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Why Fasting and Prayer is Important, Part 20 (The Prayer Motivator Devotional #340)

05 Jul

Our prayer motivator verse from the Word of God today is Psalm 35:13 which reads: “But as for me, when they [my enemies] were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom.”

Allow me to share with you some important points regarding this verse from Matthew Henry’s Commentary:

How tenderly, and with what a cordial affection, he had behaved towards them in their afflictions: They were sick. Even the palaces and courts of princes are not exempt from the jurisdiction of death and the visitation of sickness. Now when these people were sick, David mourned for them and sympathized with them in their grief. They were not related to him; he was under no obligations to them; he would lose nothing by their death, but perhaps be a gainer by it; and yet he behaved himself as though they had been his nearest relations, purely from a principle of compassion and humanity. David was a man of war, and of a bold stout spirit, and yet was thus susceptible of the impressions of sympathy, forgot the bravery of the hero, and seemed wholly made up of love and pity; it was a rare composition of hardiness and tenderness, courage and compassion, in the same breast. Observe, He mourned as for a brother or mother, which intimates that it is our duty, and well becomes us, to lay to heart the sickness, and sorrow, and death of our near relations. Those that do not are justly stigmatized as without natural affection.

We will discuss this verse further in the next broadcast.

My personal encouragement today is this: Families are in need of agreat amount of intercession. Even if your marriage and family seem strong right now, seek out those familiesin your community who are on the rocks and make it your mission to pray for them daily.

Our prayer motivator quote today is from C.H. Spurgeon. He said: “If a church is to be what it ought to be for the purposes of God, we must train it in the holy art of prayer. Churches without prayer-meetings are grievously common. Even if there were only one such, it would be one to weep over. In many churches the prayer-meeting is only the skeleton of a gathering: the form is kept up, but the people do not come. There is no interest, no power, in connection with the meeting. Oh, my brothers, let it not be so with you! Do train the people to continually meet together for prayer. Rouse them to incessant supplication. There is a holy art in it. Study to show yourselves approved by the prayerfulness of your people. If you pray yourself, you will want them to pray with you; and when they begin to pray with you, and for you, and for the work of the Lord, they will want more prayer themselves, and the appetite will grow. Believe me, if a church does not pray, it is dead. Instead of putting united prayer last, put it first. Everything will hinge upon the power of prayer in the church.”

Our prayer motivator devotional today is part 20 of our series titled “WHY FASTING AND PRAYER IS IMPORTANT” from Dr. John R. Rice.

Before Pentecost the disciples in Acts 1:14, “continued with one accord in prayer and supplication”. Otherwise, I feel sure they would not have received the blessings that God gave them. They prayed, but they more than prayed—they begged God. That isn’t all. They doubtless fasted as well. Jesus had said about His disciples in Luke 5:35, “But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days”. Jesus had just been taken away; now the disciples, children of the bridechamber, fasted as they prayed and begged God for the power to get about His business! They prayed, yes, but they fasted as they prayed. I do not know that it specially matters just that they did without food. What matters is that they turned their hearts wholly, unreservedly, and without interruption, to getting all the power God had for them and to being possessed and covered and filled with the Holy Spirit Himself!

When Peter came to preach the Gospel to Cornelius and his household, Cornelius said to him in Acts 10:30, “Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house…” Perhaps that is part of the secret why Cornelius and his household were filled with the Holy Spirit at the same time they were saved. This is the only specific instance on record in the Bible, as far as I know, where people were filled with the Holy Spirit at the same time they were saved. Evidently all the heart-searching, all the surrendering of the will, all the confession of sin, all the yielding of the heart that was necessary for Cornelius to be filled with the Holy Spirit was already done by the time he learned how to be saved!

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