Leadership Empowerment School of Ministry
Empowering Those who Empower Others with a Knowledge of God and His Ways
"Does He who implanted the ear not hear? Does He who formed the eye not see? Does He who disciplines nations not punish? Does He who teaches man lack knowledge? The Lord know the thoughts of man; He knows that they are futile." Psalm 94:9-11
God knows all of man's thoughts and intents within his heart. He knows whether a heart is soft enough to receive what He is longing to impart or whether it is hardened and rejects what He has to say.
1. God's ultimate purpose is to bring man's heart under subjection and turn it toward Him.
A. God makes an appointment to meet the sinner at the cross.
"Can two walk together, lest they agree?" (Amos 3:3). This is where all conversation with God must begin -- see Col 1:20.
B. At the Cross is where we are to yield totally unto God and give the Lord our will.
Read Rom 6:12-14. Notice that the Lord asks us to take sides with Him against all that is in our lives from which we must be set free. As we yield to Him our whole being, the Holy Spirit takes possession, cleanses the heart from old desires and reveals the living Christ to the spirit of man. Only from this point may we walk forth in happy communion with the Father.
2. What Is Prayer?
1. In Gen 5:24, we see a brief, but very complete statement of the call and purpose of man: "Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him..." One may feed the hungry, clothe the needy, visit the sick, preach, and heal, and yet never walk with God.
2. In 1 Thess 5:16-18, God's children are encouraged to: "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing with thanksgiving; for this is God's will for us in Christ Jesus."
3. Prayer is the expression of man's dependence upon God.
On one hand, we have a deep sense of need, of helplessness, and unworthiness; on the other hand, there comes an assurance of God's love. This gives us confidence that what we are asking will be heard and our prayer will be answered. See 1 John 5:14, 15.
Take time to pray individually.
· Pray for the Lord to speak to you during this week and help you to become stronger in prayer.
· Pray for Him to reveal to you the importance of yielding and dependence. Ask Him to show you areas in your life where you have not yielded or do not depend on Him alone.
B. Psalm 91
1. Psalm 91 was probably penned by the Psalmist during a difficult time. As we take time to study this Psalm, we see that the rich promises of this entire chapter are dependent upon one's meeting the conditions of the first two verses.
2. When we are seated properly in our hidden or abiding place, we may commune with and obtain the secrets of God's heart.
3. Throughout God's Holy Word, He gives promise after promise of our prayers being answered.
4. We find that Christ teaches us that answers to prayer depend upon certain conditions. However, our victory is summarized in the following: "If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will and it shall be done unto you." (Jn 15:7)
Study John 15:1-17. Write down some things you learn about prayer from this passage. Also, what does it mean to 'abide in Christ?' How do you do that?
C. Conditions for Abiding Prayer
1. The cross is the foundation. We must crucify our old man.
2. The next most important principle for the believer to understand is the "spirit of adoption." This enables the child of God to know Him as "Father." (Rom 8:16).
3. Some things that keep our prayers from being effective
a. Acting in presumption.
In Deut 1:26-45, the Lord would not hear Israel because they had disobeyed and gone up against the Amorites. Presumption occurs when we venture out assuming that the Lord will help us, even when He did not send us. It is the opposite of faith. It does not listen to God but comes from the will of man. "Faith cometh by hearing, hearing by the Word of the Lord." – Rom 10:17
b. Rejecting His kingship.
In 1 Sam 8:18, Samuel began to warn Israel about taking a king of their choosing. He explained to them that they were beginning to violate some principles that the Lord had established for them before they entered the land that He had promised them. He told them that if they insisted on living without surrendering their lives to God, He would not hear their prayers.
By understanding and operating in and under authority properly, we release faith to operate in our hearts. Read Lk 7:1-10. Notice that Jesus acknowledges that "no greater faith" had he seen in all of Israel than the man who understood authority. Ask the Lord to remove any rebellion, disobedience, or idolatry from your heart.
Read and pray the principles in 1 Sam 15.
c. Not helping the needy.
"Whoever stops his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard (Prov 21:13)." Our self-centered concerns prevent us from focusing on people with greater need than ourselves.
d. Sin in the heart
"If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me (Ps 66:18)." Unforgiveness, a bitter root, pride, an offended spirit that murmurs when circumstances do not go their way, and character flaws nursed rather than killed, will block heaven.
