The lifestyle of prayer and fasting was and still remains part of traditional Jewish faith. For example, Yom Kippur is another name for the Day of Atonement and part of the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles. As one of the most important days of the Jewish year, prayer and fasting is practiced as a means of repentance. What this tells us is that prayer and fasting was as important to the spirituality of the Jew as any other discipline. It was used to challenge the depth of a person’s spiritual strength and evaluate where they found their treasure. That is why Jesus would say, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Mt 6:21).
Its how Jesus would have defined maturity. We see the Son of God grow in strength and favor with God and man as He maintained a sensitivity to the voice of God and the anointing of the Holy Spirit. We must adopt the same disciplines if we want to deepen our spirit and impact our world.
A lifestyle of Prayer and Fasting does 3 things well…
- Deepens our roots in the discipline of faith (Acts 10:30)
- Deepens our strength in the battles we endure (2 Cor 10:3-6)
- Deepens our discernment in the spiritual realm (Acts 13:2)
Let’s take this thought one step further. A church’s greatest treasure is its deep people. I know recent church growth manuals emphasize seekers, young people and programs, but more than any other issue… depth matters! A healthy church is a growing church, yet if there is no core of deep people, its in trouble no matter how big it becomes.
Deep people do not just happen; they are cultivated and nurtured by a lifestyle of commitment to maturity. Spiritual depth is nurtured with the oversight of the Holy Spirit… from glory to glory (2 Cor 3:17-18). Maturity must be understood much like a farmer would understand his crop. Unless the seeds of faith are planted deeply, fertilized and nurtured, those seeds will not produce the type of harvest desired. Good farmers define their harvest by its fruitful plants not by its beautiful field. A strong harvest relies upon deep roots and strong plants.
Prayer and Fasting deepens the believing heart for larger people and larger Kingdom impact. Its time that we lift up out eyes and begin to see the harvest (Jn 4:35).
“Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” (Heb. 3:15)
When the Word of God breaks in… it creates pathways for faith and advancement!
Recently I have been feeling the need to hear the Word of God on a completely different level. I want to hear with a depth of understanding that delivers and restores and brings revival to my heart. God’s Words offer supernatural impact to the soul of a man, because it shatters misconceptions. Jesus said, “truth will set you free!” Truth is who Jesus is! Truth is reality from God’s perspective! Knowing Him and allowing His voice to resonate in our mind will consistently change the way we see and think. There is nothing too big or too difficult for the Word of God to clarify and “shatter like a rock”… as Jeremiah says in the above verse. But it must first… break in to do it!
God Still Speaks Today!
He said, I AM the Lord your God, I change not! Faith is so important, because it gives us the ears to hear the voice of God. Faith is the most potent force in the entire universe. According to the Bible; taking God seriously by believing His Promises, provides: “power, riches, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, and blessing” (Rev. 5:12)… all of this comes through the breaking in of the Word of God.
God’s Voice Rests in His Words:
God’s voice carries weight. From thunder and lightning (2 Sam. 22:14) to the sound of His whisper (1 Ki. 19:12)… God’s voice is mighty. It makes the wilderness shake, breaks the cedars and calls the chaotic into order. God speaks and power is released… things are created, re-created, mobilized or stilled. It was His Word that He sent to heal the sick (Ps. 107:20), His voice that made the deer give birth (Ps. 29:9) and the recognition of His Name that raised Lazarus from the dead (Jn. 11:43). We must realize that every time God’s voice is heard something shifts in the atmosphere of both heaven and earth… purpose flows forth and power is released. Its as significant as when God commanded the Sun to stand still for Joshua (Josh. 10:12-13), decreed a healing for a Centurion’s servant (Mt. 8:8) or compelled a storm to become calm with just one word – “Peace” (Mk. 4:39). What makes His voice carry such weight is His Authority! He rules the universe at the sound of His voice and holds all things together; from the grandest mountain range to the smallest molecule, by the word of His power.
How does God Speak to Us Today?
- He speaks directly: As He spoke with Abram! (Gen. 12:1-3) “Come out of your father’s house, to a land that I will show you”
- He speaks through Scripture: As He spoke to Isaiah! (Isa. 34:16) “Search from the Book of the Lord and read…”
- He speaks through His Spirit: As He spoke to the waiting Disciples! (Acts 2:4) “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance”.
- He speaks as we minister to Him: As He spoke into the Early Church leaders! (Acts 13:2) “As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said…”
Jesus assures us; that as the Holy Spirit had spoken to Him, so also the Holy Spirit would speak the will and purposes of God to us… if we would be willing to listen: “He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. …All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.” (Jn. 16:12-15)
The Apostle Peter tells us that believers have obtained a “like precious faith” (2 Pet. 1:1-4) …the same kind of faith that is alive in all who have trusted in Jesus. Faith offers supernatural grace and possibility to human frailty. These “faith people” are empowered with divine knowledge and become partakers of a divine nature. How? Through the Word of God that breaks in… past doubt and unbelief and lands upon the hearing ear and the receptive heart!
Jesus looked at our weakness and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible!” (Mt. 19:26). By receiving, believing and declaring the Word of God over all that pertains to life and godliness – we walk in a victory given by God. We see the mountains fall, the valleys raised up and the impossibilities achieved… because of precious faith. There is power in God’s promises and there are Kingdom advancements made available by the works He has accomplished in Jesus!
