July 2019 Newsletter - "Prayer & Fasting" by Nate Padilla

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We have entered into a new season of fasting and prayer. We just finished the conference with Pastor Thomas Cherian, and as usual, we got our marching orders for the next season. The motif for this conference was “new season” and a paramount focus on “prayer and fasting.” We are at the doorstep of the last move of Yah, and the only ones who will be a part of this are those who decide to open this door and cross over. Every revival that we have seen had prayer and fasting as the foundation and drive that propelled and sustained the move. There was also a significant emphasis on repentance, which according to the early church, you couldn’t repent without prayer and fasting. The two are synonymous. Being that we are on the brink of the last move of Yah, it is imperative that we fast and pray precisely according to the way we aught to by the revelation of the Word. We are warned and instructed that we can fast and incorrectly (Isa_58; Jam_4:3).

We will let our forefathers expound to us what type of fasting our Heavenly Father desires to see us fulfill. The Shepherd Hermas, who was part of the first canon put together, the Codex Sinaiticus, addresses the topic of fasting and was stunned by what the angel told him concerning fasting.

While fasting and sitting on a certain mountain, and giving thanks to the Lord for all His dealings with me, I see the Shepherd sitting down beside me, and saying, “Why have you come hither [so] early in the morning?” “Because, sir,” I answered, “I have a station.” “What is a station?” he asked. “I am fasting, sir,” I replied. “What is this fasting,” he continued, “which you are observing?” “As I have been accustomed, sir,” I reply, “so I fast.” “You do not know,” he says, “how to fast unto the Lord: this useless fasting which you observe to Him is of no value.” “Why, sir,” I answered, “do you say this?” “I say to you,” he continued, “that the fasting which you think you observe is not a fasting. But I will teach you what is a full and acceptable fasting to the Lord. Listen,” he continued: “God does not desire such an empty fasting. For fasting to God in this way you will do nothing for a righteous life; but offer to God a fasting of the following kind: Do no evil in your life, and serve the Lord with a pure heart: keep His commandments, walking in His precepts, and let no evil desire arise in your heart; and believe in God. If you do these things, and fear Him, and abstain from every evil thing, you will live unto God; and if you do these things, you will keep a great fast, and one acceptable before God. [1]

There is far more to fasting than abstinence from eating. There are actors and models who fast as well, albeit for the purpose of losing weight for a role or a shoot. This can pose an issue, as I have witnessed people fast for the means of losing weight. Fasting consists of an emphasis of keeping every evil desire out of our heart, keeping His commandments, walking in His precepts, and so on. By fasting, it weakens our flesh to give us a greater ability to walk after the Spirit as opposed to walking after the flesh. The only reason we have such a hard time with walking out the Word in obedience is that we are not killing the flesh. We can emphasize so much on just studying and getting into the Word that we can neglect the necessity of fasting to kill our fleshly desires, which in turn helps us walk out the Word. How can the revelation of Christ live in us unless we fast (or die to ourselves) and let Christ live in us. The Apostle Paul warns, “But [like a boxer] I buffet my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue it, for fear that after proclaiming to others the Gospel and things pertaining to it, I myself should become unfit [not stand the test, be unapproved and rejected as a counterfeit],” (1Co_9:27). We can preach the secrets of the kingdom, but we could be counterfeits, a fake, due to not dying to the flesh. Hermas continues on with how we can keep our fast perfect.

“This fasting,” he continued, “is very good, provided the commandments of the Lord be observed. Thus, then, shall you observe the fasting which you intend to keep. First of all, be on your guard against every evil word, and every evil desire, and purify your heart from all the vanities of this world. If you guard against these things, your fasting will be perfect. [2]

Fasting teaches us to disconnect from the from the desires of the flesh that keep us fettered to the world and prevents us from ascending in the Spirit. Keeping our hearts pure, we can thus bring forth prayers that are a sweet-smelling aroma to the Father to be received. Fasting prepares our hearts and minds for our prayers to be heard. Every thought is a prayer. What our thoughts are will determine who we are praying to. Fasting teaches us to be focused on the Father by cutting out the distractions that keep us from being focused on pressing into the Father’s presence.

