Empower 21 – Day 2

Breakthrough and Blessing

Pastor Ronnie Floyd says that “Fasting and prayer is the gateway to spiritual breakthrough.”  I will add to that- “and blessing.”

What does breakthrough and blessing look like? For an individual:

  • Who has been struggling with addictive behavior, it looks like freedom.
  • Who is struggling physically, it looks like healing.
  • Who has a financial need, it looks like provision.
  • Who is making difficult decisions, it looks like wisdom.
  • Who is battling with worry and anxiety, it looks like peace.

What does breakthrough and blessing look like for a ministry/church and pastor/leader?

  • For a leader/pastor it’s  a renewed passion and vision for ministry.
  • For a preacher/teacher it’s new insight and revelation of the word.
  • For a worship leader it’s an enabling (anointing) to lead worshipers into the presence of God.
  • For a church member it’s a revelation that they too are a minister/missionary.
  • For a church corporately it’s an awareness and excitement that God is at work.

While these lists are not exhaustive they are illustrative of what breakthrough and blessing may look like in a person’s life and a church/ministry.

Breakthrough and blessing moves you from having a theology about God, to having a testimony of God.  It does not mean that everything happens instantaneously, but it does mean that God is at work supernaturally.

When breakthrough and blessing occur God is glorified and His Kingdom is advanced.

As you walk through the rest of 2011, continue to expect the manifestation of God’s favor. Thank Him for what He has done and what He is going to do.

Thank you for your participation in Empower 21 and for your ministry partnership.  Together we are building the Kingdom of God in Virginia.

Empower 21 – Day 20

After The Fast

Sometimes it is after the conclusion of a time of fasting and prayer that you see some of the greatest benefits.

If is after the fast that you see the manifestations of the wisdom, favor, and blessing of God.  God does not stop working because you have stopped fasting. During the fast God has been working in you as you have spent time in the word and in His presence. He has been doing a great work.

God has been working in your life privately that He may work through you publicly. In Matthew 6 Jesus said the Father who sees what you have been doing in private will reward you publicly/openly.

Fasting is very personal by the nature of its purpose and function. When we enter into a season of fasting we typically include our personal needs and/or struggles as part of our prayer list. If we deal with our personal issues in the privacy of fasting and prayer, we will not have to deal with them publicly.

Typically it is after a season of fasting and prayer that you experience the reality of increased anointing and spiritual authority.

I want to encourage you after  the conclusion of our Empower 21 ministry to continue to abide in what you have learned during the fast. What God has done during the fast is preparation for what He is going to do after the fast.

The rest of 2011 will be blessed because you have given God the first part of 2011 in fasting in prayer.

Empower 21 – Day 19

The Final Days of Our Fast

As we approach the final days of our fast I want to make a few suggestions for you to consider:

1.  Spend time praying the Word. During the final few days set aside a period of time to spend in prayer, praying the scripture.

While I have encouraged you to make a prayer list to assist in praying specifically and strategically, I am now asking you to set aside everything else and dedicate some time to just praying the Word.

How do you do that?

  • You may use a one-year Bible and pray the scripture designated for that particular day.
  • You may use a devotional Bible and pray through the scripture for a selected devotion.
  • You may use a scripture promise book and pray specific promises.
  • You may pray using a favorite passage of scripture, such as the Lord’s Prayer or Psalm 23.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to direct you in what scripture to pray.

What are the benefits of praying the scripture?

  • When you pray scripture, you are always praying in agreement with the will of God.
  • When you pray scripture, you pray about some things that you would not ordinarily pray for.
  • When you pray scripture, it is easier to release your faith to believe God and receive a rhema word or promise.

2.  Spend time primarily in worship. I would suggest that this be done on the final day of the your fast. Conclude your fast by dedicating the time in prayer to worship.

You may worship in singing, in praise, and in thanksgiving. The key is not to ask God for anything, but spend the last day thanking and praising Him.  Thank Him for what He has already done and for what you are believing He is going to do.

3.  Finally, consider spending a 24 hour period between now and the conclusion of your fast in a “liquid fast.” (There are those who for medical reasons should not participate in a liquid fast).

A “liquid fast” is simply drinking water, juice, or real fruit and vegetable drinks. Again this will not apply to everyone.

As we approach the final few days of our Empower 21 fast I want to express my appreciation for your participation and and partnership in this spiritual endeavor.

Empower 21 – Day 18

Elmer Towns is dean of religion at Lynchburg University and has written extensively on the subject of fasting.  His writing on the subject is born out of a combination of personal study and personal experience. In his book, The Beginners Guide to Fasting, he recounts the following story:

“As I was finishing a forty day fast, a book publisher asked me, “What is the greatest answer to prayer you have recieved during this fast?” He responded,  “The greatest thing is I’ve gotten to know God better”.