And all we have to do is be found trusting, and the Words that break in; become activated… like “fire” or a “hammer” in our lives.
There is something wonderful and compelling in this invitation by Jesus. His encounter with a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well carries with it one profound timeless truth – the gift of God is “living water”. Still today, “Living Water” is the most timeless gift of God!
I have found myself imagining this story, as so many searching and thirsty people; drink from one broken cistern to another, only to find the wells have all gone dry and ignorance is not bliss. It never occurred to her that lifestyle choices were leaving her dry… this woman’s ignorance of truth left her in bondage and prevented her from finding her way. She was more aware of her religious tradition than her moral conduct… in other words – she was lost!
Her story is being repeated a billion times over in our world today. Tragic and unnecessary… thirsty people remain at broken cisterns. Yet the ultimate challenge for the Church, is to offer a Kingdom Culture that is deep and lasting… like a well of living water. We are called to be a life giving stream from the well of living water.
Called to be… “A life giving stream from the well of living water.”
Let’s understand that meeting at Jacob’s Well is no guarantee that you and I can deliver the same message that Jesus gave her. We can talk a good talk and even shout and dance with the best of intentions, but to deliver and impart to others requires an anointing from the Holy Spirit. We need a touch from God… our own timeless gift. We cannot give what we are not experiencing!
Let the Rivers Flow:
There is Good News, however – if we are drinking of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:12-13) and overflowing with the life that Jesus promised, then out of our bellies will flow rivers of living water (Jn. 7:37-39). We must drink deeply from the well to produce the kind of joy the world needs to see!
So jump in and go deep… let the river flow!
When God speaks a Word over your life, He watches over it until the time of its fulfillment. In this prophetic season many are nurturing promise given to them by God years ago. It is time to bring these out again and, together with the Holy Spirit, keep watch over them. That’s how we partner with the Holy Spirit in the fulfillment of God’s prophetic Word to us.
Prophetic Means Activated:
God’s Word is living and active (Heb. 4:12). It is a moving, living resource activated by the authority of God, because it is spoken by His living breath, the Spirit of God or Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul confirms this by saying, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God (meaning it is God-breathed), and is profitable (beneficial) for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete and thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
The “Now” of God’s Word:
Notice he says “The Scripture is God-breathed”; not, “was God-breathed”. Its a current Word! God’s Word always is in the “Now”. It is being carried upon God’s breath. What He spoke in years gone by is still being spoken. Not a single Word is lost or forgotten.
Every Word has a Timing:
God says He is watching over the Word He has given you: “I am watching over it; like a hen broods over her eggs”. The Hebrew word is shaqad which means “to be alert, to be awake, to be on the lookout”. The purpose of the Word was to release destiny and increase favor. We must become alert and join the watch with Him (Ezek. 3:17-19); interceding in prayer concerning the Word He has spoken over us. We watch with Him in faith, believing that what God has said He has power to fulfill. Every Word of God carries within it the power and authority intended for its fulfillment, because our God is watching to perform it at its appointed time. He will never let His Word fall to the ground.
Awaken the Promise:
God has not forgotten! Have you heard a Word from the Lord today, maybe recently, or perhaps in the midst of a season in the wilderness? God has not forgotten what He said to you. It is time to bring that Word before Him and hold onto it with complete confidence that what He has promised He will bring it to its ultimate fulfillment.
“But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.” (1 Cor. 2:10-12)
When you and I release the Holy Spirit to brood over our lives… something is bound to happen! The Bible calls these spiritual activities… miracles or signs & wonders. They are “manifestations of God by the Spirit”. God wants to offer His Children revelation knowledge… Truth that will release freedom in the unseen realms. This insight and foresight gives the ability to discern the heart of God and make effective decisions and advance the Kingdom of God into Earthly circumstances.
A “manifestation” is not the creation of anything, it is simply the moving of spiritual substance – “grace”/divine favor – from one dimension to another (vision, healing, salvation… etc.). When we are given a spiritual revelation from the Holy Spirit, it is not the creation of something new, but the awareness of something unseen with natural perception. It is the light bulb in the room from the Holy Spirit, and when turned on; it reveals everything that was in the room… that in “darkness” we could not see or understand.
Effective Fervent Prayer: (James 5:16-18)
We need to be confident in living by spiritual revelation and manifestations, because they are the foundation to an effective prayer life. Prayer is not twisting God’s arm to our agenda, it is the twisting of our mind to His (1 Cor. 2:16). Thinking as God and seeing what He sees, means we need to change the way we see and hear natural realities. Jesus said that nothing would be impossible to those who believe… that they would experience His Glory and shift reality to conform to His purpose and “will”. When we properly understand and operate in prayer, God brings revelation to us of everything He has finished in the spiritual dimension. A manifestation translates or moves spiritual things into the “earth realm”… as it is in the “heavenly realm” (Mt. 6:10). God didn’t call you the day of your salvation, for He had already chosen you from before the foundation of creation. You realized your purpose and calling as revelation came into your heart and mind… Holy Spirit just turned on the light! His work was complete… but He simply lifted the veil for you to see what was already there from before the foundation of the world… hidden for you to find. All you need to do is – love Him!