(The Faith Forum Series)
Dear Reader, this Article is a bit lengthy but if you are serious about finding out how to get a ‘YES’ from God, then I suggest that you read it from beginning to end, even if you have to read a part of it and then come back later to finish. If you wish, you can read one element of the eight elements listed below per day, meditating on the truths contained in it and applying it to your life, if applicable.
Who knows, there may be something that is relevant to your situation. Here’s to hoping that whatever may be your need or request, that, if it is an honourable petition, that you get a ‘YES’ from God.
I know that it is widely stated that God answers prayers in one of three ways. It is my view though, that, once God hears our prayer, he will answer by either saying YES or NO. Sometimes what seems like his silence to the request is a ‘No’, especially if we have been praying about it for a long time. However, this may not necessarily be the case. It may also be a delayed ‘Yes’. God can say ‘Yes’ but he can make you wait for his perfect timing. Wait a while is therefore not a third answer really but a definite YES, just in God’s own timing.
HOW TO GET A ‘YES’ FROM GOD – THE EIGHT-FOLD FORMULA
From my own study of the Word of God the Bible, my experiences and those of others, it became clear to me that, when seeking a ‘YES’ from God, there is a formula or equation which should be in operation in our lives, as we pray.
This formula or equation comprises of eight (8) dimensions or elements as follows:
Love + Worship & Praise + Obedience & Submission + Faith + Heartfelt Prayer + Authentic Child of God + Persistence + Biblical Fasting = RESULTS (provided it is in God’s perfect will to allow it)
It is true that God, in his mercy, sometimes grants us the things we asked for and even good things we did not ask for, although we did not apply all of the factors or elements in this equation. However, if you have been praying about a particular issue or list of issues for a while and yet have not seen any results, I would like to suggest that maybe, you should consider the formula.
While it is not a magical formula, it is based on sound principles and examples in the Bible and is therefore a miraculous, tried and tested approach, for those who want to hear a ‘YES’ from God.
All of the elements in the formula are to work simultaneously to get the results you seek. Having said that, I will now proceed to spend some time discussing what I mean by each element in greater detail.
Element 1: LOVE versus hatred, dislike, animosity, indifference, coldness, envy, strife, gossip, slander, bad-mouthing, malice, competition, trouble-making, bitterness, lack of forgiveness and conflict:
I admit that when I initially wrote this Article on answered prayer, I had only dealt with seven elements and this was not one of them. However, God began convicting me on this element and to show me the various scriptures on it, so much so, that I had to include it and as the very first element, as without genuine love for those in the household of faith (other Christians), all the other elements mean nothing when it comes to you getting your prayer answered.
This is the reason I believe, why many Churches have been praying for years without their requests being answered. It may be the reason why you and I remain stuck in our situation of no change and for years, despite our endless prayers.
I personally have a problem of loving my Christian sisters and brothers unconditionally, when they provoke me, mistreat me, hate on me, refuse to forgive me when they have done me even greater wrongs or deal with me unkindly and unfairly. However, this is no excuse in God’s eyes for me not to love them, so this is an area that I MUST work on and perfect in the Lord.
We are commanded by God to love our brothers and sisters in the faith, whether they are kind and loving to us or not. We are called to show them unconditional love and only then, according to the scriptures, do we qualify to ask God for things and to get them.
This is why the devil likes to create offence. He gets our brothers and sisters to do wrong against us, in the hope that we will become bitter, never let it go, become resentful and refuse to forgive because when we get to such a place, our love for those brothers and sisters would be gone, thereby shutting us in a horrible prison where we cannot move forward because God may choose to no longer answer our prayers.
Also, we can’t be hating on that sister at Church or be rude to another or condescend to those who don’t look like us or talk like us or who we feel are less spiritual than us or gossip the business of those we do not like because we love a good story, drama or conflict and deep down, we enjoy the fact that they are hurting because we are hurting or are jealous of them or have not forgiven them for some perceived wrong and then in the midst of all of that, come to God and ask him for stuff and expect him to answer us.
