Mark spoke about prayer and fasting tonight, in preparation for the month of prayer and fasting starting in January.
Prayer is the spiritual battlefield which determines whether what we do in the physical realm is successful or not. Prayer involves pouring out our hearts before God, praising Him, asking Him for things we need and (often forgotten!) listening to God.
When we fast, we show God our willingness to be aligned with His will. Fasting is not about forcing God to do something or twisting His arm, but is an indication of our submission to Him and reflects our need to be involved in what God is doing. Isaiah 58 gives us details about the motivation behind fasting. Matthew 6:16-18 also reflects how we should fast: not putting on any outward show, carrying on as normal, not needing man’s approval because this is between us and God (“don’t brag or nag about it.”)
Proverbs 3:5-6 shows us that God wants us to be whole-hearted in our devotion and obedience. As we pray for direction, understanding and spiritual wisdom, we need to :
1) Trust in the Lord with all our heart
The first step is to trust God unreservedly – with our hopes, dreams, ambitions, plans… with our whole life. We have to ‘let go’ and allow God to be in control. That involves not relying on our own understanding, but being willing to lay aside all the reasons we can come up with for doing things differently and actually obey God. We have to accept that our limited view is obscured, whereas God sees everything and knows best.
2) Acknowledge God in all our ways
This means knowing God intimately and being prepared for that direct contact with God to influence our daily paths (the steps we take every day). God promises to direct (or make straight) our paths. The bumps and bends that may lie ahead will be straightened out by God, the God who promises that before we call, He will answer (Is 65:24).
Prayer and fasting become ‘the blessing bringers’. We concluded the service by praying, thanking God for all He has done this year, including the provision of finance to support community work and many improvements to the building and the work done jointly with other local churches, and praying for His direction and leading in the year to come.
We also had a birthday to celebrate: