iPray – 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting – Day 16 – Tuesday

Prayer and fasting has spiritual, physical, and practical benefits.

Without a doubt the primary benefit of a season of fasting and prayer is the spiritual results. It is also a  medical fact that fasting, in particular, has physical benefits.  But there are practical day-to-day benefits of a season of fasting and prayer.

The practical benefits, the effect on your day to day life and living, is too potentially diverse to list. However, there are some simple tools we can use to illustrate some of the practical benefits. One of those tools is what I call the ABC test.

After a season of prayer and fasting you should notice a difference in:

A- Attitude –  fasting restores you physically, refreshes you spiritually, but it also renews you mentally.  During a season of fasting as you spend extended periods of time in the Word, worship, and in prayer, the Holy Spirit renews your mind.

God the Father is the Great Parent, God the Son is the Great Physician, and God the Holy Spirit is the Great Psychiatrist. I know that is a new concept for some as it relates to the person and work of the Holy Spirit, but it helps illustrate a powerful truth.  Expect an “attitude adjustment” as a result of the season of prayer and fasting.

B – Behavior  – during prayer and fasting the Holy Spirit will convict and seek to correct our behavior.  Sometimes we are convicted about some behavior we need to STOP doing.  And sometimes we are convicted about behavior we need to START doing.

I am confident that one of the lasting practical benefits is that your day to day behavior changes as a result of participating in iPray. Remember, our daily walk influences the impact of our daily witness. Our faith is strengthened during a season of prayer and fasting.  What we believe determines how we behave.

C – Conversation – our day to to day talk as a result of prayer and fasting.  Because our minds are renewed and our hearts are re-shaped as a result of spending extended time in the presence of the Lord, our conversation changes. According to scripture our talk, our words are the greatest indicator of the condition of our heart.

We begin to express with our mouths what God has been doing in our hearts. Clean hearts produce clean words. Re-shaped hearts produce spiritual words. Our conversation will be more characterized by words that are positive and faith-filled.  We will be an encourager when we speaks words of edification.

Give yourself the ABC test.  As a result of your participation in iPray, how has my:

  • Attitude
  • Behavior
  • Conversation

changed.

The goal of iPray is not to change just 21 days of your life, but to change your life for all of 2012 and beyond.

Blessings,

Bishop Corder

P.S. Don’t forget to share your testimonies and praise reports with us.  Also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

iPray – 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting – Day 15 – Monday

In Matthew 6, Jesus placed fasting on the same level as praying and giving.  He said, “When you fast, when you pray, and when you give.”

Praying, fasting, and giving are a three-fold cord of spiritual exercise that is powerful!

For the past two weeks we have practiced the disciplines of prayer and of fasting.  I want you to consider for this final week to include the exercise of giving. Set aside a certain amount of money to give away as an offering each day of this final week.  As you go throughout your day, be open to the leadership of the Holy Spirit in where or to whom you are to give your offering that day.

The amount can be determined in prayer and after discussion with your spouse.  While the amount is important, it is not primary.  What is primary is the combination of these three disciplines. The scripture says in Ecclesiastes 4:12, “A three-fold cord is not easily broken.”  Certainly the scriptures do not mandate practicing all three at once.  This is simply a suggestion.

I have practiced this pattern for years during extended fasts with amazing results.  My tendency is to be self-oriented. This practice helps me to focus on others.  As we are praying and fasting now we are also becoming open not only to receiving but also to giving to others.

If you are facing a season of financial challenge, this may be something you want to consider.  This is not, however, a substitute for tithing. It is a way of planting “seed.”  All three of these disciplines; praying, fasting, and giving are exercises of faith.  God honors faith.

Very often the act of giving opens up the door to further ministry into the life of the one who is the recipient of your offering.  It opens up opportunities for prayer, witnessing, and relationship building.

I am confident of this; you cannot pray, fast, and give without being a blessing and receiving a blessing.

iPray is a 21 day spiritual adventure.  This is an exciting time. Thanks for your partnership.