The audacity of such a request is mind-boggling! When we hate, mistreat or spread rumours on ANY of God’s children, he takes it personally and it is highly likely that you will NOT get an answer to your petition.
1 John 3: 10-12, 14-19 and 22 state:
- “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil and his brother’s righteous…We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
- Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
- But whoso hath this world’s good and seeth his brother have need and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him…AND WHATSOEVER WE ASK, WE RECEIVE OF HIM, because we keep him commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.”
1 John 4:7 -13, 20: 5: 1-3, 14-15 also state:
- “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God: and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit…
- If a man say, I love God and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also…Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous…AND THIS IS THE CONFIDENCE THAT WE HAVE IN HIM, THAT, IF WE ASK ANY THING ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, HE HEARETH US: AND IF WE KNOW THAT HE HEAR US, WHATSOEVER WE ASK WE KNOW THAT WE HAVE THE PETITIONS THAT WE DESIRED OF HIM.”
James 3:14-18 and 4:1-3 gives us the reverse account of what we can expect when we don’t love our Christian brothers and sisters. We can expect to get NO prayers answered by God. The scripture reads:
- “But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace. From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? YE LUST, AND HAVE NOT: YE KILL, AND DESIRE TO HAVE, AND CANNOT OBTAIN: YE FIGHT AND WAR, YET YE HAVE NOT, BECAUSE YE ASK NOT. YE ASK, AND RECEIVE NOT, BECAUSE YE ASK AMISS, THAT YE MAY CONSUME IT UPON YOUR LUSTS…”
It is because love is so important, that 1 Corinthians 13: 1 states:
- “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”
In other words, everything else that I do is a waste of time if I don’t love others unconditionally, not in word only but also in my actions. I could do all of the other elements listed in this Article perfectly but if I don’t love my brothers and sisters in the Lord (irrespective of what they did to me or how badly they have treated me or even continue to treat me), then I should not expect God to answer my prayers because I am not eligible for his miracles.
Now I know there will be the question, How do I know if a person is truly a brother or sister in the Lord, especially when how they have treated me or others, does not seem to line up with the Word?
My answer to this is simple: I do not believe that God requires us to conduct an assessment of each person at Church to determine if they are truly Christians, before we decide to love them. Once they have made a profession of faith in the Lord Jesus and have said that they are Christians, whether this is true or not, we should just love them.
Imagine the danger in hating on someone or ignoring and being rude to them because we think they are not a Christian, when in fact, they are.
Even if they are not truly saved and have positioned themselves as our enemies, the Bible calls upon us to love our enemies as well, so we are without excuse. If they are not sincere, God will deal with them.
I also believe that what applies spiritually, also applies in the natural. Therefore, if God expects us to love our spiritual brothers and sisters in the Lord, I believe he expects the same of us in relation to our biological family members, whether they are Christians or not.
Make no mistake: Loving others unconditionally will hurt a lot, especially when we reach out and we receive nothing but continued coldness, rudeness and continued indifference. In such a case, we must guard our hearts against becoming bitter and resentful and as we continue to love them, painful as it might be, there will be comfort in knowing that we are obeying God and that is what is most important.
I do not believe though, that loving others means that we have to keep them close to us and in our intimate circle, if they are toxic to our lives. We can love some people from afar. If for example, we realize or discern that a cousin or brother or sister keeps using everything we say to try to stir up trouble in our lives with others or someone is constantly trying to make us jealous or get us embroiled in drama and competition or to keep us distracted from God’s purpose for our lives or is harbouring a deep-seated hatred for us, then we should pray to the Lord for wisdom, continue to love and pray for them but if we need to create a little distance gently, for our own sanity, then we must.
If we see a change in them however because God has worked on them (even as he is working on you) and we realize that it is safe to remove that distance because they are no longer toxic to our lives and our purpose, then we should do so.
