Are Those Mercy Drops I Hear?

 We are now at the mid-way point of our 21 day Daniel Fast and words fail to convey the breakthroughs and blessings that so many saints are reporting as they feast upon “bread that the world knows not.”  It has been an added bonus to watch so many believers that have never experienced the cleansing power and resulting clarity of Fasting-Praying-Giving.  As one brother in the Lord shared with me, “I have been a Christian over 25 years and this is first time these truths have ever been shared with me . . . this is my first fast but it will not be my last.”

“Satan dreads nothing but prayer. His one concern is to keep the saint from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless religions. He laughs at our toil, mocks our wisdom, but Satan trembles when we pray.”             Reverend Samuel Chadwick 

 In this brief entry I want to challenge you to take your Bible and find the sixth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. Let’s do an inductive Bible study on this text and let the Word be our authority and sufficiency. Our Lord is teaching a truth that the old preachers long ago coined the “Threefold Cord” of Giving, Praying and Fasting. Jesus taught with an expectation that His disciples would be characterized by giving (verses 1-3), praying (verse 5-15) and fasting (16-18).  Take your Bible and look at verses two and three; “when thou doest thine alms” (vs.2), when thou doest alms” (vs.3) (Emphasis Added).   

The same EXPENCTANCY is present in our Lord’s teaching concerning the other two “strands” of praying and fasting.  Notice in verses six and seven concerning prayer, “when thou prayest” (vs.6) and “when ye pray” (vs. 7) (emphasis added.).  Here is where many believers have stumbled because while there has been a priority (and rightly so) on giving and praying there has been profound neglect concerning the third strand of the “Threefold Cord” called fasting.  Notice verses sixteen and seventeen of Matthew chapter sixteen; “Moreover, when ye fast” (vs. 16) and “when thou fastest” (vs. 17) reveals that our Lord had every expectation that His disciples would place the same priority on fasting as that of giving and praying.  I am convinced that one of the chief culprits behind the spiritual death and numerical decline so many churches are experiencing is directly related to their failure to experience victory through Fasting. 

“Our Lord had every expectation that His disciples would place the same priority on fasting as that of giving and praying.”

Let’s look at what the Scriptures have to say about this.  Take your Bible and go to chapter seventeen of the Gospel of Matthew and find verses fourteen through twenty-one.  Jesus had just returned from a mountain top retreat where Peter, James and John have witnessed the Transfiguration of Jesus and were introduced to Moses and Elijah (verses 1-13). They arrive to find a disappointed father and doubting disciples because of a failed attempt to deliver a little boy from demonic possession. There are two facts that are essential to correctly interpret what has taken place. First, the disciples have been taught the principles of the “Threefold Cord” of Giving, Praying and Fasting prior to this incident (Matthew 6:1-18). Secondly, they have already been given authority to heal and cast out demons (Matthew 10:1).  So why were their attempts to liberate this little boy from demonic possession not affective?  Our Lord answers that question for them and us in verse 20; “Because of your unbelief.”  This was a failure of faith. They had failed to apply the truth they had been taught (Matthew 6) and appropriate the authority they had been given (Matthew 10). 

Have you ever wondered why it is that with the proliferation of Bible studies, conferences, retreats, special events, etc. that there remains so much defeat, discouragement and discontent among Christians? We are quick to claim the promise of verse 20, “and nothing shall be impossible unto you” but fail to realize that the promise of “nothing shall be impossible unto you” is dependent upon the “by prayer and fasting” of verse 21.

I pray you are enjoying the journey and preparing for your Heavenly Father to “reward thee openly” as promised in Matthew chapter six.  Yes, I am certain that is the pitter-patter of mercy drops failing . . .

Maranatha!

Pastor Jeff