Blessings,

Bishop Corder

iPray – 21 Days of Payer and Fasting – Day 14 -Sunday

As we read the accounts of prayer and fasting in the book of Acts, we begin to understand what a significant role this spiritual practice played in the life of the early church.

In Acts 13:2-3, the scripture give us insight into fasting when it says, “One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Dedicate Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them.’ So after more fasting and payer, the men laid their hands-on them and sent them on their way.”

It was during a period of fasting they heard the Holy Spirit speak. – Fasting makes us more sensitive and aware of the voice of the Holy Spirit.  As a result of your participation in iPray, expect to hear God speak.

The calling of Barnabas and Saul was confirmed to the church while they were fasting. – It may be that during iPray that God will confirm His calling on your life and give you specific direction.

Before Barnabas and Saul began their ministry they spent time in prayer and fasting.  This is the same pattern that Jesus followed.  Before he began His earthly ministry he fasted for 40 days. Part of the biblical preparation for ministry includes fasting. For some of you involved in iPray, this is a time of spiritual preparation.

Meditate on this passage this week.  Spend time, not only in prayer, but in worship also. Spend time in the company of godly men and women.  Listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit. Take what God says seriously and obey Him.

God will speak and set the course of the next season of your life as you pray and fast!

iPray – 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting – Day 13 – Saturday

As we come to the close of our second week of iPray, I want to remind you why we are beginning 2012 with prayer and fasting.

The issue is NOT why we are praying and fasting, but why we are beginning the year doing so.  The reason is because of the biblical principle of “First Fruits.” This principle is found all throughout scripture, in the Old Testament and in the New Testament.

While the principle is primarily a stewardship principle, it has a broader application. The Hebrew meaning of First Fruits is “the first in place, time, order, or rank.”  God wants first place in every area of our lives, and He blesses us when we give Him first place.

One of the most familiar promises as it relates to this principle is found in Matthew 6:33, “Seek you first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Putting God first is the primary step in bringing our life into proper alignment. God is a God of order and if He is not first, the rest of our life will be out of proper order. Let me give you a simple illustration using the acronym F.I.R.S.T.

God wants to be first in our:

F – finances – this recognizes God’s ownership and our management of our resources

I – interest – this keeps our interest – (hobbies, friends, etc.), from becoming idols

S – schedules – this makes Christ a part of our life everyday

T – troubles – where we turn in trouble shows who or what we trust

How does this relate to iPray?  As we fast and pray during the first days of a new year, we are setting a pattern and fulfilling a principle that brings God’s blessing for the rest of the year.

Beginning the New Year with prayer and fasting is a biblical and practical means of establishing God as first in our life for the rest of 2012.  One of the most important things that God will do in your life during iPray is bring your priorities into alignment with His Word.  Having the proper priorities prevents a lot of problems in our lives.

2012 will be a blessed year because of your participation in iPray.

P.S. Don’t forget to take advantage of the prayer and fasting resources found at http://www.awake21.org.

iPray – 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting – Day 12 – Friday

Everyone’s prayer and fasting experience is different.

There  are many reasons why our spiritual journey/experiences are different, but I want to look at just three reasons in this blog.  These three reasons can be summarized in three simple words:

1.   Different – We are all different.

There is nobody just like you. You are unique.  Your thoughts, your feelings, your perceptions, everything about you is different.  You are one of a kind.  How does that truth relate to iPray?  It means you cannot judge what is happening in these 21 days in your life compared to someone else’s experience.

2.  Development – We are all at different stages of spiritual development.

Only God really knows where you are in relationship to Him.  Spiritual development has nothing to do with how long you have been a Christian or a member of a church.

Because of this fact, what God wants to accomplish in your life during iPray cannot be compared to anyone else’s experience. His purpose for you during this fast is unique to you.

3.  Destiny – Your destiny is different from anyone else’s.

God’s will, His plan and purpose for you, is not like anyone else’s.  His will for your life is tailor made just for you.  See Romans 12:2.

