The Word, Prayer & Fasting
By Sara Castellanos
The Word is so important! That is where our inheritance is found. My destiny and future are found in the sacred pages of the Word of God. I have come to understand that everything I need is in this book; the provision of God for His children is in the Word.
God gave Joshua a promise that defined the direction of his life and his entire nation: Joshua 1:8, “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.Then you will be prosperous and successful.”
We hold in our hands the key to success in every area of our lives, and that is: the Word of God!
The promise God gave to Joshua was: “Then you will be prosperous and successful.” But how can we achieve this? We find three principles in the verse that we could summarise as:
PROCESS + PROCLAIM + PRACTICE
In other words, the conditions required for receiving the promise provide a simple formula (P+P+P):
- Process the Word (the right kind of meditation).
- Proclaim the Word (the right kind of declaration from our lips)
- Practice the Word (do what is right).
The Lord longs to bless us greatly.Therefore, we need to reflect on the Word, confess the Word, and act based on the Word. God will speak to you every time you enter to study the Bible, but it is also necessary to meditate, declare and act on the Word at all times.
How do we study the word?
You will need:
- Your own Bible (preferably one you can highlight).
- A notebook, specifically for your devotionals.
You can write down everything God speaks to you from His Word in your notebook. Focus on:
Promises: There are over 3000 promises in the Bible that are yours as an inheritance. It is vital that you write them down when God gives them to you. It is also important that you write down whether the fulfilment of the promise depends on you meeting certain conditions.
Commands: God is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. No one has more authority than Him. If He asks you to do something, the best thing you can do is obey.
Examples: Is there an example in the passage you should follow? Or a negative example you should avoid?
Application: It is possible you will need to make changes in your life according to what God shows you.This is the section where you can write down concrete things you will start to do immediately. It is good to look back over what you have written in this section as often as possible, so that you can check you are doing what you have committed to do.
The importance of confession
Reflecting on the Word is essential but not exclusive. Proclaiming the Word is also very important. As I prayed, God began to show me the power of the spoken Word, so we’re actually going to memorize the word each day.
I recently finished reading the incredible true story of Brother Yun, a Chinese Christian, in his amazing book: “The Heavenly Man” (totally recommended!). He tells the story of how his life with God began. When he was 17 years old, God placed it in his heart to memorize one chapter per day! Brother Yun memorized the entire gospel of Matthew in 28 days!
Be encouraged! If Brother Yun was able to learn one chapter every day, we can learn a few verses!
Romans 10:8-9, “But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
There is a powerful connection between what I confess with my mouth and the conviction I have in my heart. When I make a right confession, I humble myself and place my own: I think, I feel, I want to one side. What begins in my mouth then becomes a reality in my heart.
Although you may not understand some of the verses at first, as you repeat them, and declare them again and again, they will move from being a simple declaration to become true conviction.
You will be astounded at how much God speaks to you. But remember the correct formula:
PROCESS THE WORD
PROCLAIM THE WORD
PRACTICE TO THE WORD
I am convinced that God will speak. What is important is that you obey.
Prayer is not something I use to make God do what I want. It is a resource God uses to help me become His chosen instrument. When I understand this, I not only begin to love prayer more, I also begin to receive the answer to my prayers.
We need to understand that the Father is waiting for us to come back to Him in prayer, not to tell us off or to make us feel guilty, but to receive us in His arms of love.
The gospel of Luke gives us a beautiful image of how the Father was earnestly waiting for his lost son to come home:
Luke 15:21, “And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.”
Maybe days, weeks or even months have passed since you last spent time in prayer. The good news is that your Father is waiting for you with open arms! He accepts you just as you are, but He won’t leave you that way.
The Word often shows us that the will of God is that we pray and receive the answer to our prayers:
Matthew 21:22, “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith."
Mark 11:24, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
Matthew 7:7-8, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
John 14:13-14, “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”
You get the message! Our prayers can be answered! But we need to learn to pray.
