Devoted to prayer

prayer-401401_640Romans 12:12: Rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer.

What you are devoted to, you give it your best, your best shot, and you do not allow yourself any excuse.

There are certain things that when added to prayer, shows you are devoted to it: Fasting and time.

Fasting

When fasting is added to prayer then you are stepping it up a notch. With fasting you afflict the soul (Isaiah 58:5), and set the spirit in you lose.

The soul stands for your natural life, while the spirit, your spiritual life (1Thessalonians 5:23). When Jesus said that the flesh his weak but the spirit is willing (Mark 14:32-40), it was because the natural pull of sleep had overwhelmed the disciples, and they could not watch in prayer with Jesus. Their fleshly life domiciled in their soul was weak too weak it becomes a drag on the spirit not be able to soar in prayer.

But with fasting the soul “shed” some weight, it becomes lighter and nimbler. And though the flesh is always weak but the impact of its weakness in the dynamics of the soul and spirit is reduced, then the fullness of the spirit is expressed.

The bible says that we do not know how to pray as we ought, so the Holy Spirit helps our infirmity (Romans 8:26). The operation of the Holy Spirit in us is on the platform of our renewed spirit, which we have because we are born again, even the help he gives for our infirmity.

With fasting we passively cooperate with the work of the Holy Spirit in our life as we tacitly reject the operation of the flesh, the two being in opposition.

Fasting is an act of humility, it is a form of self-depreciation, self-humbling, with a specific reference to the soul (Psalm 35:13).

The bible says humble your“self” under the mighty hand of God and he will lift you (1Peter 5:6), and in the context of this discuss, it means you will soar in the realm of prayer. And bible says: God resist the proud and give grace to the humble (James 4:6), meaning that if I humble myself in fasting, I get more grace to pray, since prayer is a spiritual activity which responds to grace from heaven in divine empowerment. So if I seek to take prayer serious, it means I need to take fasting serious.

To reject natural food is to open yourself up to spiritual food (Luke 4:4), which will enable you to go further. Remember what the effect of eating food brought but angels did to Elijah (1Kings 18)? He was able to go for forty days to have a resounding encounter with God on Mount Horeb. Jesus was in the wilderness fasting for forty days, and at the end, he returned with power to shake a whole nation (Luke 4:1-2, 14).

And since prayer is associated with both power and encounter with God, and from the life of Jesus and Elijah, fasting led to the two experiences, it means that when fasting is mixed with prayer, the expression of the power of God and our encounter with God is enhanced.

Before the Paul and Barnabas were sent on the mission to the gentile, a group of prophets and teachers ministered to the lord and fasted, being in a collective time of fellowship (Acts 13:1-3). And from that time came forth a major move of God and when they (Paul and Barnabas) appointed elders in the church they founded with prayer and fasting, to carry on the work (Acts 14:23).

Time

Do not be deceived, time is part of prayer, or else the bible would not tell us that Jesus prayed all night, or that he asked the disciples while he was in agony in the garden of gethsemane, that why were they not to be able to wait with him for one hour, being a segment of the day.

When prayer is seen as relationship and not just an obligation, then you’ll realise that time is everything. Prayer is an appointment with God, which is why Jesus said when we pray we should go to our closet and the God who sees you in secret will reward us in public (Matthew 6:6).

Jesus takes prayer seriously and said: my father’s house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations (John 2:14-17). He said that when he saw many people in the temple occupying spaces, making riches for themselves, neglecting to be rich towards God.  Buying and selling was taking place there but he declared that the “spaces” should be given to prayer. There should be no distraction away from the prayer-purpose of the church.

We exist in a huge time-space continuum. Understand that the earth is moving right now around the sun and the sun is also moving, so that you never exist in the same time-space location twice ever, as the universe is constantly expanding.

You can sit in your house, but all the time the universal space you occupy is changing. The challenge is to maximise each time-space. Each time-space is like a gigantic recorder of event. Paul said that we should redeem the time because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:16), it is devotion time to the right things.

Devotion is measured in time, or it is not measured at all. The house of God is called the house of prayer and when you understand that you are that house (1Corinthians 3:16), then you will realise that you are called to spend time in prayer.

It is not the house of prayer if the most time consuming activity there is not prayer. Time exposes your priority of prayer or lack of it.

Elijah took some time to pray before the rain came falling down on Israel, after years of dryness (1Kings 18:41-46).

Though God had given the word, it was left for Elijah to give the time in the place of prayer. He was bent over in prayer, and would not stop until there is a change in heaven. It was no cosy prayer, he was kneeling on a mountain. He disregarded his comfort and was committed to the will of God in the place of prayer, giving it everything it takes (James 5:15-18).

He went to the place of prayer with a divine word and he did not leave until he experienced the manifestation in prayer. It is in prayer that we cooperate with the will of God on the earth, where we say that to him: let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:9-10).

So, we invest time in prayer to reap the harvest of the will of God, the good, acceptable, perfect will of God all around us (Romans 12:1-2). And we pray: oh that you will rend the heavens and come down that the mountains may flow at your presence (Isaiah 64:1).

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