Rhapsody of Realities Daily Devotional ;Saturday, 6th July 2019 ;
Pastor Chris Oyakhilome DSc., DD;
THE RIGHT TIME TO PRAY AND FAST;
Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? (Matthew 9:14).
In admonishing His disciples on fasting, the Lord Jesus cautioned, “Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward” (Matthew 6:16). The Lord’s remark was both thought provoking and enlightening.
In the preceding verse 15, He had said, “…Can the children of the bride chamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.” Here, He was referring to Himself returning to the Father in heaven. Moreover ever since His ascension, the Church has fasted—the disciples and apostles of the early Church fasted. Prayer and fasting have been part of our spiritual activity as Christians. We fast when necessary. “When is it necessary to fast?” someone might ask.
First, when your local church or congregation proclaims a prayer and fasting programme, that’s a time to fast. Never isolate yourself from such a call, because it’s part of our corporate fellowship. There’re things we do corporately, such as corporate worship, and many other things that are intended for spiritual growth and edification; prayer and fasting are among them.
Secondly, when you choose to fast and pray, or the Holy Spirit leads you to do so, don’t ignore it. That’s another great opportunity, especially if it’s the Spirit guiding you; and you’ll know when He’s the One leading you to fast.
Some people schedule prayer and fasting as a means for their own spiritual exercise, and that’s excellent. So, in whichever way and at whatever time you’re guided to fast, take it seriously. Make fasting and praying a part of your personal spiritual routine.
If, in your local assembly, the announcement is made for a praying and fasting session, don’t unilaterally decide you’re not going to be a part of it. Don’t, on your own, choose when you’ll break your fast. That’ll be wrong. Be disciplined to always get involved, being aware that the benefits are essential to your spiritual growth (1 Timothy 4:8).
Remember that through fasting and praying, your effectiveness in the things of the Spirit are improved. Your ability to hear and receive from God is sharpened, and you’re more attuned to the finer signals and instruction of the Spirit that you need for a higher level of life; a life of continuous glory and success!
I’m sensitive to the leading of the Spirit, and His guidance in my life for my spiritual growth and development. My acts of service in the house of God will inspire commitment, growth and development of younger Christians, such that there will be no cause for stumbling for them, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,
2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
39 And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?
41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.
43 And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.
44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.
DAILY SCRIPTURE READING
1-YEAR BIBLE READING PLAN
Acts 18:1-23 & Job 9-11
2-YEAR BIBLE READING PLAN
Luke 7:1-10 & Deuteronomy 34