Element 2: WORSHIP & PRAISE versus Complaining:
It is counterproductive to be praying to God for a breakthrough if we have the wrong attitude while we suffer, in that we complain all the time about our problem. God hates complaining. Our complaints needs to be stifled and replaced by a spirit of thanksgiving, worship and praise.
No matter what we are going through, we should still look for things to give God thanks for because he has been very good to all of us, each and every day. If he didn’t send the rain and shine the sun, we would all die.
Think about it: In the Bible, when Paul and Silas had been beaten severely and thrown into prison with chains, they had plenty reason to complain but instead, they prayed and sang praises to God. God heard them from heaven and caused an earthquake to open the prison doors and free them from their chains. When Job was informed that his whole family had been killed (with the exception of his wife) and that he had lost all of his riches, all in one day, he of all people, had reason to complain but instead, he fell to the ground and worshipped God.
There is much to learn here. If we would continue to worship God with our words, our song, our actions and our attitude when troubles come and don’t seem to want to leave, God will be well pleased and maybe, just maybe, he may pour us out a blessing. He eventually did for Job.
Element 3: OBEDIENCE & SUBMISSION versus Disobedience and Rebellion:
In the Bible, we see examples of God refusing to hear people’s prayers because they were disobeying his rules and commands. This tells me that sometimes, God blocks out prayers so that they are not even heard by him. If we want him to hear us therefore, we have to be living lives of complete obedience to him, being sure to repent and turn away from the things that displease him.
It makes no sense to pray to God for a breakthrough, if we are not obeying his rules and commands. He says to not gossip, to not be malicious, to forgive no matter what, to be kind to others, to not commit fornication or adultery, to have active lives of genuine repentance and Godly sorrow when we mess up and so much more. He says to dress modestly, to honour our parents and all those who have authority over us, including our employers and the government and the list goes on.
He says to you wives, submit to and honour your husbands and to you husbands, love your wives even as Christ loved the church.
He says to the single, do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. There is no way you are going drag him or her to the Lord. If the person does not want Jesus for himself or herself, then there is nothing you can do about it. You cannot disobey God, to get to the place of obedience. If you align yourself with such a person and refuse to let go or worse yet, marry him or her, they will most likely not be elevated to Jesus Christ. Instead, they will drag you down to a level you never thought possible.
We cannot disregard God’s rules for living and then expect him to hear and answer our prayer with a YES. God does not operate that way because he is not a God that is mocked. Galatians 6:7 states clearly, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
What I have found prevalent in society and even in the churches is a spirit of gossip, tale bearing, malice, envy, contention, strife and news-mongering. God hates it all and while you may not be able to make the masses stop these evil habits of disobedience, you can examine yourself, repent before the Lord and stop it at an individual level. The change starts with you and I as individuals. It is very difficult when you chose to walk in the Spirit because your flesh is never pleased with this decision. However, it gets easier with each act of obedience. Say no to the flesh, so that God’s ways can be exalted.
God says that Christians should go out and tell people about the love of Jesus Christ and how they can be saved from the damnation to come. If a Christian sits down and decides not to do that until God sends the husband or wife or the child or the house or the finances or the promotion or whatever it is she or he has been praying for, then that is disobedience. We can serve in the midst of our suffering, in some way or other.
We cannot do our own thing and then pray to God for help with our issues. He may decide not to hear us.
To know what God wants us to do and the rules he has given, we need to spend time reading the Bible. The more we read, the better. We should also attend a Church where the Pastor/Elder will explain the Bible even further and teach the congregation how God wants them to live. God wants us to live a life free of sin, first and foremost and secondly, for us to grow in our knowledge of him and his ways.
So, if a particular ‘church’ speaks more about money or blessings or anything else, over and above repentance and godly living, then quite frankly, you should not go there. All those things have their proper place and are important but they ought not to usurp the gospel of Jesus Christ (the only gospel) and the way of righteous living.
We may not understand everything that we are to obey immediately but I believe that God will honour the person that has a heart to obey, who is continually humbling himself and seeking to obey and find out more and more, about what God wants him to do and not to do.
