Prepare for Prayer
But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray. Luke 5:16
The theme for this week’s 7 Days of Prayer and Fasting is the same as our current sermon series, “Devote Yourselves to Prayer.” Colossians 4:2 says, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” The truth embedded in this verse is a call to God’s people to devote the whole of our lives to prayer — in purposeful and perpetual communion with God. This is exactly how Jesus prayed and lived, and may it be our joy to follow our Lord in His life of prayer.
The focus for today is preparation. Let’s begin with the preparation of our hearts. How do you feel about this invitation to devote your whole life to prayer? What immediate thoughts go through your mind about praying like Jesus?
The Bible shows us some of Jesus’ constant prayer habits:
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mark 1:35
After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. Matthew 14:23
During those days he went out to the mountain to pray and spent all night in prayer to God. Luke 6:12
So, again, what are your immediate reactions when you think about building a prayer life like Jesus?
Whatever the feeling or thought, start with that in prayer today. Share your initial reactions with God and open your heart to hearing what God wants to say to you especially.
Here are a few more practically-aimed questions to help you prepare for this week:
- Do you have a place to slip away to pray? If not, start making a list of spots or places you can go for this very purpose.
- Do you have time(s) to dedicate to meet with God alone? Again, be intentional about this and schedule it as you would anyone else.
- If you plan to fast this week, what is the purpose of your fast? Throughout Scripture people devoted themselves to prayer and fasting with expectancy for God to speak and reveal His will. They would deny the cravings of the flesh for a greater need of the Spirit. It could be helpful in your preparations to also identify what the purpose of your fast will be.
What do I fast?
Fasting means to go without food – this is the fasting the Bible talks about.
If a person feels convicted to fast other things (non essentials) such as movies, TV, Facebook, the Internet, hobbies or pastimes it is probably a good idea for them to assess if those things are taking a place in their life that is too prominent and consider permanently refraining from them or drastically reducing their time spent doing them.
For people for whom going without food is not advisable due to medical reasons they can consider going without special or “treat” type foods.
How to prepare for a time of fasting
The worse thing you could do just before starting a fast is to ‘stockpile’! This means you eat more than you normally would to compensate for the food your body will be missing during the fast. All this does is stretch your stomach which will demand you keep it that full – you will feel even more hungry!
Before you start your fast begin to reduce the amount of food you are eating at each meal. This way your stomach gradually shrinks and gets used to having less food.
If you intend to fast right through the 7 days, whether it is one meal or all food, prepare your schedule in advance. Think about appointments that may involve food.