Fasting and Prayer

Mark 9:29~ “And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.”  

The boy would foam at the mouth and grind his teeth. This evil spirit kept him from speaking and would violently throw him to the ground. His father watched helplessly as the disciples tried, but they couldn’t cast out this evil spirit that tortured him.

“Have mercy on us and help us, if you can,” said the boys father to Jesus. Since his son was a little boy, he would watch the evil spirit throw him into the fire or cast him into the water, trying to kill him.

What do you mean, ‘If I can?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief.”

Later that evening, the disciples were alone with Jesus in the house. They asked, “Why couldn’t we cast out that evil spirit?” Jesus replied, “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.”

Who or what is always on your mind? Is it a child, a parent, or your finances? Maybe it’s your own health or possibly your marriage.. We all have something or many things that keep us up at night. We have washed our hands of it a million times. Walked away thinking if it’s out of sight it’s out of mind. Begged and pleaded, maybe even bribed.  Nothing seems to work. We’ve done all we can do and still, no change..

Over the years, we have heard the desperation and angry cries. Some of them were our own. So, what do you do when you’ve done all that you can do? No doubt, this father was faced with the same dilemma. He must have taken his boy to the best doctor’s and maybe tried every organic remedy. Probably even walked away a time or two. “Let someone else deal with this, I can’t anymore!!” he may have said.

The disciples were even confused, they followed close to Jesus and did what He told them to, but still they failed. Why???

Some things, Jesus explained, require prayer AND fasting. There is something supernatural that happens when we couple the two and wait quietly. Now, don’t misunderstand. This isn’t a magic trick, every prayer is not immediately answered with a yes, there are times that we will walk a mile in prayer and see our loved ones take two steps in Jesus direction, then ten more back. I have seen the hardest of hearts be softened by prayer and fasting. In my own life, it was by prayer and fasting that Jesus saved my marriage. So, what does prayer and fasting look like? Here’s a suggestion.

Organize a plan:

  • When: Set aside a date to fast.
  • What: What will you be fasting? Food, activity, luxury? Be specific.
  • Purpose: Why are you fasting? What are you asking the Lord to do during this time of fasting?
  • Action: What Scriptures will you use as you fast? Will you pray these at the top of every hour or write them on index cards and pray during your lunch hour?
  • Length: How long or often will you fast? 24 hours? If you fast an activity like Facebook will you fast 7 days or if you indulge in sweets will you go 30 days with no sugar?

Fasting isn’t ancient or trivial. It does not require a level of holiness, only faith. If you believe that you can pray to Jesus and He will respond, then you can pray and fast. Maybe your faith is weak. If so, like the father in Mark, ask Jesus to help you overcome your unbelief. He is the King of all Kings, the Lord of all. Trust, ask, obey.

Till next time!

~Shana

 

 

 

 

What do you want Jesus to do for you?

Matthew 20:29-33 (ESV)

29 And as they went out of Jericho, a great crowd followed him. 30 And behold, there were two blind men sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” 31 The crowd rebuked them, telling them to be silent, but they cried out all the more, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” 32 And stopping, Jesus called them and said, “What do you want me to do for you?” 33 They said to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.”

I love to journal, I teach a workshop titled, “The Prayer Project”. About a handful of  years ago, I read Matthew 20:29-33  and I heard the Lord ask, “Shana, what do you want me to do for you?”

With my pen in hand and my journal open, I began to answer His question.

  • I want to know that the God that freed the Israelites from their bondage in Egypt, can set me free from the bondage in my life. (Exodus 13)
  • I want to know that the protection and the provision the Israelites received while in the wilderness, God would protect me and my family too. (Exodus 15 & 16)
  • I want to experience a parting of the Red Sea in my life and walk across dry land! (Exodus 14)
  • I want to experience God and see His hand in my life, just like they did in Scripture.

And just like that.. in the next breath, He began to show me.

Out of no where, those issues that I hadn’t dealt with, began to surface. It caused me to have anxiety and I became fearful. Jesus prompted me to take His Word and write it down on index cards. I posted them on my bathroom wall, in my car, I hole punched them and put them on rings so that I could pull them out while I was in the grocery store and needed to hear Him speak. As those written words began to transform me, the things that held me in bondage began to loosen and the cell door opened. I ran like my life depended on it, because it did.

