TEXT: LUKE 11:1-13; Esther 4:1-17; James 5:13-18 M/V: Matt. 17:21
The subject of prayer and fasting is very vital for successful Christian living and services. As no individual can continue living without breathing, so no Christian can remain spiritually alive without praying or without making use of the benefits of fasting. Fasting accomplishes a good number of things in the life of the believer. These include, one, chastening and humbling of the soul before God (Psa. 35:13; 69:10), two, Crucifying the appetite to give time to seek the Lord (2Sam. 12: 16-23), Three, Focusing one’s attention on God to the exclusion of all else (1Cor. 7:5). Four, it aids in temptation (Matt. 4:1-11). Five, Helps in exercising power over demons (Matt. 17:14-21). Six, Make prayer powerful and effective.
Reasons why it is necessary to pray and how often should we pray. Psa. 42:1, 2; Exo. 22:23; Matt. 7:7-11; 6:16; 17:21; Isa. 55:6, 7.
From the Bible references, prayer means communing with God. It is the soul’s desire for God (Psa.42:1, 2), a cry or supplication (Exo.22:23), an appeal from child to the father (Matt. 6:6), an instinct that must have utterance (Luk. 18:7, 13), beseeching or calling on the Lord (Exo. 32:11; Acts 7:59), lifting up or pouring out the heart and seeking the face of the Lord (Psa. 27:8; 62:8).
We should note that though, prayer is supposed to be the most natural thing for men, the flesh is often most unwilling to pray. Hence, God’s various instructions in the Scripture. We are commanded to seek the Lord and the wicked is enjoined to forsake his ways in prayer of repentance (Isa. 55:6, 7). We are enjoined as believers to ask, seek and knock (1Chro. 16:11; Matt 7:7-11). We are commanded to pray without ceasing (1Thess. 5:17).
Biblical pattern of praying and fasting. (1Tim. 2:8; Psa. 5:3, 8; 55:17; Luk. 6:12; 4:2; 2:36, 37; Acts 13:2; Dan. 6:10; Exo. 34:28)
The Scripture makes it clear that we can pray everywhere and every time. (1 Tim.2:8). We have examples and pointers to the appropriateness of praying daily- morning (Psa.5:3). Night and day (Psa.88:1; Luk. 6:12 ;), thrice daily (Psalm. 55:17; Dan. 6:10), without ceasing (1Thess. 5:17). God expects every believer to be constant in prayer as this is the magnet that will attract His power upon our lives when exercised in faith and righteousness. Prayer becomes more effective when combined with fasting.