I've Got the Power... of Fasting and Prayer.

Power corrupts.  Just two words.  But the phrase has shaped my view of authority since I was a child.  Maybe it is because the lack of a good father figure in my life.  But I always have a tendency to be skeptical of those who have gained power.  I also have had an underlying fear of gaining power and even thought that desiring power is sinful. 

Yet the Bible teaches that as Believers we have power.  

  • Acts 1:8 - "But you will receive POWER when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." 
  • 2 Peter 1:3 - His divine POWER has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
  • Ephesians 3:16 - I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with POWER through his Spirit in your inner being,
  • Ephesians 3:20-21 - Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his POWER that is at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
  • Acts 6:5a,8 - This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit... Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and POWER, performed great wonders and signs among the people.
  • 1 Corinthians 4:20 - For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of POWER. 
  • 2 Corinthians 10:4 - The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine POWER to demolish strongholds.
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9 - But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
  • Acts 4:33 - With great POWER the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God's grace was so powerfully at work in them all
  • Romans 15:13 - May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the POWER of the Holy Spirit.

This is just a sample of 10 verses.  The noun of the greek word doo'-nam-is appears 120 times in the New Testament. The verb form of the same word appears 210 times.   The strong's definition of the noun states: 

1) strength power, ability 1a) inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth 1b) power for performing miracles 1c) moral power and excellence of soul 1d) the power and influence which belong to riches and wealth 1e) power and resources arising from numbers 1f) power consisting in or resting upon armies, forces, hosts

This is what God has given every single person who has trusted Christ as his Lord and Savior.  Of course we must guard our hearts from the evil desire to lord over people and make a great name for ourself.  But I think we also need to guard our hearts from being passive, powerless weak-willed Christians.  The only reason we do not make use of the powerful weapons of spiritual warfare that we have is that we often allow our doubt and sin to hold us back.  The only reason we walk in defeat to sin is we often believe lies about God and ourselves and don't pick up the Sword of Truth, The Word of God,  and to destroy those lies.  Perhaps there are things in our lives like reptile skin that needs to be shed so that we can burst forth and live a life filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.  Perhaps our potential for power is far greater but God has to expand our minds for we have put him in box in regards to what he could do in our lives.  

As I prepare my heart for a season of fasting and prayer, I believe God can purify my motives and prune my life so that I can handle greater spiritual power.  If my desire is to bring God greater glory by walking in His kingdom with his kingdom power, then I believe God will bring breakthroughs in my life during an extended season of fasting.  

Jesus said of his very own life that apart from the Father he could do nothing.  In John 5:30 Jesus said of himself these very shocking words: "By myself I can do nothing."   Jesus in his humanity lived a life that completely modeled how we can live.  He said the same of is true for his disciples in John 15:5:  "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."

So with this in mind I prepare my heart during a time of fasting.  I boldly am asking God for his "anointing" which I take to mean his empowering me for the work he has given me.  I am asking God for the power to do what he has called to me to do and to live the life he has called me to live.  Apart from him I am powerless.  I can do nothing.  But through the power of the Holy Spirit there is nothing impossible in my life as related to fulfilling the mission of making disciples that he  has given me.  

Jesus modeled this for us in his own fast.  

  • He was lead by the Spirit when he started his fast.  Matthew 4:1-2 states: "Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempteda by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry."
  • He was already filled with the Holy Spirit before he fasted.  Luke 4:1 states: "Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,"
  • He was full of the power of the Holy Spirit when he had finished fasting.   Luke 4:14 states: "Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside."

Notice that our Savior did not start his ministry without first spending 40 days in fasting and prayer.  It shows he complete dependence upon his Father and the Holy Spirit in all that he did.  He had no sinful desires to be stripped away.  He had no hinderance of the fall in hearing from His Father.  He really didn't have to be baptize and he did not need to repent.  But he lead by example.  And he really didn't need to fast to defeat the enemy.  But he lead by example.  And he defeated the strong temptation of the enemy while he was at a state of complete weakness.  Perhaps he was was showing us by example the path to greater spiritual power. 

I am not pursuing power for power's sake,  I just have to read the rebuke to sorcerer who wanted to by God's power to keep my guard up and cry out to the Lord to search my heart and create in me a clean heart.   But I do want to make a difference for God.  And I do know there are things in my life that hold back the full flow of God's power in my life.  And the greatest spiritual discipline I know to strip me of my own strength and bring to the surface all of my sinful weaknesses so that I can face them head on... that greatest discipline  for me is Fasting and Prayer.  

At the end of this fast, I want to be more like Stephen.... full of fatih, full of grace, full of the Holy Spirit, and full of power.  At the end of this fast, I want to be more like the Apostle Paul who didn't rely on eloquent talks but on the power of the Holy Spirit.  At the end of this fast I wasn't to seek Paul Prayer for the Ephesian believers to be fulfilled in me... to be strengthened with power through the Holy Spirit in my inner being.  At the end of this fast, I want to be ready to go to the next level as a leader making a difference for the glory of God.  

If the result of Jesus spending 40 days with his Father resulted in him not only being Spirit-filled and Spirit lead, but also Spirit-empowered... then perhaps I can walk out of the desert of fasting and praying with less of Dwayne and a greater manifestation of the divine power he has already given me.  

I've got the power.  May this season of Fasting and Prayer remove the limits that constrain his full power working in me.