Hebrews 5:7, “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.”
Jesus’ offering was: prayers and petitions. I am struck by the last part of the verse: “he was heard because of his reverent submission.”
What was Jesus’ prayer in the garden of Gethsemane?
Matthew 26:39, “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
This reverent submission, mentioned by the writer to the Hebrews, is an attitude of surrender. As we draw close to God in prayer, we should say, “Not my will, but Yours be done.”
When I pray this prayer, I am surrendering my old nature. When I say, “Your will be done,” I am receiving a new nature altogether. Prayer becomes a powerful weapon when I learn to leave my own ego aside.
When we surrender our will in prayer, we should remember three things that will help us:
GOD LOVES ME MORE THAN I LOVE MYSELF!
GOD UNDERSTANDS ME MORE THAN I UNDERSTAND MYSELF!
GOD WANTS THE BEST FOR ME!
Jesus received an answer to all His prayers because He always came to the Father in reverent submission. I know that your prayer life will be powerfully transformed, and that you will begin to reign through prayer.
Fasting is a spiritual weapon the Lord has given us. It involves laying aside our human strength to move in supernatural strength.
Humbling ourselves before God
When we decide to fast, we are humbling ourselves before the Presence of God. It is interesting that most times the Bible mentions fasting, it says those who fasted dressed in sackcloth and sprinkled dust on their heads. Remember that man was made from the dust of the earth. When we fast, we are returning to that fragile state, telling the Lord, “It is impossible in our own strength, but we return to You who formed us, we recognise that we are dust and ashes, and that only You have the power to transform our situation.”
Nehemiah 9:1-3, “On the twenty-fourth day of the same month, the Israelites gathered together, fasting and wearing sackcloth and putting dust on their heads.Those of Israelite descent had separated themselves from all foreigners.They stood in their places and confessed their sins and the sins of their ancestors.They stood where they were and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day, and spent another quarter in confession and in worshiping the Lord their God.”
According to Scripture, the people of Israel also did something else: they separated themselves from all outsiders. During this time of fasting, there was a separation from the external things of the world. Fasting is a time of separation from everything that could contaminate us in this world: music, television, movies, internet, etc.
During fasting, I am not only abstaining from food. I am also separating myself from everything else - including unhelpful friendships - to be able to hear God. What happens if there is no separation? Our ears are blocked and we will be unable to hear His voice.
Believe me when I say that fasting will completely change your life!
Tips for fasting
The Holy Spirit guides each person about how they should fast and for how long.
Duration: variable from a day a week, or for 3 days in a row or for a longer period
This is a fast where you abstain from all kinds of food and only drink water. You should make sure you drink a lot of water to avoid dehydration. The amount of water depends on the metabolism of each person, the climate and daily activities. Normally being thirsty or having a dry throat, lips or skin are symptoms of dehydration. If this happens to you, you need to drink more water.
Keep in mind that a large part of the energy you obtain from food is used to maintain your body temperature, so wear warm clothing. You could drink herbal tea if you are feeling cold, or even stock (just liquid) if you are feeling very weak. Don’t drink anything with caffeine or high energy drinks.
You may want to also consult your doctor before attempting this type of fast.
This is a fast where you abstain from all kinds of food and drink, except water. It is different from the total fast because you only fast for part of the day.You can fast until 6PM, until 3PM, until 12PM or from sunrise to sunset.
Don’t trick yourself by eating more food in the afternoon/ evening than you normally would so that you won’t feel hungry the next day. Try to just eat something light or what you would normally eat.
This fast lasts all day (like the total fast), but you can eat certain kinds of food. Foods like fruits and vegetables, liquids like herbal teas or natural juices.
Do this alongside one of the other fasts already explained. On some occasions, the Holy Spirit will guide you to give up a specific food or something other than food for a time, for example: makeup, Facebook, television, football, video games, etc.