D. Asking amiss:
There is a lot of "asking amiss." Only by a full surrender to the life of abiding can our prayer life be active and truly healthy.
Study the following scriptures. Write down some points you can learn about how to ask for things in prayer the right way.
1 Jn 3:21-22; James 1:2-8; James 4:2-3; Phil 4:6-7; Mat 6:19-24;
Take time now before proceeding with this lesson to ask yourself:
1. Do I have a clear conscience before God?
2. Do I trust God because of what Jesus did, not my own goodness?
3. Am I denying myself daily and taking up my cross?
4. Am I dwelling in the secret place of the Most High?
5. Are my prayers more like demands than requests?
6. Is God hearing me?
7. Am I able to hear His gentle voice within my spirit?
E. Prayer as a Cutting Edge
Prayer is the cutting edge of any work. Prayer is the work and the power of any ministry.
1. Prayer is based in the Word of God.
"Take . . . the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. With all prayer and petition, pray at all time in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints..." -- Eph 6:17-18
2. Without prayers and waiting on God for Him to reveal His will, we will have no power to move toward His goals.
3. Nothing of God's will is accomplished that is not begun and carried out through prayer.
Discuss the following questions in small groups:
· What is the difference between presumption and faith? How can you know which one you are praying in?
· Why is the cross the foundation of prayer?
· Why is the 'sprit of adoption' (Rom 8:16) so important in prayer?
F. You Have Not Because You Ask Not. . .
1. "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of the Lord" – Rom 10:17
All of our actions should be a result of our moving and being "in faith".
2. If we ask anything according to God's will, He grants it for us -- 1 Jn 5:14-15
3. Need to ask with the right motives -- James 4:1-3
Principles of Prayer
1. Need for Prayer
A. Prayer is God's main method of changing us!
1. Getting closer to God's heart transforms us into His image
2. Transformation involves coming to see things as God sees them and willing what He wills.
B. Biblical examples
1. David: Psalm 63:1
2. Apostles: Acts 6:4
What is more important, our "work" or our prayer?
3. Jesus: Lk 5:16
2. How to Pray
A. In faith
1. James 5:13-18
2. Example of the fig tree: Mk 11:20-24
a. have faith in God
b. will have what we ask for in faith
Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. -- Mk 11:24
3. Faith of Abraham: Rom 4:18-22
4. God can use small faith
a. Mk 9:14-29 -- Jesus and the demonized boy
b. Acts 12:1-16 -- Peter released from prison
5. Do not pray in fear
a. ex: pray for healing because you fear death
b. ex. rebuke the storm because you fear it (see Mat 8:23-27)
B. In Jesus' Name -- Jn 14:13-14
1. In harmony with His character and will -- 1 Jn 5:14, Mat 6:10
2. Abide in Jesus and His Word abide in you -- Jn 15:7
3. Living in obedience to him -- 1 Jn 3:22-23
· How can you be confident that you are praying according to the will of God? If I desire something, does that mean it is God's will? What is the meaning of Psalm 37:4?
· What does it mean for God's Word to abide in you (Jn 15:7)? How specifically can I make that happen?
1. The widow and unjust judge -- Lk 18:1-8
2. The man whose friend comes at midnight -- Lk 11:5-8
3. Keep asking, seeking, knocking -- Lk 11:9-13
4. Pray without ceasing -- 1 Thess 5:17
5. Example of Daniel -- Dan 10:2, 10-15
D. With simplicity
1. As a son asking his father
2. Not a performance -- Matt 6:7-8
E. With fervency and intensity
1. Pray with feeling -- if it is not there, ask for it
2. example of Moses: Ex 32:31-32
3. Epaphras -- Col 4:12
4. James 5:16
5. A passion of the soul; not relaxing or stopping until we are answered
F. Pray based on the Word of God
1. David: 2 Sam 7:25-29
2. When we pray according to God's Word, we have confidence and boldness
3. Why we do NOT Receive what we Pray
A. Disobedience -- Deut 1:42-45
B. Sin -- Ps 66:18; Jam 5:16; Isa 59:2
C. Lack of faith -- Jam 1:6-7; Mat 13:58
D. Selfish motive -- Jam 4:3
E. Not honoring wife -- 1 Pet 3:7
F. Unforgiveness -- Mk 11:25
G. Not God's will -- Jam 4:3; Mat 16:21-23; Mat 26:39
H. God teaching us something -- 2 Cor 12:7-10
I. Other reasons that we may not understand or know
4. Consistent Prayer
A. Consistent prayer makes you a candidate for visitation from God.
Study Luke 1:5-13. See how Zechariah's faithfulness to his priestly duty made him available to God to visit, deliver a word to him, make him and his wife fruitful, and produce the forerunner that would pave the way for our Savior.
