There are many ways to pray. Sometimes you can pray for a few seconds, minutes or hours. It can range from 5 seconds to many hours. Every prayer should be different. Not based on a time clock. Just pray what needs to be said. Open up your heart & mind to The Father. Just pour yourself out to Him & share with Him your needs, concerns & feelings. Be honest with Him. You cannot hide your feelings from Him. So just be honest. Tell Him what you are thankful for & what you still need. The bible says that we have not because we haven't asked. Don't be afraid to ask for what you need. But don't be asking to win a lottery or to get rich or for an expensive fancy car, etc. God is not your winning lottery ticket or a genie. He is not here to fulfill your carnal desires & greed. But He is willing to help with the things that you truly need, especially concerning Spiritual matters.
You should start your prayer with worship & thanksgiving. You don't approach The Father in a greedy attitude, give me this, give me that. I need this. I need that. But rather, you approach The King with thanksgiving and praise.
Then, you lead into what your concerns are: The Spiritual needs of others & your Spiritual needs. Then the physical needs of others. Then your physical needs. Speak to Him with your heart, not as a ritual. You are not required to keep your eyes closed or your head bowed every time that you pray. You can pray looking upward, while sitting up, while walking, etc. But some time praying while bowed & on your knees is also needful.
Then you finish with thanks and asking that His will be done and for His Kingdom to come soon. This is the pattern of prayer that Jesus set forth in Matthew 6. Then walk away from the prayer knowing that everything is in His hands and that He is in control. Do not worry. Trust Him. You have given your burdens to Him in prayer. Leave it to Him. Then go live life in accordance to His will and with His Spirit. It's all going to be alright.
You may repeat certain things/people/situations in each prayer. But do not start sounding like a broken record (exactly like yesterday's prayer). Do not use repetitive words like 10 "hail Mary"'s. Your prayers should evolve with new petitions, new thanks, etc. You should pray many times a day. Mostly a few seconds each. Pray while driving, before going into any building, any store, any restaurant, any business. Pray before reading the bible and after reading the bible. Pray before reading any website or any book. Pray over all your medicines when you pick them up from the pharmacy (in the car afterwards). Pray over your food before you eat.
Pray first thing in the morning. Pray last thing at night at bedtime. These 2 should typically be your longest prayers of the day AM and PM. Occasionally, you should cry out to The Almighty. This means to pour out your tears to Him. There are many things to pray about including people's souls and lives. So it should be easy to find something to cry out about! You should pray at least a total of 30 minutes per day. There is nothing in the scriptures which declares this. It is just my recommendation. I cannot see how that any person who is truly living for and seeking our wonderful Creator can go without at least 30 minutes of prayer per day especially in this end time generation when there is so much to be praying about! The more that you pray the better.
But you can pray for many hours per day and still not know God and He will not hear your prayers unless you are truly seeking Him and willing to repent and truly live for Him in obedience. The scriptures are very clear that He will not "hear" (meaning accept and answer) our prayers unless we are willing to surrender to Him and His Will and the Truth. John 9:31, Isaiah 59:2 If we are living for the devil, He will not accept and answer our prayers. You might pray for a job and receive a job but that doesn't mean that Jesus sent it to you. Even the devil can send you money, cars, jobs, houses, girlfriends, boyfriends, husbands, wives, friends, jewelry, things that can lead you away from Jesus! If you are living in a lifestyle of sin, the only prayers that Jesus will accept and answer positively is the prayers of repentance and salvation. Therefore to have our prayers answered, we need to be living a Holy and acceptable life to Jesus Christ. If we want Him to answer our prayers for the sick, for our family, for our friends, or for ourselves, we need to be trying our best to live for Him. We will make mistakes but we should try our best especially in this last generation of this age so near to the return of Jesus Christ!
Prayer should not be a burden. I understand that many of us have tons of people on our prayer list. And there is always something new to pray about. It is not necessary to lift up 124 names in every prayer. You can lift up, perhaps, 10 names per prayer, or just 4 names. Then in the next prayer pray for a different set of people. Sometimes you may want to just lift up into the air the notebook full of names and say something like "I lift up all of these people and all of these needs to you. You know every one of them". Sometimes you may want to stop praying for someone and replace their name with someone else. Other times, you may want to pray for someone forever or until their deliverance/healing/salvation is completed. Prayer can be made easier by knowing and understanding that Jesus already knows everything you have already said a million times and everything that you are going to say. Some times our prayer should be simply "Your will, LORD". Too many times we are asking for what we think should happen. But more often, we should simply pray "Your will be done". When we are totally exhausted at the end of the day, sometimes we can resort to total surrender to His all-knowing power and simply say "Thy will be done". You should end all prayers with "In Jesus' name". There is nothing in scripture which declares this. It is just my pastoral counsel, considering that there is power in Jesus' name and by using His name, you are declaring that you are praying under His authority and not to any other deity. It doesn't matter if you say "Dear Father", "Dear Jesus" or "Dear Holy Spirit". He is all of this and more. He is not 3 beings, 3 persons or 3 spirits or 3 god heads. So you can address Him with any of these salutations or even as "The Eternal", "The Creator", "The Almighty", "Alpha and Omega", etc. But we should always include "Jesus" name at some point in our prayer especially at the end. Although He has many titles, there is only one name by which mankind may be saved, and that is "Jesus". Acts 4:10-18. Whether you read this in English, Greek or Hebrew, it says "Jesus", not Yeshua, Yahshua, yahweh, Jehovah or any other name. Only Jesus. Click here to see proof.