Element 4: FAITH (that the request will be granted) versus Doubt (that the request may not be granted):
It makes no sense to be praying to God for a breakthrough if deep down, we do not believe he is going to do it or we question whether he will do it or we wonder if perhaps it is too difficult for him to do or too late in time.
He is God, the one who created all of us and everything we see, including what we do not see. Absolutely nothing is too challenging for him. However, he who comes to God must come believing that he is and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him (Hebrews 11:6). The Bible states that a double-minded man is unstable in all of his ways. It also says that that man should not think that he will get anything from the Lord.
What that means is that we have to approach the throne of grace reverentially but with boldness, (provided that we are truly Christians) and to believe wholeheartedly that God will grant our request. We have to pray believing and leave the results to God, while we wait in full expectation that we will see what we have prayed for. Even if he decides not to grant it because he is wiser than us, he does not want us to question whether he will or not when we pray.
Element 5: HEARTFELT PRAYER versus Mind-generated, repetitive, articulate, wordy, attention-seeking, rote, robot-like prayer or complete lack of prayer:
It is the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man that will avail much (James 5:16-18). Therefore, God wants us to pray as if we are having a conversation with him. He is not impressed by fancy words or the length of the prayer or any other tactic we may try to use.
He simply wants us to come to him as children with a humble heart and to speak to him respectfully with our requests from our hearts.
It is easy to recite prayers or to just close our eyes and mutter something that we have grown used to always saying or hearing but that is not what God is looking for because those prayers are not heartfelt. That is, the words are being uttered but the heart is not engaged in what is being said. As a result, there is no fervency. For, fervency requires an engagement of the heart.
Some prayers can be so heartfelt that we break down in tears while we are praying to the Lord. Crying does not mean that God will answer how we want him to answer because he cannot be manipulated. However, he is touched by the person that prays from his heart. That person does not pretend, does not try to hide from God or try to impress him. That person is honest with God and sometimes, being honest with God about our failures, shortcomings, disappointments and dreams, makes us break down and cry.
This does not mean that we have to shout or work ourselves up into a crazy frenzy. God is not deaf and he is not impressed by theatrics. Keep it simple, keep it honest, keep it real. The God we serve is real.
Element 6: CHILD OF GOD versus Not a Child of God
Many people call themselves Christians because of the country they live in, their family background, how good they think they are, the church they or their parents attend or because they just like the sound of the word.
However, what many people don’t realize is that God has a specific criteria for human beings to follow, before he brands a person with the title of ‘Christian’. He has said in his Bible, which is a book that contains his truth, that no human being can gain his acceptance and become his child, without first accepting his Son the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord and personal Saviour, into their lives.
Yes he created all of us but he is not the Father of all of us.
What this means therefore, is that persons who have not asked the Lord Jesus to be Lord over their lives because they don’t believe he is the Son of God or they simply don’t want to obey God’s command or live with Jesus in charge of their lives are not really Christians.
If they are not Christians, then it becomes difficult for their prayers to be answered by God because they do not belong to him. God responds to his children, meaning genuine Christians. HE may however, block his ears to the cry of those who have decided not to surrender their lives over to his Son Jesus.
If it is that we have never confessed with our mouths the Lord Jesus and believed in our hearts that he was raised from the dead, if we have never asked Jesus to take complete control of our lives, then we are not really genuine Christians and therefore, not children that have been adopted into God’s heavenly family. If we are not Christians, God may decide not to answer our prayers because we do not belong to him but to the devil, who has control of every human being once they are born into this sin-filled world. In the Bible, Jesus clearly referred to some of his creation as belonging to their father the devil because they were living lives that were disobedient to his rules and pleasing to the devil.
Make no mistake: Every decision you make that displeases God, pleases the devil.
The Lord Jesus has paid the price years ago for the sinful state of all human beings, by dying on a cross. He was then risen on the third day by almighty God the Father and is now in heaven. He is coming again one day (because although he was killed, he rose again on the third day) and he will judge the world of sin.
