Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, “a three chord strand is not easily broken.” Today, we want to examine “When You Pray, When You Fast, and When You Give,” these are the tools to win in life! Jesus said “WHEN you pray, fast and give, Your Father will reward (or deliver) you!”
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Matthew 6:1-19 (NIV), “Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
God declares when we give, pray and fast He will reward us! Reward (Greek) means, “deliver; give again; re-pay; payment be made; recompense; restore; give away – give back.” God gives us tools to win in life:
- They equip us for our Christian walk..
- to live victoriously through Christ Jesus…
Hebrews 13:20-21 (NIV), “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
In other words, the kingdom of God comes to earth where everything has forced compliance by the power of prayer to superimpose the determination, purpose, decision and choice of God. What has been FIXED in heaven- you are responsible to super-impose here in earth by prayer.
- PRAYER IS THE VEHICLE TO BRING GODS WILL TO PASS IN THE EARTH
- YOU MUST KNOW THAT GOD HEARS YOU WHEN YOU PRAY
1 Peter 3:12 (NIV), “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
- YOU MUST PRAY TO THE FATHER IN THE NAME OF JESUS
John 16:23,24, “And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say to you. Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it to you.”
- YOU MUST PRAY THE WORD OF GOD
His Word is His Will… As believers your prayer life MUST be built and based on His WORD! Isaiah 55:11 (KJV), “So shall my word be thand it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” I specifically want us to learn to use the tool of prayer that (2 Cor 10:4) says; Have Divine Power To Demolish Strongholds:
- 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 (NIV), “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds”.
In Genesis 1:28 God gave 5 authoritative commands:
- Be fruitful
- Replenish the earth
- Subdue it
- Have dominion
We find in Psalm 8:5 Man has been crowned with Glory, Honor and Dominion.
There are Benefits and Blessings (Rewards) of Fasting. One of those is to loose the bands of wickedness (Isaiah 58:6); freeing ourselves and others from addictions to sin. A significant reason to fast is it releases people from bondages of sin, strongholds. Besetting sins are not common sins of neglect or rebellion, where God says: “Thou shalt not…” and person says: “I will”.
Any sin that can’t be broken with ordinary “willpower” can be termed a besetting sin. Besetting sins are habitual sinful behaviors or attitudes that victimize and enslave people. They make you a slave and take away your will. Maybe you love God, but feel trapped. Cry out, “I can’t help myself.”
- Sexual addictions/affair
- Overspending/Debt; Shop-a-holic
- Depression, suicidal tendencies.
The Apostles tried unsuccessfully to deal with such a sin in a demonized boy. Jesus taught them, Matthew 17:21, “This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” “Goeth out” means, you fast repeatedly until you get a breakthrough. The verb action in original language is “continuous.” Jesus meant we should continually fast to get power over “besetting sins”. He taught Yes, it takes faith…but complete deliverance from this type of stronghold- faith and fasting.
Matthew 6:25-34, “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought (Hebrew word = Don’t be anxiously careful) for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”God tells us in His Word to SEEK, which by implication means “To Worship”. Worship means, “To build a life that denotes His worth, honor & reverence.”
“First” (Greek word) means, “Foremost or first in time, place & order of importance.” The Kingdom of God is “Who God is & His WAY of doing things.” The more we know about God, the stronger our faith becomes! We MUST make HIS PRESENCE our PRIORITY. He has a method of operation or Divine Patterns, which are “An accurate order & arrangement of things.” When something is arranged It is put into a proper, systematic order. That order for the kingdom of God is in all things!