When, then, the man who chooses what is right, and is at the same time of thankful heart, makes his request in prayer, he contributes to the obtaining of it, gladly taking hold in prayer of the thing desired. For when the Giver of good things perceives the susceptibility on our part, all good things follow at once the conception of them. Certainly, in prayer the character is sifted, how it stands with respect to duty.

But if voice and expression are given us, for the sake of understanding, how can God not hear the soul itself, and the mind, since assuredly soul hears soul, and mind, mind? Whence God does not wait for loquacious tongues (talkative), as interpreters among men, but knows absolutely the thoughts of all; and what the voice intimates to us, that our thought, which even before the creation He knew would come into our mind, speaks to God. Prayer, then, may be uttered without the voice, by concentrating the whole spiritual nature within on expression by the mind, in undistracted turning towards God. [3

The fasting disciplines our thoughts to be focused on the things above. Our thoughts and prayers are being tested and focused. In actuality, our thoughts are being sifted by Lord to know what our intentions are. We can be asking for what we think is something noble, such asking for the prophetic gifts. When we ask the Lord for the gift of prophecy, He’s looking deep into our hearts and seeing why we’re really asking that. Do we ask for the gifts of the Spirit because deep down we want attention and recognition from people? Do we desire these things because we have a lust for power? It is written, “Behold, I know your thoughts, and the devices which ye wrongfully imagine against me,” (Job_21:27). Solomon wrote, “Commit your works to the LORD, And your thoughts will be established,” (Pro_16:30). The works that we commit is what we have established above by means of fasting. It brings changes to our way of thinking and the way we pray.

One of the most significant reasons why our prayers are not answered is doubt. I will allow for Hermas to further expound on the peril of doubting.

He says to me, “Put away doubting from you, and do not hesitate to ask of the Lord, saying to yourself, ‘How can I ask of the Lord and receive from Him, seeing I have sinned so much against Him?’ Do not thus reason with yourself, but with all your heart turn to the Lord, and ask of Him without doubting, and you will know the multitude of His tender mercies; that He will never leave you, but fulfil the request of your soul. For He is not like men, who remember evils done against them; but He Himself remembers not evils, and has compassion on His own creature. Cleanse, therefore, your heart from all the vanities of this world, and from the words already mentioned, and ask of the Lord and you will receive all, and in none of your requests will you be denied which you make to the Lord without doubting. But if you doubt in your heart, you will receive none of your requests. For those who doubt regarding God are double-souled, and obtain not one of their requests. But those who are perfect in faith ask everything, trusting in the Lord; and they obtain, because they ask nothing doubting, and not being double-souled. For every double-souled man, even if he repent, will with difficulty be saved.” [4]

Having too much flesh, or sin, in our lives will create doubt in us. We think that we have gone too far for Yah to hear us. There are those whom I have counseled who have prayed after they said the have “repented” and are perplexed as to why their prayers have not been answered. It is because they have not truly repented and turned back to Yah with all their hearts. The Father is not like us; when He forgives us, he remembers the sins no more, as opposed to us who do keep a record of the wrongs that have been done by others and even our own mistakes. He has compassion on those who return wholly to Him. That is what is His desire is for us. Fasting is part of the repentance, putting away the vanities of this world, the lust of the flesh, the carnal thoughts are eradicated from our soul. It sanctifies the altar within our hearts, enabling us to be heard clearly by our Father, resulting in every request granted that we petition to Him, because we killed our fleshly desires, having a desire for holiness and the perfecting of our souls.

 

References:
1.  Hermas - The Shepherd Bk. 3 Pt. 1 Ch. I, Vol. 1
2.  Hermas - The Shepherd Bk. 3 Pt. 1 Ch. I, Vol. 1
3.  Clement - Stromata Bk. 7 Ch. XII, Vol. 2
4.  Hermas - The Shepherd Bk. 2 Pt. 1, Vol. 2

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