When he does return, he will have one main question: “Did you accept me into your life and ask me to be your Lord and Saviour?” In other words, he will be asking if you are a genuine Christian or not and we cannot fool him.
When Jesus returns to earth (on a day that no man knows), all human beings who have died will be raised from the dead to face a righteous judgment for the lives they have lived. Those that did not die, will also be judged and only those who accepted God’s free gift of salvation by receiving the Lord Jesus Christ into their hearts while they were alive, will be saved from eternal damnation in hell fire.
To be a genuine Christian and therefore become a part of God’s family, we must believe on the Lord Jesus. That is, we must genuinely believe that he came to earth years ago and is the Son of the one true and living God, that he was crucified by humans and died on the cross but after three days, his lifeless body was raised from the dead by almighty God (because he is God and absolutely nothing is too hard for him to do.)
Once we genuinely believe in our hearts the above, we must confess with our mouths that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. By this, we must admit with our mouths that he is Lord over our lives and Lord over all.
We must also be sorry for our sinful life and ways because all of us have sinned and come short of the glory of God. We must then ask Jesus to forgive us for all of it and to come into our hearts and live there. We must then trust that we are saved by Jesus from the wrath that is coming when Jesus returns and that when we die or if he returns before we die, that we will go to heaven to be with him.
If you desire to become a Child of God and you truly believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that he died years ago but was raised again on the third day and if you believe that if you were to die today without inviting him to come into your heart to live and to change you, you would be placed in hell, then you may say this prayer to God right now, from your heart, making sure that you mean every word of it:
- Jesus, I admit that I have sinned against you in this life and that, since I am a descendant of Adam and he sinned, I was born in sin and with sin in my DNA. I recognize that if I were to die without you in my life, I would end up in hell because my best works are as filthy rags in your sight and therefore not good enough to grant me access to heaven.
- I am sorry for the sinful life that I have lived so far and I truly want to start obeying you and living for you, not the devil. I truly believe that you are the Son of the true and living God. I also believe that you came to earth years ago and died for my sins. I believe that you did not stay dead but that through God’s resurrection power, you were raised up alive again on the third day, just as you said would happen. I believe that you are coming back to earth one day to bring judgment on this world and I want to escape hell fire. I now confess with my mouth that you Jesus Christ are King of Kings and Lord of Lords and I pray that you Jesus, will now come into my heart and change me and wash me with your blood and save me from sin, the devil, my flesh and eternal damnation.
- I truly want you, the Lord Jesus Christ to take complete control of my life and to live in my heart from this day forth and I therefore ask that you will fill me with your Holy Spirit. Please do this for me and save me from your terrible wrath to come.
- From this moment, I acknowledge that my life is not my own but belongs to you, Jesus Christ. I thank you for doing it Lord, Amen.
If you said that prayer and you truly meant it (God knows), then CONGRATULATIONS! You are now a child of the true and living God because you have accepted his Son Jesus Christ as your Lord and your Saviour. All of heaven is rejoicing over the decision you have made. The Bible states that the angels in heaven rejoice whenever a human being decides to become a child of God through Jesus Christ his Son. They are elated for you because you have escaped the Second Death and are now destined for heaven!
This is the best decision you could have ever made and will ever make in all your life and I can guarantee that you will NEVER regret it.
To learn more about being a child of God (a Christian) and how you can please him (not the devil) for the rest of your life, you need to join a Bible-believing church. This is one of the instructions God gave his children. You also need to invest in a good Bible. I recommend the King James Version for starters but there are some other versions as well, such as the New King James Version. I do not recommend the New International Version (NIV).
I can’t tell you which church to join but pray to God and ask him to direct you to which church he wants you to attend. When you get there, speak to the Pastor/Elder/Deacon and let them know that you surrendered your life to the Lord Jesus Christ and are now his child. They will direct you further from there.
Be blessed my brother/sister and welcome to the household of faith. It is an exciting life to be a Christian. It is not easy but it is so worth it! LOVE YOU MUCH AND GOD BLESS!