When God saved you, He put you on a personalized “course,” therefore you cannot compare your spiritual journey to anyone else’s.

Why have I chosen this topic for today’s blog?  Because I know our tendency to compare ourselves to and against others.  As you have participated in iPray, no doubt you have shared with others, and they have shared with you what this season has been like.

Sometimes we try to evaluate how our prayer and fasting experience measures up to someone else’s.  When we do that we get our eyes on ourselves or on others and get our focus off God.

iPray, these 21 days of prayer and fasting, is primarily about you and your relationship to God. Stay focused and stay faithful.  He that has begun a good work in you is doing more than you know.

Blessings.

Bishop Corder

P.S. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

iPray – 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting – Day 11 – Thursday

In Mark chapter 9 there is a very familiar passage of scripture relating to prayer and fasting.

The disciples encountered a man with an unclean spirit, (deaf and dumb spirit), and apparently they had  tried to cast out the unclean spirit with no success.  Then Jesus comes along and sets the man free.

The Bible seems to indicate the disciples were embarrassed by their lack of success.  So they waited until they were alone in the house and asked Jesus why they had not been able to bring freedom to the man.

Mark 9:28 – 29 gives us an account of their exchange. Verse 28 says, “ And when He, (Jesus), had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, Why could we not cast it out?” So He said to them, “This kind can come out but by prayer and  fasting.”

There has been much written and many sermons preached from this passage of scripture.  I want to share with you one of the most simple but significant truths found in these verses: Jesus basically said to the disciples, “You were not successful because you were not prepared.

The disciples were NOT prepared for the ministry opportunity they had come upon. One of the significant purposes of prayer and fasting in the life of  the believer is that it prepares us for ministry opportunities.

Ministry opportunities become Kingdom victories as we prepare ourselves through the discipline of prayer and fasting.

iPray is a 21 day season of spiritual preparation that will equip, (prepare), you for personal ministry opportunities/victories in 2012.

Thanks for your partnership in building the Kingdom, one life at a time.

Blessings,

Bishop Corder

iPray 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting – Day 10 – Wednesday

Do you recall the first time you were directed of the Lord to fast?  I do.  It was just a few days before Christmas several years ago.  We were having a fellowship gathering at our home of the leaders of the church I served as pastor.  As I was talking with one of the leaders,  the Holy Spirit began to talk to me.  Very clearly I heard these words, “I want you to go on a fast.”  No one heard those words but me.  No one heard the argument I had with the Lord within myself either.

“God do you know what time of year it is? Do you realize I have just consumed sweets and caffeine?  This is not a good time to fast.” (Is there ever a good time to fast?)  After a few moments I said, “Ok I will fast.”

I fasted for several days. Immediately after the fast was completed I heard the Lord speak to me again.  This time He said,  “You have missed most of the significant things I wanted to do in your life this year.  You have to learn to listen.”

Those words literally changed my life.  From that point on I became very intentional about “listening to hear” what the Lord wanted to say to me.  Most of the significant things that the Holy Spirit has spoken to me about, I would have missed if I had not been intentional about “listening to hear.”

It was during that season of fasting that I became sensitive and receptive to the Holy Spirit.  That’s one of the results of prayer and fasting; you become not only sensitive to the Holy Spirit, but receptive to Him as well.

How do you know if you are receptive to the Holy Spirit? You know by how you respond to Him, how you react to His speaking.  Simply stated, you obey Him.  If we are truly receptive to the Holy Spirit we will be obedient to the Holy Spirit.  And you know, when you obey the Holy Spirit you are blessed.

Fasting prepared me to be receptive and obedient to the voice of the Holy Spirit.  Without exaggeration that season changed my life and ministry.  Not all seasons of prayer and fasting have been as dramatic as that first one; but I remind you again, God will always honor prayer and fasting because prayer and fasting honors Him.

During iPray God is getting you ready.  Listen to hear what the Holy Spirit says; obey Him and be blessed.

Thanks for your participation in iPray and you partnership in ministry.

Blessings,

Bishop Corder