Summary: What role does fasting and prayer have to living the supernatural life?
Sept 14 – Living the Supernatural Life: Fasting and Power
Review of what God has shown us over the past few weeks. We are on a journey to discover and release the supernatural power of God that He has promised for our lives.
The Supernatural Life: Is the norm for Christians and is not meant to be the exception.
I heard a well known bible teacher that said he wondered what would happen if he omitted the supernatural power of God from the Book of Acts. By highlighting each occurrence, he found that there was not a single chapter in the Book of Acts that didn’t have a reference to the supernatural power of God being unleashed in the lives of ordinary Christians.
Last week we heard some ground shaking testimonies of God’s supernatural activity in people’s lives – and most, if not all of it was the direct result of prayer.
In fact, over the past couple of weeks, we have talked about the correlation between prayer (personal and group prayer) and the supernatural power and activity of God in our lives and our world.
How frequently do you experience the supernatural power of God in your life? How often do you hear His voice? Let’s read in the book of Acts where this is the normal experience of the church and what they did to hear God.
In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." 3 So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
A group of committed Christians, including prophets, teachers, and Apostles, got together to worship and fast.
We find that fasting was a regular practice of the early church and prayer accompanied it. In this case, the group was “worshipping” or “ministering to the Lord” during their time of fasting.
Worship is the act of “ministering to the Lord”- in that
our praises offered are a sacrifice (Heb. 13:15 “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.”) ,
our prayers are incense (Rev. 5:8 “and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.”) ,
our bodies are living sacrifices (Romans 12:1 “to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”)
Do you see why worship is so vital to our experience and knowledge of God?
Do you understand why worship is more than being about singing 3 songs and having a sermon?
The act of worship is literally ministering to God (and not just to ourselves).
It is in this act of worship and ministering to God, while they were fasting and worshipping, that God spoke to them this group of believers.
Most of us look at fasting and prayer as a primarily private experience, don’t we?
We want a personal prayer need or to hear from God for some kind of direction, so we enter into a time of prayer or we have a great burden so we fast.
But this account at Antioch was a corporate act of fasting and worship.
Why were they fasting? The passage doesn’t tell us, but I believe that the reason they were fasting was to hear God. I make this conclusion because that was the net result of their time in fasting and prayer. They apparently received what they were praying and fasting for.
The passage says that “while they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said…”
Folks, I believe that God is speaking…
He is speaking all of the time, but are we listening?
He is speaking to people, in Isaiah, His voice goes out Isaiah 6:8 “Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?”
In Ezekiel, God looked for someone to intercede for the nation, but no one was to be found. No one was listening. No one was paying attention to the voice of God.
Prayer is the primary means of listening to God. Worship is a means of encountering and listening to God. But fasting…why fasting?
In a previous sermon in this series, I touched on the value of fasting to hearing God.
Fasting involves more than just not eating.
It involves the entirety of our being.
We deny our bodies food for a time to awaken our hunger inside of us, not just a physical hunger, but a spiritual one as well. Our hunger pangs remind us of our needs.