Guest Blogger: Lonwabo Fayo
Day 4: The Criticality of Prayer – Beware of Sacred Substitutes
“without extended and consecrated prayer, the ministry of the WORD withers up and bears no fruit…Activity may continue, but life and power and fruitfulness fade away…therefore WHATEVER opposes prayer opposes the whole work of ministry.”
As we enter the fourth day of our fast, we need to not only stay focused on the disciplines of fasting, but also the importance of why we are fasting. Fasting isn’t just giving up something, but it is replacing that which we view as important in our physical being, with something that is critically important to our spiritual being. The most important of which, is prayer. Fasting is not an end in itself and we need to be careful not to idolize it, but to actually focus on what it points us to. That is extended, constant, consecrated prayer and petition.
Jesus, being both the Son of God and God himself, saw it necessary to pray and pray and pray and pray, A LOT! If we look at Scripture, we will see that in Mark 1: 35-39, Luke 5:15-16, 6:12-13 and 9:18, Jesus continually found time to and pray ALONE – as if He even needed to. The example that Jesus sets, is not only an example of how OFTEN we should pray but also an example of HOW we should go about prayer and WHEN we should pray. If you analyze these scriptures, you will notice that Jesus would pray before the day even started, often He even prayed INSTEAD of ministering to people – something we as ministers of the Gospel, in many ways, would feel too guilty about doing. We have this notion that the work cannot wait and so we often compromise prayer time for many GOOD , NOBLE and GODLY deeds. But this is in itself a flaw. To take it further, let’s remember the story of Mary and Martha, in Luke 10: 38-42 and see that Jesus turns our priorities, as His Children, upside down and says that spending time at the feet of the Lord is BETTER than working for Him.
The ministry things that do, physically, are not bad, at all – like the fast that we are on – but what’s MORE important and what will lead to the most fruitful results, is not what we have sacrificed, but replacing what we have sacrificed with spending time with our Father, with Jesus and with the Holy Spirit. We are to learn that, like Jesus showed us, we are to pray without ceasing BEFORE, AFTER and even DURING our ministry time (whether personal or for others). We are to learn that during this fast, we should develop a culture of praying to God honestly and fervently, at all times. Prayer, in our lives, has to transform from being a NEED to being a DEVOTION – something we are passionately in-love with.
Jesus taught the disciples to do the same, as you can see in Acts 1:14 and 2:42. As a result of this, we are embarking on a new diet of prayer, both as individuals and as a family. With the help of the Grace of God, through the Holy Spirit, we are going to devote more time to prayer, we are even going to spend some time together praying through the night. We are going to take advantage of this time that God has given us to go as deep as we can into His presence and we are gonna milk it for all the soy milk its worth!! Amen!
Other scriptures to read and meditate on:
- Romans 12:12
- Colossians 4:2
- Ephesians 6:18
21 Days of Surrender: Tips for a Successful Fast
4. Pray. A lot.
See Above Scriptures