B. Consistent prayer makes us victorious over our enemies.
As David was in the midst of his enemies, he stated in Psalm 55:16-18, "As for me, I shall call upon God, and the Lord will save me. Evening and morning and at noon, I utter my complaint and moan and He will hear My voice. He will then redeem my soul in peace from the battle that is against me." Know that there is victory as we consistently call upon the name of our God.
C. Consistent prayer produces an excellent spirit within us.
Let's look at the example God has given us in the man Daniel. Daniel was a man of tremendous insight and wisdom. Dan 6:3 states that he had an 'excellent spirit.' As we look at Chapter 6 in the book of Daniel, we find that a law had been created to prevent any prayer to a god other than Darius. Of course, Daniel continued to pray regularly to God. He knew that God had made his spirit excellent through his consistent fellowship with Him.
D. Consistent prayer allows the Lord to manifest the spirit of boldness within us.
In Acts 2, as the followers of Jesus met in one place and in one accord, the Spirit of God fell upon them and filled them. At that point, Peter began to speak and preach with boldness, and many were saved.
E. Consistent prayer makes us available for miracles.
In Acts 3:1, as they were gone for their hour of prayer, the Spirit of God manifested Himself to Peter and John to perform the miracle of healing the lame man at the gate. In Acts 10:9, as Peter went up on the housetop for his normal noon hour of prayer, God began to give him revelation that would revolutionize and expand the Church.
Will He Find Faith on Earth?
· What is faith?
· What if I have some doubt in my heart – can I still have faith?
· Can my faith increase? How?
1. Faith Overcomes Unbelief
A. To prevail in prayer, we need faith.
"For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that overcomes the world -- our faith" -- 1 Jn 5:4.
B. James 1:6
Ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed.
C. In Mat 9:28, Jesus asked two blind men, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" He constantly asks us the same question.
D. Lack of faith or unbelief is the greatest hindrance to our prayers. Here are some things Jesus said about lack of faith:
1. "Where is your faith?" Lk 8:25
2. "Do you still have no faith ?" Mk 4:40
3. "Because you have so little faith." Mat 17:20
4. "Stop doubting and believe." John 20:27
5. "He was amazed at their lack of faith." Mk 6:6
6. "He did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith." Mat 13:58
7. "He rebuked them for their lack of faith." Mk 16:14
2. Faith Precedes Prevailing Prayer and Intercession
A. Faith accepts God's revelation that you are created in the image of God, created to represent Him on earth, and to rule on His behalf (Gen 1:26-28).
B. Faith accepts Christ's redemption, making you a child of God with the spiritual right of access to God at any time for your need (Eph 2:18).
C. Faith accepts your identity with Jesus, not only in His death, but also in His resurrection, so that you sit in the heavenlies with Christ at the right hand of the Father (Eph 2:6).
D. Faith accepts your role as a priest to God
Rev. 1:6; 1 Peter 2:5.9; Ex 19:6; Rev 5:10, 20:6
E. Faith recognizes the Spirit's aid as He fills you and deepens your desires and guides you in intercession (Rom 8:26-27).
3. Principles of Faith
A. Faith does not control God or circumstances, but it yields control to God.
Faith is abandonment to God. It is trust.
