LESSON 11 • Third Week
Fast And Pray
Background Reading: Devotional Reading:
1 Kings 17:20 - 21; Matthew Acts 27:21- 25 12:43 - 45; Mark 9:25 - 29
"Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting".
Matthew 17:21, KJV
"However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting."
Matthew 17:21, NKJV
When you get hit with a storm that literally rocks your world, you can have the wind knocked out of you. You can be thrown for a loop. You can be disoriented to the point that you don't know what to think, say or do. What do you do in that case? Learn another lesson from the Apostle Paul. Pray! Fast!
The key word in the lesson text is "abstinence." Paul abstained from food and probably drink. But he probably went a step further and abstained from talk. He abstained from talking to people, that is, and he went and talked to God.
This is what you have to do. Resist the temptation to go running to this person and that person. Everybody does not need to know your business. Some Saints just talk too much. They need to learn to be quiet. They need to learn how to go to God and talk to Him.
This does not mean that you should never seek counseling. "In the multitude of counsellors there is safety" (Prov. 11:14). But sometimes you need to let the Lord be your counselor. Sometimes you need to abstain from talking to people and have a little talk with Jesus.
One songwriter said,
"Now let us have a little talk with Jesus.
Let us tell him all about your troubles.
He will hear our faintest cry. He will answer by and by"
Oftentimes, the people you talk to have very little power to do anything about your situation. They didn't put you in the storm and they can't get you out of the storm. So what good does it do to talk to them?
Praying and fasting is not futile. It helps you to be cool, calm and collected in the midst of a storm. It enables you to keep a cool head while everyone else is losing theirs. It empowers you to hold your peace and be still. It disciplines you to shut your mouth and let the Lord do all the talking. In the process, you learn how to chill out and let the Lord work everything out.
Romans 8:28 is still in the Bible and it still says that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose. If you believe that, act like it! If you believe that, stop running around like a chicken with its head cut off. If you really believe that God is working things together for your good, then there is no need to fret. There is no need to panic. Trust that God is going to help you to navigate this storm whether the storm stops or not.
You may think the storm has to stop for you to survive it. But that is not true! God can bless you in the midst of the storm. If He does not deliver you from it, He can keep you in it. He can see you successfully through it. As a matter of fact, God would not bring you to it, if He couldn't bring you through it!
Read Mark 4:35-41. When the disciples were in their storm, Jesus was on board. They had enough sense to go to Him. They didn't have a board meeting to discuss the matter. Their lives were on the line. So they went to Jesus and asked if He cared that they were perishing. They asked the wrong question, but at least they were talking to the right person. Jesus was the one person on board who could do something about their situation. Of course, He did do something about it.
And He will do something about your stormy situation. Now He might not do what you want him to do. You may want Him to rebuke the storm. You might want Him to stop the storm or make the storm go away. He can do that! But that's not what He did for Paul. In Paul's case, He let the storm run its course.
This is what might happen with you. The Lord might let the storm run its course. The Lord might NOT speak to the storm and say, "Peace, be still." He might speak to YOU and tell YOU to be at peace. He might tell YOU to be still. He might let the storm run its course while you learn to be at rest in the midst of it all.
Do you think that prayer and fasting has become old fashioned? Do the Saints today pray and fast like the Saints did in the past?
What do you think about abstinence from talking? Do you think this would be a good idea? Would it be a good idea to go on a fast from conversation while you are on a fast from food?
What do you know about the power of fasting? What has it done for you? What difference has it made in your life?
Read Mark 4:35-41 again. It was nice that the disciples went to Jesus and talked to Him. But based on His response to them, do you get the idea that they should have spoken to the storm?
What do you think about this whole notion of you being at peace in the midst of storms? Is this possible? If so, what good will it do?
Essential thought- "Fasting from talking too much is a good way to discipline oneself."
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