It is important to have some alone time for your longer prayers. You may have to tell your spouse and kids that you are going into prayer and therefore to not bother you until you come out of the closet, bathroom, bedroom, car, etc. You should not answer the door in the morning or the phone in the morning until you have spent time in prayer. If you are married or have children, it's also important to have group prayers. The man of the house should lead group prayers at the breakfast/dinner table. The man of the house may also be led to read some scriptures to the family at some time during each day or night. If there is no man of the house, then the oldest lady of the household is to take the Spiritual lead until God provides a male leader.
As there are many ways to pray, there are also many ways to fast. Fasting is the most neglected part of the modern Christian's life. The scriptures are clear that fasting is a powerful tool that we should not neglect. The first time that you fast, you may want to fast for only one meal or for 3-6 hours. Then next time, increase to 2 meals or 6-8 hours. Then to 3 meals or 12-24 hours. Then increase over time to 2-3 days and then up to 3-7 days, etc. The point is to gradually increase the fasting lengths of time as you become more capable of fasting for longer periods of time.
When beginning a fast, declare to Jesus exactly how long the fast will be and what kind of fast you are doing, for example, "I am fasting for 24 hours and drinking only water" or "I am fasting for 7 days and drinking only water and fruit and vegetable juices, no solids". Also declare to Him why you are fasting for example "for Nancy's healing", "for my deliverance from porn", "that I will be stronger to overcome", etc.
If you get so starved to death that you cannot help but to break the fast and eat something, do not discontinue the entire fast. Just pick back up where you were and continue the rest of the fast. For example, if you are fasting for 7 days, and you break down and eat something on the 4th day, eat only that one thing and then repent and then continue the rest of the fast.
There are many ways to fast. The scriptures never say that the only way to fast is to do without all solid foods or that you cannot even have water to drink. So you choose to fast from all solids, or just from anything with sugar in it, or from all meats, or from all bread products and sugar and food coloring. etc. etc. etc. A good 7 day fast is to drink only water and fruit and vegetable juices but no solids. But your fasting should be a challenge. It should not be totally easy and pleasurable. It should be an affliction of your flesh and soul. When fasting, you should pray more than usual and you should also read the bible more than usual. The point of fasting is always to draw closer to The Creator. Even if you are fasting for Nancy's healing, the point of the fast is to humble yourself and draw closer to Jesus so that He may "hear" (accept and answer) your prayer for Nancy.
During a fast, especially longer fasts, it's important to drink more water, take showers, wash your face and wash off more often than normal. Pesticides, chemicals and other toxins that you have consumed in your daily foods/drinks before the fast are now being released and purged from your body because of the fast. You need to help your body flush out these chemicals via water inside and out. So fasting is not only good for your Spiritual soul, it's also good for your physical body to get rid of these toxins. In fact, science has proven that fasting for 3 days before cancer radiation therapy helps the therapy to be more effective and with less harmful side effects.
When fasting, you should not tell anyone except those that you have to. You have to tell your wife/husband so that he/she will not offer you food. They can be praying for you as well. But you should not tell people who do not need to know. Fasting is a private personal spiritual matter. When concluding your fast, start with light weight soft foods such as jello, pudding, liquid soups, etc. Your stomach will not like you if you drop a heavy brick of food into it immediately after it has not had any solids for 7+ days. Give your stomach time to adjust.
The ideal situation for a fast would be some solitude time alone with Jesus. Perhaps a camping trip, a trip to the cabin, a night in a motel room, etc. Getting away from the cell phones, television, computers, laptops, internet, will greatly help you to hear from Jesus since the trash of the world has been turned off. During fasting, we should abstain from all sex. See 1 Cor. 7:5. When fasting, we are bringing our physical bodies into subjection to The Holy Spirit and drawing closer to The Holiness of God.
How to Study The Bible
Most people only read the bible but they do not study it. There is a big difference. Reading is just reading. But studying is getting deep into the scriptures & putting some work into it to really study what it is saying. The first thing to know about reading or studying, is that very often when you attempt to read or study the bible, the enemy will send every distraction possible to prevent you from reading or studying effectively. You will get more phone calls, text messages, emails & visitors when you attempt to pray, read or study the bible than at any other time! Therefore, before prayer, reading or studying the bible, or getting into worship, you really need to turn off your phone, internet, etc and lock the door! Perhaps put up a sign that says "DO NOT DISTURB". Tell everyone in the house that you are entering your private time with Jesus & to leave you alone until you come out of your prayer closet or room.