B. Faith trusts in God no matter what happens
1. example of David -- 2 Sam 12:15-23
2. example of John the Baptist: faith to decrease -- Jn 3:27-30
3. Heroes of the faith -- Heb 11:32-39
4. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego -- Dan 3:1-30
C. Faith is developed through the Word of God -- Rom 10:17
D. Faith is believing that God is at work even when you cannot see any evidence of it
E. Jesus responds to faith: Mt 9:27, 15:22; Lk 7:2, 8:43
4. Scriptural Promises of Answered Prayer
A. "And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear." Isaiah 65:24
B. "Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you: For everyone that asks, receives; and he that seeks, finds; and to him that knocks, it shall be opened." Mat 7:7, 8
C. "And all things, whatsoever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive." Mat 21:22
D. "And whatsoever you shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son." Jn 14:13
E. "If you shall abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you." Jn 15:7
F. "And in that day, you shall ask Me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you: Whatsoever you shall ask the Father in My name, He will give to you." Jn 16:23
G. "Again, I say unto you: That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I AM in the midst of them." Mat 18:19-20
H. "Therefore I say unto you, what things soever you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them." Mk 11:24
I. "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Heb 4:16
J. "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4
K. "He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him." Psalm 91:15
L. "The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him: He also will hear their cry, and will save them." Psalm 145:18-19
M. "The Lord is far from the wicked; but He hears the prayer of the righteous." Prov 15:29
N. "Call unto me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know." Jer 33:3
O. "But you, when you pray, enter into your closet, and when you have shut the door, pray to your Father, who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret shall reward you openly." Mat 6:6
P. "And what so ever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight." 1 Jn 3:22
Spend time individually meditating on the above scriptures. Now apply these promises to one or two things you have been praying for. Begin to pray for these things in new faith that the Lord hears you. If you want, you may decide to pray together with one or two others after spending time meditating alone.
What Is Intercession?
1. Intercession is the act of pleading or making a request on the behalf of another.
A. God often seeks intercessors but does not find them:
Isa 59:16; Ezk 22:30
B. The individual who will receive a call to intercede will be guided, step by step, by the Holy Spirit, until overcoming faith brings change in the circumstance.
C. Intercession is intense prayer. Because of this, many do not heed this call of the Lord.
2. Qualifications of an intercessor
1. In Isaiah 53:12, we can see the identification of our Savior with those for whom He interceded. He "tasted death for every man" and actually descended from His throne in heaven and came and sat in our lost condition here on earth. To accomplish the assignment from the Father, Jesus had to:
· take our nature upon Himself
· learn obedience through the things He suffered
· be tempted in all points as we are tempted
· become poor for our sakes
· be made sin for us!
2. Hebrews 7:25-27 -- Jesus understands all that we go through. He makes intercession for us and effectively pleads with the Father. He pleads effectively, because He gave His life for those for whom He pleads.
3. Look at the following passages: Jn 14-17, Isa 53, Heb 7-9.
4. Through identification with Jesus Christ and the way He feels about others, we enter into the burden of intercession for individuals and groups.
1. Rom 8:26, 27. Yielded servants of God become intercessors through the work of the great Intercessor who is within them.
2. Before He can lead someone into the life of intercession, God must first deal with all that is natural and carnal.
3. As you mediate upon Rom 8:26-39, and this becomes a reality, you can pray Rom 9:23: "For I could wish that I, myself, were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen, according to the flesh."
4. As you study the early prophets, notice this principle: Isaiah had to walk barefoot and naked for three years; Jeremiah was not allowed to marry, Ezekiel was not allowed to shed a tear at the death of his wife (Eze 2:4); Hosea had to marry one who would become a harlot.
5. Meditate upon the making of a chosen vessel:
John 13:18; John 15:16-19; Jer 17-18; Acts 1:2, 9:15, Acts 10:41; 1 Cor 1:27-28; 1 Pet 2:4,9; and Rev 17:14.
The intercessor has spiritual authority through his faith and obedience.
3. Principles of Intercession
A. The secret to successful praying is coming into contact with God. We need to listen.
B. Compassion -- such an evident part of Jesus' ministry
C. Simplicity -- come like a child: openness, honesty, trust
D. 'See' the answer to your prayer in faith
Learn to visualize the thing you are praying for coming to pass: the person being healed, someone getting saved, revival coming to a city,...
E. Not based on feelings
1. Do not wait until you feel like it to intercede
2. Success in intercession is not based on how you felt about the prayer time
F. Align yourself with God's purposes, rather than asking Him to align with yours.
Form small groups, and share prayer needs. Spend time interceding for one another and lifting up the needs that have been shared. Keep in mind what we have studied about intercession, and apply this in your praying.
Warfare in Intercession
1. Call to intercession is a call to war. 2 Cor 10:3-5. Eph 6:11-13
A. Jesus dealt with the powers of darkness as the active, primary cause of the sin and suffering of this world.
A big part of His and His disciple's ministries were directed against powers of darkness (Lk 10:19). On the one hand, He dealt with the deceiver of the world and "bound the strongman (Mk 3:27)." On the other hand, He taught the truth about God to the people, to destroy the lies which the prince of darkness had placed in their minds about His Father and Himself (2 Cor 4:4).
