can in order to discipline our self
It is not to impress God
It is not to prove I am a “good Christian”

It is to devote our self to a time of dedication to the Lord desiring to draw closer to Him as we spend quality time in prayer. Going without food is an outward sign of this devotion with expectancy for God to speak to us and reveal His will.

Who can fast?

As long as there are no medical reasons for you not to fast it is something anyone can participate in. It is advisable to take great care when considering children fasting. Our advice would be to encourage them to fast perhaps desserts, candy, treats or just one meal a day.

What do I fast?

Fasting means to go without food – this is the fasting the Bible talks about.

If a person feels convicted to fast other things (non essentials) such as movies, TV, Facebook, the Internet, hobbies or pastimes it is probably a good idea for them to assess if those things are taking a place in their life that is too prominent and consider permanently refraining from them or drastically reducing their time spent doing them.

For people for whom going without food is not advisable due to medical reasons they can consider going without special or “treat” type foods.

How much do I fast?

This must be determined only between you and God – do what He asks you to. Don’t feel forced or obliged to do more or less than you honestly know God gives you the faith for.

Some people will fast one meal a day. Some will fast two and others will fast all food.

We strongly advise you to keep your fluid intake up and if you are fasting meals think about the types of fluids you are drinking. Definitely do not consume alcohol while fasting!

How to prepare for a time of fasting

The worse thing you could do just before starting a fast is to ‘stockpile’! This means you eat more than you normally would to compensate for the food your body will be missing during the fast. All this does is stretch your stomach which will demand you keep it that full – you will feel even more hungry!

About 3-5 days before you start you fasting begin to reduce the amount of food you are eating at each meal. This way your stomach gradually shrinks and gets used to having less food.

If you intend to fast right through the 7 days, whether it is one meal or all food, prepare your schedule in advance. Think about appointments that may involve food.

How to come off the fast

Don’t plan to go out for a huge celebration meal on the last night of the fast to mark the end of your fast! You may suffer! Gradually introduce the meals you have been fasting to give your body time to re-adjust.

It is always a good time to assess your diet and determine if there are any foods you could actually benefit from not eating. This is a good time to make these adjustments.

What if I start fasting but can’t carry on?

Fasting is not about discipline or endurance – it’s about deepening the relationship with God and really focusing in on Him. God will never think you have failed if you have to stop fasting. If you have never fasted before, seriously consider starting at a level that you can sustain – like cutting out one meal a day.

Is it just about going without food?

Definitely not! If all you experience during fasting is hunger then nothing of any value has been achieved. Take at least the normal time you would spend preparing food and eating to get in God’s presence to pray and read the Bible. We recommend that you do all you can to get together with others (i.e. family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc) and join together to pray – it will really encourage you. Also, try to get to the Praise & Prayer Evenings at GSIS on Saturdays too (7:00 – 9:00 pm).

How to enjoy fasting!

Consider fasting to be an opportunity for you to draw closer to God and deepen your relationship with Him. Schedule to spend more quality time with Him and expect Him to talk to you – listen for Him.

Perhaps there are specific topics you feel you need answers on; maybe there are lifestyle habits you have not been able to previously break; you may be aware of things God has asked you to do but you have not done them; are there people in your life who need to know Jesus as Savior and Lord; do you have things in your life that haunt you form your past; what are God’s plans for you? As well as using the Daily Prayer Notes (online) and joining with the whole Church, these are excellent things to communicate with God during these days of prayer.

And, of course, join with us all to seek God’s will for The Nations. We believe this will be a powerful and significant time as we put God and His will first in our lives.

Other points

Be sure to bathe/shower every day, especially when you fast all food. Your body will remove toxins through the skin, which need to be washed away. You will notice that it affects your breath so be sure to clean your teeth regularly and perhaps use mouthwash too – you don’t need to lose your friends!

If you fast tea or coffee you may experience headaches as your body comes of caffeine. Don’t take painkillers if you are fasting food – this can damage your stomach. Choose if you want to detox from caffeine or reintroduce it into your diet.

As you get hungry you may also feel short tempered, easily upset, angry etc. This is a great opportunity to take these feelings to God and ask Him to help you know how to deal with them.

If you are fasting all food for 7 days you may well start to feel tired and weak. Your body will look for “food” from around your body and your muscles may well be affected. Be wise about physical activities, don’t exert yourself unnecessarily and be sure to get enough sleep. In cold weather take care to wear warm clothes when you go outside – your body will have less food to turn into heat energy. Be sure to drink plenty of water.

There is no reason for fasting to negatively affect your work or your appearance (apart from losing a few pounds). Jesus said we are to not draw attention to our self when fasting. Actually you will find that your mind becomes clearer and more alert, especially if your diet normally includes various “junk foods”.

For anyone fasting all food for a long time you will find the first 3-4 days are the most difficult. If you fast for an extended time you may actually find that you have to make yourself start eating again!

Fasting is not a competition or a way of proving your self-discipline to God or people. Be wise about fasting affecting your health and never feel you cannot stop fasting at any time