There will also be attempts of your carnal flesh to become sleepy or distracted, or the enemy (fallen angels) could send sleepiness. You may want to consider verbally rebuking any sleepiness & distractions of the carnal flesh & distractions of fallen angels before you begin or as soon as you notice any distraction. A little bit of apple juice or fruit juice a few minutes before you begin can increase energy & alertness. But be careful because too much could eventually cause a mental/physical crash! Aromatherapy of rosemary, orange or frankincense essential oils can increase alertness & focus, as well as memory of what you have read & learned.
When reading or studying the bible, you need to always start with prayer & end with prayer. Read or study what you feel led to read/study or areas that you need to improve in or that you need to examine/test. For daily reading, you will just read where you are in the bible for that day as you read through the bible. But for study, you will need to go with a specific topic/doctrine or book that is specific to that study.
When studying the bible, read slowly! Think about what you are reading. Make sure you understand each & every word. Do not be in a hurry! Look up every word that you are not 100% sure that you understand. Look in a dictionary for words that you do not know the definition of. Also look at the Greek, Assyrian, or Hebrew words that were originally written for words or verses that you want/need clarification on what it is really saying or meaning. If you are using a cross reference bible that shows related verses, make use of those cross references! Read the related verses recommended for each verse that you want to study more. Compare several other bible translations for verses that you are unsure about or want to go deeper into understanding. I highly recommend www.blueletterbible.org for studying online. On their website, you can type in any verse number or a word to search for. Then compare 13-17 bible translations, as well as see the original Greek or Assyrian words, look up Strong's concordance references & read bible commentaries, etc. Although you can/should use some online tools to help in your studies, you need to read & study the actual scriptures in your own personal hard copy of the bible that you have at home. When you read scripture online, you can only see so much of the page within a limited view. But by reading & studying in the real paper pages of the bible, you can see the overview of 2 entire pages which allows for God/Jesus to direct your eyes toward another particular word/verse related to the topic or toward a future topic. Certain words may appear to stand out from the rest of the page as He directs your studies. That doesn't happen so much online. There is greater power in the hard copies of the bible. It's important that you know how to read & study at home without any assistance from the internet because one day soon, you are not going to be able to get online. The Great Tribulation is coming & there will no longer be electricity or internet in many locations. Use what's available to you online for now, but also learn how to use your hard copies of Strong's Concordance & bible dictionaries & other reference books that you have at home & be building your own personal library.
Do not assume that what you already believe is correct. Even if you were taught a specific doctrine by a trusted pastor, dad, mom, grandparent, friend, church, religion, denomination, school, website, etc. You need to be open to correction via the scriptures & proven facts of history & via the movement/leading of The Holy Spirit. When studying, avoid ministry/church/religion websites as much as possible because most religious websites are just going to teach you what they think/believe. Stick with the facts shown via the concordance (online & hard copy at home), dictionaries, encyclopedias, history books, historical websites, Wikipedia & reference books/websites. You want the facts, not what someone believes which someone else has taught them. I believe that this website is different. Instead of teaching you what other humans, websites, religions, churches, pastors & denominations have attempted to teach me, I point you directly to the scriptures & historical facts. I give you the documentation, something that other websites do not do. Continue to pray during your study. Ask Jesus to lead you in your study & to help you understand & to give you discernment & to protect you from deception. Document everything. Take notes & test everything you read. Ask "What is the proof of this?". Look at both sides. Look at the possibilities. For example, if you are studying the "Sabbath", what scriptures seem to prove that the Sabbath must be kept on the 7th day?, or 1st day?, Saturday?, Sunday?, no day?, no requirement?, yes requirement?, etc. Look at all the possibilities in scripture and documented history and facts that can be proven. Which one has the most proof? This will take time & effort. It could take days, weeks or months. It may require some fasting or even extensive fasting! It could take weeks of prayer & studying! You may have even studied the topic before & already concluded what the truth is, but were wrong! So be willing to prove yourself wrong & be corrected by The Holy Spirit when the scriptures actually proclaim different from what you thought. Re-examine your doctrines from time to time. Test yourself & what you think that you know. Continue to read the bible over & over & over. Continue your studies your entire life. No one is too old to learn the truth & be delivered from the traditional doctrinal errors of mankind. Take everything into sincere prayer.
It is my sincere prayer and hope that this article in prayer and fasting will help you to draw closer to our Heavenly Father, in Jesus Name.
Apostle Tim of I Saw The Light Ministries
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How to Effectively Fast, Pray and Study the Bible That Jesus May Hear Your Prayers. Copyright 2016 I Saw The Light Ministries