Understanding the Types and Shadows in God's Word

Biblical Prayer and Fasting     

In the landscape of 21st century Pentecostal and Charismatic churches, there seems to be a renewed dedication to return proper praise and worship in our relationship to God.  This is good and necessary, but in and of itself is not sufficient to bring us into the fullness of Kingdom Covenant.  We must understand that we are tabernacles of the Holy Ghost and as such are the spiritual habitation of Christ in the earth.  If praise and worship is the framework of spiritual habitation, then prayer and fasting is its foundation.    In our study, let us go to Christ’s “Sermon on the Mount” to see what Jesus taught His disciples concerning the subject of prayer and fasting. 

   Matthew 6: 5 - 18 

5. and when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.  6. but thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. 7. but when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.  8. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. 9. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11. Give us this day our daily bread. 12. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.  14. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. 16. Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward. 17. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;  18. That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.       

In this passage of scripture, Jesus reveals to His disciples the parameters and the process of prayer, as well as the proper order to follow when fasting.  Let us more closely examine the verses above and come to an understanding of what Jesus was speaking to the disciples.   The first thing that we notice in this passage, commonly referred to as “The Lord’s Prayer”, is that it is not only a literal prayer but is an outline on how to properly pray when coming before the throne of grace.  Notice particularly in verse nine as Jesus says “After this manner therefore pray ye.”  It is here that Jesus begins to enumerate the parameters and process of successful prayer.  Let us now break these down into proper understanding.  

The Parameters of Prayer 

·        We do not pray that we may be heard.

·        You should have a private place in your home to go and pray. 

·        Most of your praying should be private time, just between you and God.

·        Although God already knows your need, He still requires you to petition Him.

The Process of Prayer 

·        Praise:  (verse 9) (…Hallowed be Thy name) Begin your prayer with praise.  If you want to get God’s attention for your prayer, offer Him praise.

·        Purpose: (verse 10) (Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done…) We must be willing to get our will out of the way.  We must seek His will. 

·        Provision:  (verse 11)  (Give us this day our daily bread.)  We are to ask God for our needs, not our luxuries. 

·        Penitence:  (verses 12 – 13a) ("As we forgive") Notice here that penitence is both vertical and horizontal.  Don’t expect God to forgive you if you are not willing to forgive others. 

·        Praise:  (verse 13b) (For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, forever. Amen.)  It is important that we end the prayer with the same intensity of praise that we began the prayer with.  

The Protocol of Fasting 

·        Fasting is a private manner between you and God.  

·       Don't bring any special attention to yourself while you are in the process of fasting before God. 

·        Remember:  God will always honor His established order.