Since our church is setting aside this Thursday, December 15, as a day of fasting and prayer, this week's 'thought' has to do with fasting and prayer. I know its the season for celebration, parties and feasting, but as a church we felt led to spend a day fasting and seeking God in prayer. Any who can, or would like to join us in that endeavor, are more than welcome to do so.
Therefore, since prayer is our church's focus for this week, I wanted to send out some thoughts on prayer and one on fasting by various Christian authors. I hope they will encourage you in your pursuit of claiming what E. M. Bounds calls, our "immeasurable inheritance." Enjoy.
"None can believe how powerful prayer is, and what it is able to effect, but those who have learned it by experience." Martin Luther
"Faith is the essential quality in the heart of any person who desires to communicate with God. He must believe and stretch out the hand of faith for that which he cannot see or prove. Prayer is actually faith claiming and taking hold of its immeasurable inheritance... Moreover, when faith ceases to pray it ceases to live.
Faith does the impossible because it lets God undertake for us, and nothing is impossible with God... Only God can move mountains, but faith and prayer move God... Faith in Christ is the basis of all working and all praying. All wonderful works depend on wonderful praying, and all praying is done in the name of Jesus Christ... All other conditions are of little value. Everything else is given up except Jesus. The name of Christ -- the Person of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ -- must be supremely sovereign in the hour of prayer." E. M. Bounds
"The first thing Jesus teaches His disciples is that they must have a secret place of prayer. Jesus says, 'And when you pray, go into your closet..." Every one must have a solitary spot where he can be alone with his God... That spot may be anywhere. It may change from day to day if we have to change our abode... There alone, but there most surely, Jesus comes to us to teach us to pray... The first thing in this closet-prayer is: I must meet my Father. The light that shines in the closet must be the light of the Father's countenance. The fresh air from heaven with which Jesus would have it filled, the atmosphere in which I am to breathe and pray, is God's Father-love, God's infinite Fatherliness. Thus each thought or petition we breathe out will be simple, hearty, childlike trust in the Father. This is how the Master teaches us to pray. He brings us into the Father's living presence." Andrew Murray
"Upright Christians pray without ceasing. Though they pray not always with their mouths, yet their hearts pray continually, whether asleep or awake, for the sigh of the true Christian is a prayer." Martin Luther
"The power of the Church to truly bless rests on intercession -- asking and receiving heavenly gifts to carry to men. Because this is so, it is no wonder that where we put our trust in our own diligence and effort, and work more than pray, the presence and power of God are not seen in our work as we would wish... It is difficult to conceive how much we ourselves and the Church will gain if, with our whole heart, we accept the post of honor God is offering us when He calls us to the ministry of intercession." Andrew Murray
"We live is a day characterized by the multiplication of man's machinery and the diminution of God's power. The great cry of our day is work, work, work; organize, organize, organize; give us some new society, tell us some new methods, devise some new machinery. But the great need of our day is prayer, more prayer and better prayer." R. A. Torrey
"Prayer is not overcoming God's reluctance, it is laying hold of God's willingness." Richard Trench
"'There are moments when, whatever be the attitude or position of the body, the soul is on its knees.' Prayer, then, is an attitude of the heart that humbles itself before the living God, silently declaring to Him, 'I Need Thee." Victor Hugo / Dick Eastman
"The heart of an effective witness is devotion to Jesus Christ. This devotion finds its greatest expression in prayer. It is kept alive through the continual practice of prayer." William Krutza
"In Ephesians 3:20, Paul seeks to express the inexhaustible potential of prayer: "Now to Him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think, according to the power that is at work in us." The power that works in and through our prayers is the Holy Spirit... There is indeed only one limit to God's omnipotence and that is God's eternal righteousness. Fasting will never change the righteous standards of God. If something is outside the will of God, fasting will never put it inside the will of God. If it is wrong and sinful, it is still wrong and sinful no matter how long a person may fast.
There is an example of this in II Samuel chapter 12. David committed adultery. Out of this a child born. God said that part of the judgment was that the child would die. David fasted for seven days, but the child still died. Fasting seven days did not change God's righteous judgment on David's sinful act. If a thing is wrong, fasting will not make it right. Nothing will do that. Fasting is neither a gimmick nor a cure-all. God does not deal in such things. God has made full provision for the total well-being of His people in every area of their lives -- spiritual, physical and material. Fasting is one part of this total provision. Fasting is not a substitute for any other part of God's provision. Conversely, no other part of God's provision is a substitute for fasting." Derek Prince
May the Master, as Murray states, "teach us to pray" and "bring us into the Father's living presence."