B. There is one Satan, one devil, one prince of demons, directing all opposition to Christ and His people.
However, there are many wicked spirits called demons (lying spirits, foul spirits, deceiving spirits, unclean spirits, etc.). These are wholly given up to every manner of wickedness, deception, and lying works.
C. Jesus' goals on earth were to:
1. Conquer the Satanic prince of the world by death on the cross (Heb 2:14).
2. Deliver people from Satan's control and defeat the invisible hosts of the prince of darkness who are working at the back of mankind (1 Jn 3:8).
D. "He has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love. " – Col 1:13
E. " ...having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He as taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it." -- Col 2:14-15
F. The reason there is a war, and the reason we must battle is because Jesus is longing to manifest the glory of the Lord to us, and Hell is longing to keep us from receiving this glory.
It is never too late for any territory or people group to turn (repent) and tear down through prayer the demonic structures that are holding back our Lord's glory and to touch His heart, so His love is poured out from heaven (Joel 2:28).
2. Breaking Oppressive Bands and Strategies of the Enemy
A. Therefore He humbled their heart with labor . . . then, they cried out to the Lord in their trouble; He saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness, and the shadow of death, and broke their bands apart. -- Ps 107:12-14
1. When Israel was in Babylon, their experience was like a man shut up in prison, unable to free himself. The reason they had been assigned to imprisonment is found in Psalm 107:11, "they had rebelled against the Word of the Lord."
2. Through rejection and rebellion against the Word of the Lord, Satan, the oppressor, develops strategies throughout a territory that hinders the presence of God from moving freely. Rebellion is "as the sin of witchcraft." Through stubborn hearts against the Word of the Lord, rebellion establishes bands of wickedness individually and corporately (1 Sam 15:23).
B. We must meditate upon the Word of God (Josh 1:8-9).
It is through the Word of God that the Spirit of God comes in its fullness as the secret of our strength. All bands of wickedness must break when the Lord finds one who allows His strength to come in power.
C. God looks for people who will hold Him up as the standard for living and example of the Lord. Jesus becomes the standard.
D. "For Thou shalt break the yoke of their burden and the staff of their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, as at the battle of Midian." -- Isaiah 9:4
E. "So, it will be in that day that His burden will be removed from your shoulders and His yoke from your neck, and the yoke will be broken because of the anointing ." – Isaiah 10:27
F. Isaiah 58:6-9 says, "is this not the fast which I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke? . . . Then you will call, and I will answer."
Spend time as a class interceding in spiritual warfare for your area. Pray for God's Kingdom to come, for people to be delivered from the works and lies of the devil, and for anything else which the Lord leads you to pray.
1. Fasting is Necessary to Break the Bands of Weakness
A. In most cases, fasting is a private matter.
B. According to Jesus' instructions in Mat 6:16, fasting should be done with joy.
C. Jesus never said that fasting was a command, but taught how the discipline should be experienced. He also encouraged in this passage that fasting should never be done in an attempt to motivate or manipulate God into doing what we would like.
If our fasting is not incorporated with worship in an attempt for an increase in the subduing of our flesh to become more obedient to the ways and character of God, we have failed in the call to fast.
D. There were times throughout the Word where corporate fasts were encouraged.
When this occurred, God displayed His power and glory, enemies were overcome, and direction was given (2 Chron 20; Ezra 8).
Have you ever participated in a corporate fast (fasting together with other people for a specific issue)? How did it come about? What happened?
E. A primary purpose of fasting is to discipline our flesh for the strengthening of our spirit
1. 1 Cor 9:27: "...but I buffet my body and make it my slave; less possibly, after I have preached to others, I, myself, should be disqualified."
2. Psalm 35:13: "But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth; I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer kept returning to my bosom."
2. Types Of Fasts
A. A normal fast
1. Abstaining from all food sources, except water.
2. Jesus in the wilderness
Jesus' fast aided his communion with the Father during His wilderness experience. It was this fellowship with God and meditation upon His Word which enabled Jesus to withstand the temptations of the devil.
B. A partial fast
1. A restriction of diet, but not total abstinence.
2. Daniel fasted this way in Babylon
He fasted so the cultures of that nation would not hurt his relationship with the Lord, or distort the revelation that God would bring into his spirit. By fasting and denying himself, he was able to continually influence his people, influence the government of Babylon, and receive the necessary revelation for latter days that has effect upon our lives today.