The greatest benefit of fasting and prayer is that it helps us to know God as never before!

Fasting is more about pursuing God than it is about getting prayers answered (although you may get some sensational answers).  Pursuing God always leads to worshiping God, and in worship we get to know God better.

Knowing God is central to growing in your relationship with him as a believer/disciple.  There is an old saying that says, “To know God is to love him, to love Him, is to trust Him, to trust Him is to obey Him, and to obey Him is to be blessed.”

I want to encourage you to continue your pursuit of God even after the conclusion of our Empower 21 ministry.  One way to do that is to incorporate the spiritual discipline of fasting into your future relationship with the Lord. (Read Matthew 6). This may have been your first fast but, don’t let it be your last. You may want to continue to fast one day a week or month.

As we approach the last few days of our fast ask yourself these questions:

  • What have I learned about God during this fast?
  • How has this new knowledge impacted my worship?
  • How can I incorporate fasting as an ongoing part of my life as a christian?

Remember the focus of fasting is GOD!

Empower 21 – Day 17

Fasting is a spiritual catalyst.  Typically as we fast and pray we become more open to what God wants to do or say to us.  We become more receptive to:

  • correction and/or repentance
  • change and renewal/revival
  • creativity and revelation

This is why the work of the Holy Spirit is accelerated during special seasons of seeking, like Empower 21.  We are more cooperative with His work in our lives.  As God works in us, He is able to do more through us; and as God is able to do more through us, His Kingdom is advanced.

A corporate fast brings many ministers into one ministry focus.  We become unified in purpose and renewed in passion.   We  go from “doing ministry” to becoming a Kingdom movement.

Individually and corporately fasting makes a difference.  This is an exciting time to be in ministry partnership!

Share your testimonies with us at http://www.vacog.org of what God is doing in life and in your church/ministry during Empower 21.

Empower 21 – Day 16

There are multiple benefits of fasting.  There are physical benefits and there are spiritual benefits, but there are also some very practical benefits that affect your day to day life. I want to share with you about three of these practical daily benefits.

Those three benefits are:

1. Fasting changes your priorities. Even the decision to fast itself is an indication that you are adjusting the priorities of your life.  Instead of beginning your day with consuming food, you begin your day with spending time with God and feeding on His word.

Fasting is a spiritual discipline and behavior of Kingdom minded people.  Kingdom minded people seek first the Kingdom of God.  The scriptures tell us that when we make the Kingdom our first priority, that God accepts the responsibility to take care of the other necessities of life.  (See Matthew 6:33).

Values determine priorities.  Fasting is a practical way of establishing  a Kingdom minded value system in our lives, that changes our priorities.

2.  Fasting changes our perspective. As we spend time in the word of God and the presence of God during a fast our perspective changes.  We begin to see things from God’s point of view.  We develop a point of view based on His truth and His character.

The result of a change of our perspective is that we experience peace and joy.  It is a supernatural work that cannot be accomplished just by positive thinking.  It is a fruit of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Fasting gives you fresh focus and vision.

3.  Fasting changes our performance. When your priorities change, your performance will change.  By performance I mean what you do and how you conduct your life.

With a different value system, outlook, and attitude on life, how you live your life changes.  The greatest testimony of the results and impact of these 21 days is simply YOU!  You become a walking testimony to the benefit of fasting and prayer.

2011 is going to be different – because you are going to be a different person as a result of beginning the New Year with fasting and prayer.

Empower 21 – Day 15

I do not profess to be an expert on the subject of fasting and prayer; however, over the years I have learned some things about it.  Just like each person’s fasting experience is different, each fast is different from a previous one. What I mean is this: No two seasons of fasting and prayer are alike. Why? Because you’re in a different “season” of your life than in a previous fast.  Another reason is because God is doing a different work in your life today than in a previous fast.

Don’t try to compare or even figure out all that God is doing during this fast. Some things God is doing during this season of fasting will not be realized until later. Sometimes the benefit of a season of fasting is realized after the fast is over.

You can be sure, however, that God is always at work in you doing more than you know.  Our tendency is to focus all of our thoughts on the one thing that we perceive to be the most pressing issue in our life. But God may have a different “agenda” than yours.

Many times I have begun a fast with a perception of what my need was, only to discover that as I fasted and prayed God revealed to me that He had a different agenda.  As a result, the focus of my praying during the fast changed.  You can count on this, no season of fasting and prayer is unproductive or wasted if our motives are pure.