Element 7: PERSISTENCE versus Fainting and Giving up
God’s answer may be an immediate ‘Yes’ in the spiritual realm but that does not mean that it is going to be granted immediately in the natural realm of earth. God has his own timing for things and so we must learn to wait patiently. Additionally, sometimes God says ‘Yes’ but he wants us to fight for it by using the spiritual weapons he has provided such as faith, never ceasing prayer, fasting and praise. This is because he is more concerned with our spiritual development and growth, which is necessary for heaven, than in giving us things.
I have learned that in my own situation. What I have been praying for, I believe God has given me the assurance it will come to pass but I have to fight to see it manifest. God loves persistence, even though it may seem exhausting to us. Every time we pray about the same thing believing and fight the good fight of faith, it is like an investment or us pouring drops into a bucket. When God regards the bucket as full, if it is his will, he will grant it. Christians have to therefore learn how to become effective WARRIORS because there is a real devil out there, that wants us to give up.
In Luke 18, Jesus spake a parable, “…to this end, that men ought always to pray and not faint.” He spoke of a widow who persistently begged a Judge for justice in a matter. Jesus said that the judge was not a righteous judge and he was not afraid of any man. However, because the woman kept nagging him over and over and over and over, he got tired of her persistently begging and granted the request, so as to be free of her nagging. Then Jesus said, “…Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?” (Luke 18 :6-7)
God therefore wants us to keep on fighting, even if we have been seeking him for a very long time.
I remember attending a gospel singer’s concert some time last year or the year prior to that and he informed the audience (He’s probably in his fifties by now) that he and his wife could not have children but that he prayed for twelve (12) years without giving up, for a child. Imagine that! Twelve (12) long, painful years with many people doubting whether it would ever come to pass but he kept the faith and the faith kept him fighting. He knew God had it in his hands to give, so he kept on asking.
I think that that is what God loves about our persistence and why he sometimes delays the blessing. Every time we come to him with the same request, we are in essence saying, “Lord I know that I asked before and you did not give it to me but I am coming again because I am convinced that you are all powerful and you can still do it, anytime you want and I am still hoping in your mercy that you will.”
Needless to say, the man said that on one particular day, after the twelve (12) years of praying, he asked God if he was tired of him coming to him with the same prayer request. He said some time after that, his wife became pregnant!
And that was not all. When God pours out a blessing it overflows. He said that God granted them six (6) children in rapid succession, so that they are all close in age today. His wife went from twelve (12) years of barrenness, to years of being pregnant and bearing children, one after the next, after the next, after the next, after the next and after the next.
When God moves, he moves in style. Be inspired therefore and don’t give up. Keep asking.
Element 8: FASTING versus Constant Eating
Perhaps if all of the other elements I stated before are in operation in your life and you have been praying and still in the same situation, then you need to take it to the next level and engage in biblical fasting. While this does not guarantee you will get the outcome you desire, who knows what may happen? Why not try it?
This should not just be used though, to get prayers answered. As a reminder to my own self, it should be part of every Christian’s lifestyle. It is good for Christians to fast so as to bring their flesh under subjection and to have their will aligned perfectly with God’s. When coupled with faith-filled prayer, it can really make a difference because God is well-pleased with sacrifice. It is by no means an easy task, especially if you have never done it before but if you are desperate enough for an answer and you want to be obedient to God, you should.
I cannot guarantee that if you fast once, the answer will come. God’s ways are not our ways. Some people fast for years before God decides to give them their breakthrough, whereas others get theirs right in the middle of the fast! Others have fasted and God still said ‘No’, so while fasting is good in getting God’s attention and in growing spiritually, it is not an element that can be manipulated, to get what you want. At the end of the day, no matter what you do, remember, God still reserves the right, in his wisdom, to say ‘No’.
