Joy through Prayer and Fasting

by John and Ruth Greene

“Beware of doing your kind deeds before men, in order to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in the heavens. Thus, when you do a kind deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do, in the congregations and in the streets, to be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a kind deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your kind deed shall be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret shall Himself reward you openly.” – Matthew 6:1-4, ISR98

generosityHow often do you hear about the good works and generosity of people? Are you hearing about this firsthand? According to Yahshua [Jesus], this is a problem. Today, you often hear about what organizations of man do all the time, paraded about so that you will invest in them or their latest cause. Your Savior said that all men that sound a trumpet about their fine acts have already received their reward in full. Does this surprise you? In fact, a reward from YHWH may not be forthcoming at all. Seeking the praise, attention and adoration of man isn’t the same as seeking YHWH or His Will. (“The Dream: Christians & the Great Humanitarian Age“; “Giving to Others While Trusting in YHWH for Your Needs“)

Pharisees and Sadducees were two major branches of Judaism during the earthly ministry of Yahshua [Jesus], opposites where the Temple was concerned. The Sadducees were tied into the local ruling class, fully reliant on the existence of the Temple. The Pharisees were reliant on their social movement, importance of their political party and their school of philosophy. They distrusted one another, but became allies in their hatred of Yahshua [Jesus]. The Pharisees descended from all walks of life, believing that their own rules and traditions were just as important as YHWH’s Word. They demonstrated this by adding continually to YHWH’s Word over time. They forced their efforts on others even though they could not live up to their own standards. They believed that salvation hinged on perfect obedience to the law without any forgiveness. They were so obsessed with legal interpretations, they ignored YHWH’s message of mercy and favor. Appearances were vital. They separated themselves from anything non-Jewish by their own laws rather than the obedience to the law of YHWH. (“Leaven of the Pharisees; Leaven of the World“; “Condemnation, Dogs & Hogs“)

proud phariseeThe Sadducees relied on logic rather than faith. To them, YHWH’s Word was Genesis through Deuteronomy. They were descended from priestly nobility. They did not believe in a resurrection or eternal life. Angels and demons were figments of imagination to them. They were willing to compromise with others in order maintain influence and power. Without a doubt, some blend of these qualities fit into modern life today wherever you are. Today, you don’t need to rely on verbal readings, memorizing texts and the opinion of your peers. Today, you have the richness of scripture that you can carry in your hand, as it gradually flows into your heart as you live it through the Sanctified [Set Apart, Holy] Spirit. (“Holy Spirit 101“; “Listening to the Holy Spirit“; “The Promise of the Holy Spirit“; “Are You Rejecting YHWH’s Holy Spirit?“)

“Repent, for the reign of the heavens has come near!” – Matthew 3:2, ISR98

John the Baptist criticized Pharisees and Sadducees as hypocritical and legalistic, as they followed the letter of the law while ignoring the true intent of the law. “Bear, therefore, fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Aḇraham as father.’ For I say to you that Elohim is able to raise up children to Aḇraham from these stones. And the axe is already laid to the root of the trees. Every tree, then, which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Matthew 3:8-10, 11-12; John 8:33; Romans 9:8) This means turning aside from attitudes and beliefs of the past, eventually developing a new mindset altogether, as a new man through the Messiah. So it goes with disciples today. The essential truth hasn’t changed even with the sacrifice of the Savior. Conduct, even attitudes, can affect the favor of YHWH, effectively blocking prayer, even His hand in your life. You can overcome the temptations of life. (“The Importance of Practical Repentance“)

temptations chart

“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the congregations and on the corners of the streets, to be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and having shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place. And your Father who sees in secret shall reward you openly. And when praying, do not keep on babbling like the gentiles. For they think that they shall be heard for their many words. ” – Matthew 6:5-7, ISR98

Prayer isn’t about praying with an audience or to promote your ‘holiness.’ In fact, every disciple is to pray, so prayer is a minimum baseline, not a heady act of notoriety. (Matthew 6:8-13) Praying isn’t about praying with an established sample prayer, but about praying personally from your own experience, through your heart and mind, in close association with your Heavenly Father. Mature disciples know the importance of praying in line with YHWH’s Will, always with forgiveness in heart and mind toward others. (Matthew 6:14-15) Forgiveness is not an option. (“Is Your Forgiveness Real?“; “Break Down Walls of Darkness with Prayer“)

“And when you fast, do not be sad-faced like the hypocrites. For they disfigure their faces so that they appear to be fasting to men. Truly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place. And your Father who sees in secret shall reward you openly.” – Matthew 6:16-18, ISR98

