Summary: Fasting and prayer are personal services of worship to God.
Prayer and Fasting
June 9, 2013 Morning Service
Immanuel Baptist Church, Wagoner, OK
Message Point: Fasting and prayer are personal services of worship to God.
Focus Passage: Matthew 6:6 -18
Supplemental Passage: "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. "The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: 'God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 'I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.' "But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, the sinner!' "I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted." (Luke 18:10-14 NASB)
Introduction: In his book Why Prayers are Unanswered, John Lavender retells a story about Norman Vincent Peale.
When Peale was a boy, he found a big, black cigar, slipped into an alley, and lit up. It didn't taste good, but it made him feel very grown up. . . until he saw his father coming. Quickly he put the cigar behind his back and tried to be casual. Desperate to divert his father's attention, Norman pointed to a billboard advertising the circus.
"Can I go, Dad? Please, let's go when it comes to town."
His father's reply taught Norman a lesson he never forgot. "Son, he answered quietly but firmly, "never make a petition while at the same time trying to hide a smoldering disobedience." Kirk Russel.
i. Examples: offering, beginning of worship service, prayer meeting, football games, meals, family reunions, etc
1. Not a time to “catch up” on your prayer life!
2. Not a time to be “politically correct”
ii. But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; (Acts 16:25 NASB)
i. Examples: quiet time, driving, walking, resting, etc (Pray without ceasing!)
ii. In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there. (Mark 1:35 NASB)
iii. "Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Matthew 26:41 NASB)
II. Fasting (is always accompanied by praying)
i. Examples: groups of friends, Sunday school class, missions group, church, Association, State Convention, National Convention, world-wide movement
ii. Then all the sons of Israel and all the people went up and came to Bethel and wept; thus they remained there before the LORD and fasted that day until evening. And they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD. (Judges 20:26 NASB)
iii. While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. (Acts 13:2-3 NASB)
i. Examples: prayer for salvation, healing, or restoration of someone or something; or personal commitment, sacrifice, or repentance
ii. He said, "While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, 'Who knows, the LORD may be gracious to me, that the child may live.' "But now he has died; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me." (2 Samuel 12:22-23 NASB)
Invitation: Prayer and fasting are not devices in which to manipulate God into doing or getting what you want. It may very well be that in the midst of prayer and fasting, your prayer changes to match God’s will. God will NOT be manipulated! We pray and fast as tokens of our sincerity; “For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” (Psalms 51:16-17 NASB) Fasting with prayer brings about a broken and repentant heart.
[The audio of this sermon can be found here: http://sermon.net/rboyne/sermonid/1200043075]