Fasting, coupled with prayer, should be done as well, when you are seeking deliverance from some problem or habit or addiction or to overthrow the enemy in the spiritual realm because you realize that you are under attack and you need God to fight for you. Esther and Jehoshaphat did this, as you will see in your Bible.
Fasting is when you bare your soul to almighty God, so of course, you have to come with honesty. If you have sinned you have to genuinely repent before him or else he will not answer you. If you are living a life of unrepentant rebellion, then the fast will not work for you. The fast is to break everything in your life (including your own will), that is not aligned to God’s perfect will for you and your future. If the devil is standing in the way therefore, you want him removed. If you are standing in the way due to your attitude or some behaviour or some sin, you want to be changed and you want to repent.
It is important that you do not merely abstain from eating, as that in itself is not biblical fasting. You should read Isaiah 58: 1-14 for God’s idea of biblical fasting.
I know that many Christians do what they refer to as a ‘Daniel fast’ but many women and men of God in the bible days did complete fasts with nothing but water. We must challenge ourselves therefore and not always look for the easy way out.
If you have never fasted before, perhaps you can start by abstaining from one meal on a particular day, then do a 6.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. fast, then do a complete 24 hour fast. You can go on from there to do a two (2) day fast and then a complete three (3) day fast with nothing but water. Beyond this point is possible, depending on your faith but let the Lord guide you as to if he wants you to do further, in the future.
There is one more thing that you should note: The Bible states that it is in unity that God commands the blessing (Psalm 133:1-3). Therefore, it doesn’t hurt to have one or more other people pray and/or fast with you for your answer, provided that they genuinely have your best interest at heart. This strengthens the petition. Esther, Jehoshaphat and other people in the Bible knew about the power of combined forces, so they joined together to seek the Lord in sincerity for their problems and guess what? He answered them with a ‘YES’!
If you have been fasting and praying therefore and still you have not made any progress, then consider joining forces with like-minded Christians, who sincerely want what is best for you and will keep your business confidential!
FINALLY, CONSIDER THE WILL OF GOD:
The will of God is perfect and will always override our will because he knows best. In his book the Bible, he makes it known that he will grant the prayers of his children, when they line up with what I have explained at length above and if the request is in keeping with his will.
Christians (Children of God) ought to ask God therefore, to align our will and our requests with his will. 1 John 5:14 states “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, IF WE ASK ANYTHING ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, he heareth us.” (1 John 5:14)
Christians ought to also spend quality time in his Word, so that we will not request things that are carnal or contrary or displeasing to God. You cannot for example, be living with your boyfriend outside of a marriage union and be praying to God to give you a child or for him to marry you. You cannot be praying that the man that you think you love (who happens to be married to someone else), will leave his wife, so that you can get married to him. Such prayers will NOT be answered because they are NOT glorifying to God.
Even if we ask for a good thing, our motives may be impure or it may not line up with God’s plan for our lives. A prayer therefore, that God will grant you the finances to have a Wedding that is so grand, that it outshines and puts to shame the Wedding of all of your cousins, friends and enemies, will not be answered because while a beautiful Wedding is always nice, your motive, to glorify yourself and your ego are wrong.
A prayer that God opens your womb and gives you a baby will not be answered if your main reason for asking for this is so that you can compete with your neighbour or that Church sister or even family members.
James 4: 3 states “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”
Notice that, although we are not given all the details into what Hannah in the Bible, prayed when she asked God for a child, nowhere does it say that she asked God for a child so as to compete with Peninnah her enemy or to get revenge on her. The main objective of her prayer, which was to glorify God however was recorded, when the Bible tells us that she vowed a vow to God that if he gave her a man child, she would give him back to the Lord all the days of his life.
We are not created and placed on this earth for ourselves but for God’s pleasure and his glory. We have to therefore be willing to let go of the desire to please ourselves and willingly submit to God and whatever his plan is for our life. If what we ask lines up with God’s will (which it usually will if we are walking closely with him each day), then he guarantees that he will grant it. Even if he does not, we still have to trust him and that he has our best interest at heart.
(Written on 22nd March, 2016)