Fastfasting Christing is the act of going without food to spend time in prayer, an expected discipline in the first century. Although it is often neglected in Christian life today, fasting is mighty and powerful, giving the Holy Spirit transforming power in your life, rooting out brokenness, producing repentance and correcting spiritual lack. As difficult as fasting can be (especially at first), it teaches self-discipline over indulging the flesh. (Psalm 35:13; Ezra 8:21) It reminds that you and every man can live with less than what you usually have. It helps you to appreciate the gifts of YHWH. (Matthew 17:20-21) It isn’t about looking ruddy, beaten down or vulnerable. (Isaiah 58:5) Fasting is a personal act between you and YHWH, not for public approval. The Jews required a yearly fast on the Day of Atonement, but some would fast twice weekly to impress others with their piety. (Leviticus 23:32) Self-sacrifice is to be done quietly, not with fanfare or the desire for praise. The disciples’ reward is that the Holy Spirit quickens YHWH’s Word in your heart. Bible truth has greater personal meaning. (2 Chronicles 7:14) The good news is that fasting is about the spiritual condition of your heart, not about the length of your fast or about a certain method. Fasting is safely built up over time using your own ‘spiritual muscle,’ (Daniel 10:3; Acts 9:9) not in trying to reach a super-spiritual goal. (Deuteronomy 9:9; 1 Kings 19:8; “The Need to Keep Spiritually Clean“; “The Power of Prayer Depends On You“)

Water only and juice fasting are also safer when your health is in question. Before and after a fast, you should consider eating only raw foods instead of the processed food fare that so many have become accustomed to. Changing to a healthy natural diet is always advised anyway, since your body is your temple, part of your service and expression of love for your Father. Whatever you do, a brief consultation with your doctor may be in order, if you are so disposed. Always follow YHWH’s leading in these matters. The Holy Spirit will guide your heart and mind when you abide in Him routinely. The reason you are fasting should be clear and purposeful. (Psalm 66:16-20; “Health & Bible Truth“; “Life Healing and Belief“; “The Promise of Healing“)

Filling yourself with YHWH’s Word is always recommended, but even more so during times of prayer and fasting. In your walk as a disciple of the Messiah, bring in the purity of YHWH’s Word and replace the roots of the world that seek to dwell there. (1 John 2:15-17) Invite the Holy Spirit to work through you to take control of your life. You must devote yourself to seeking YHWH’s face, even arranging a special time each day for this purpose. Meditate on Him when you awaken at night. Sing praises as often as you please. Focus on your Heavenly Father and make what you do an act of praise and worship. In this way, you can pray without ceasing in His presence. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Philippians 4:3-6; Psalm 1:1-2)

The happy man or woman of YHWH delights in His Word. The Bible is not a burden, but a pleasure. Don’t worry about memory or the kind of thinking that multitudes have learned in school. Instead, allow yourself to meditate on the Bible, or really break out and explore YHWH’s Word in the original language text for a deeper understanding. E-sword has made this kind of study possible for anyone with a computer and an internet connection for a download. (“Discernment: Having an Ear to Deeper Understanding“)

struggleEveryone struggles at times. You are in good company with this struggle. Remember that spiritual food makes you strong and brings a special delight as you begin to truly understand the depth of personal relevance of YHWH’s Word in your life. (1 Corinthians 2:16; 2 Corinthians 2:14-17; “The Struggle for Purity of Heart“; “Knowing Where You Stand on YHWH’s Threshing Floor“)

The intent of YHWH, the Elohim of Hosts is that you are fruitful. The evidence of this is in your heart, which overflows to others. You want to be spiritually strong so that you don’t whither when the heat of life comes. In time, you will likely find it easy to remember your favorite Bible verses as YHWH’s Word roots deeper into your life. Don’t be spiritually depleted by the spiritual weakness of the world around you. Leave unhappy things behind, including personal squabbling and strife, relying on your Elohim of Hosts. Set priorities in your family straight; YHWH first, then spousal relationship, then children – as your life comes into balance. (1 Thessalonians 5:14-15; Ephesians 6:22-30; “Disciple: Are You Bearing Fruit?“; “Messiah Teaches about Fruit in the Lives of People“; 1 John 2:18-23)

“For YHWH so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
John 3:16, RNKJV
Heavenly Father,
Thank you for sending the Messiah, your only begotten Son to be my Savior. I believe in Him and have made this belief the center of my life. Because of this, by faith I have everlasting life! Thank you! I repent of my sins and of my past, freely admitting that I have fallen short of Your glory. I look fully forward to you in my life and commit my life to You. Thank You YHWH, my Heavenly Father for setting me free in the name of your Son Yahshua [Jesus]. Amen.
genuine-articleYou will never enjoy true freedom through the Messiah and power of the Holy Spirit unless you read and absorb the Bible in prayer and trust. You will never know this freedom until you experience it for yourself. Get to know your Heavenly Father, His Son and allow the Holy Spirit to work in your life. The Holy Spirit is your teacher, your Holy Counselor that lives in you to help you learn about the truth of YHWH and His spiritual gifts.
Satan does not want you to have the excellence of YHWH in your life. People pray for protection and want to be taken care of, but often do little in growing close to Him. The world, your husband, your wife, your family, your government do not build your trust in YHWH or free you from spiritual bondage. Your church or your pastor cannot save you. Education, power and money will not free you, but only the Word of your Heavenly Father. Salvation is a daily walk, an act of love for yourself and for those around you, not a one-time event that centers only on you. Make the Word of YHWH your own, your very life!
YHWH is Yahweh, the covenant name of your Heavenly Father.
The names Yahshua and Yahushua are original language names for Jesus,
He is often referred simply as the Messiah or Master.
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