My husband was a farmer, an active worker in our church and our town had just been destroyed by a tornado, he spent 16 hours a day helping others dig out our little town. Then it happened, he was in an accident that resulted in amputations and a vascular transplant. I was scared, how would he be able to provide for us like this? What will we do now?

We spent four years watching the Lord part Red Sea’s. We should have lost every material thing we had. The Lord provided for us in more ways than I can count. He provided for us financially, I’m not exaggerating when I say that we literally found money in our mailbox and when Roy was recovering, boxes of cleaning supplies and meals were brought to our porch. Our church gathered around us like we were their own children.

I experienced God and His hand in my life. Just like they did in Scripture.

I ask you now.. What do you want Jesus to do for you? When bad or tragic things happen in your life, know that He doesn’t cause them, but He does walk with you through them. He will show you who He is and how much He knows and cares about what you are going through.

Till next time!

~Shana

 

 

Desperate Prayer

What if you had the power to remove racial and social barriers? What would it be like if you could cure the issue of poverty in your towns and grant economic growth so that the financial needs of your community would be met? What if _________? You fill in the blank. Make a mental list of what you would change if you had the power.

You may be thinking, “That’s insanity to even assume I could do any of those things.” How can I even dream of such an impossibility?

We turn on the television and hear the issues in our world  but because no one can agree on a solution, it’s empty talk and empty promises that are not acted upon or fulfilled. We’re in trouble guys. We all know it. We all see it. We all look around and shake our heads in confusion and disbelief. We get angry and point the finger at our neighbor and our leaders. What can we do? Has it gone too far?

Many of our churches today are in decline and many of our leaders are burnt out. They suffer from high blood pressure, anxiety, and sleep deprivation; just to name a few. Families are falling apart at the kitchen table while the bills pile up and wages go down. We spend our days working on plans A, B, C, and D. Fearful that they all may fall through.. we’re scared, hopeless, and desperate for a solution.

We live in desperate times that call for desperate measures. Are you ready for the ultimate solution? Do you want to look at the issues above and face them with a fierce determination to change the world?

What if I could introduce you to someone that has the answer? This guy was a man of God that had the solution to all the problems we face today.

Stay with me.

I’d like you to meet David. He spent his life on the battlefield. David experienced fear and hopelessness like many of us today.

In I Samuel 21:12-22:1, David was in a predicament:

Saul was the King of Israel. He hated David and wanted to kill him. So, David bails. He runs off to the town of Gath where there was a King named Abimelech. He didn’t like David either. So David cooked up a plan to pretend he was crazy. Thankfully, back then they didn’t believe in killing crazy people so King Abimelech sent him away.

That was a close one right? David escaped death again. King Abimelech could of killed him.

But wait, what does David’s situation have to do with your situation or what we’re all going through right now?

Let’s jump over to Psalm 34..
Verses 1-4 say this:

“I will praise the Lord at all times.

I will constantly seek His praises.

I will boast only in the Lord;

let all who are helpless take heart.

Come, let us tell of the LORD’S greatness;

let us exalt His name together.

I prayed to the LORD, and He answered me.

He freed me from all my fears.”

 

David knew where to go when trouble came knocking. He was just like us, he would do some of the craziest things to escape disaster and he made lots of mistakes along the way, but this guy knew where his help came from.

There was only one thing to do, PRAY.

Our weapons we fight with are not weapons of the world. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5) We can take Scripture and begin to pray it over the situations in our lives. What if we, like David, call out to the LORD? Let’s turn our desperation into dangerous prayers.

David prayed to the LORD and He heard. The LORD not only heard, but He ANSWERED!!

We need answers to the problems we face today. Let’s go to the One that gives the answers. I heard Pastor James Merritt say, “The only prayer that goes unanswered is the one we didn’t pray.”

One more thing, David also said that the LORD freed him from all his fears. Who doesn’t want to be powerful instead of pitiful? There is no fear when we rest in the One that has the power to save us from it.

I’m praying for you today. I pray that you lean into your Bible and desperately call on the LORD. Skeptical that He will listen? Try it.. I am excited to hear your testimony on how the LORD responded.

Till next time!

~Shana