C. An absolute fast
1. Consists of no food or water.
2. This fast should be dictated as a clear directive from the throne of God.
Generally, such a fast should not exceed three days. Moses fasted 40 days without food or water as he was on the mountain. This was a supernatural fast, and not intended to be our usual pattern.
3. Esther participated in a fast like this and a group of people (the Jews) were saved. Read Esther 4 on how the Lord changed circumstances to accomplish His purposes.
3. Some fasts in the Bible
A. Acts 9:9: "and he was three days without sight, and neither ate or drank"
1. Occurrence: Involuntary fast inflicted on Paul from the Lord.
2. Result: Call and vision occurred which brought salvation to the Gentile nations.
B. Deut 9:9: "When I went up to the mountain to receive the tablets . . . I neither ate bread or drank water" (Exo 24-32).
1. Occurrence: God called Moses to establish covenant with His people.
2. Result: Received the law and the pattern for the tabernacle and Levitical worship.
C. 1 Kings 19:8: "So he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God."
1. Occurrence: Jezebel's threat had caused Elijah to flee from his prophetic mission in Israel.
2. Result: Heard the voice of God and gained strategy on how to overcome the wicked rule of Ahab and Jezebel.
D. Joel 2:15: "Blow a trumpet in Zion; consecrate a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly . . ."
1. Occurrence: Israel in desolation as a nation.
2. Result: God promised restoration (Joel 2:18-32).
E. Ez 8:21-23: "I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava…."
1. Occurrence: Ezra attempting to lead people from Babylon.
2. Result: Deliverance from the hand of the enemy and ambushes by the way.
4. Principles of Fasting
A. Fasting is not to get God's attention -- rather it is to get our attention onto God
B. Reminds us we are sustained by God's Word (Mat 4:4) -- Fast from food; feast on God
C. Fasting can increase our intimacy with God
2. Wrong motives
3. Health -- use wisdom & prayerfully decide how you will fast
E. Fasting is more than simply not eating -- must include faith and praying more
Action Steps: Write down three or four specific things you will do in your life (or do differently( as a result of this teaching about prayer, fasting, and intercession:
1. Revival Prayer
A. We will only have revival if we pray.
Revival means those times of divine visitation where God stirs the Church, believers are set ablaze for Christ, and unbelievers are convicted by the Holy Spirit, and a wave of repentance occurs, creating a fresh inrush of divine life.
B. Characteristics of revival prayer
1. God will not depend upon our human personality.
2. God will not depend upon money, organization, and advertising.
3. The movement will be entirely under the control of the Spirit, & God will know when human hands have touched the glory.
4. The Lord Jesus Christ will be the center of attraction.
2. Three Areas in Which to Focus Intercession
A. The upcoming generation: Read Psalm 78:1-8
B. Developed leadership.
1. Acts 17 states that Paul and Silas "set the town in an uproar" because they preached and demonstrated the power of the Lord. They even said, "These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also." God wants men and women that can turn cities and nations upside down..
2. God is raising leadership to accomplish His vision. "For the Lord had looked down from heaven upon the sons of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God." -- Psalm 14:2
C. The harvest
1. Never has the harvest been so ripe and never has there been so many demonic forces standing against our Lord's work as we attempt to move forward now to reap.
"Do you not say it is still four months until harvest come? Look! I tell you, raise your eyes and observe the fields and see how they are already white for harvesting. Already, the reaper is getting his wages - he who does the cutting now has his reward - for he is gathering fruit unto life eternal . . ." -- John 4:34-36
2. God is preparing His body to reap.
"Put in the sickle for the vintage harvest is ripe; come, get down and tread the grapes, for the wine press is full, vats overflow; for the wickedness of the people is great, Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For their day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision." (Joel 3:13-14). Joel 3 is a picture of the latter day Church which is to move us a step closer and bring to completion what began in Acts 2.
3. He is saying to the Church: "Arise and thresh. Arise from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you; rise to a new life! Shine -- be radiant with the glory of the Lord; for your light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you" (Isaiah 60:1- Amp.).
4. Just as prayer and intercession have been the most important key in every historical visitation from God, it will be the key for God's people as He prepares to meet them again. As the people of God, we need "to give God no rest until He established Zion as a praise in the earth." -- Isa 62:6-7
Spend time interceding together as a class. Pray for these three issues:
· the next generation (our children and youth)
· our leaders
· the harvest (for the lost to be saved)