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Fasting and Continuous Prayer (Jesus Prayer) During Lent

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  • Sanu Abraham
    *Fasting* This is a call for every member to join for chain prayer and fasting. This is the time we consecrate ourselves, our families and our Church to God.
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 11, 2009
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      This is a call for every member to join for chain prayer and fasting. This is the time we consecrate ourselves, our families and our Church to God. Believe God for victories and breakthroughs in every area of our life.

      *Then Joshua said to the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you." Joshua: 3: 5*

      Throughout history, God has called on his people to humble themselves
      through fasting and prayer. Fasting is a spiritual weapon God uses to
      advance His Kingdom, spark revival and bring victory in people's lives.

      *Why Fast?*

      Declare a fast, Proclaim a solemn assembly; Gather the elders And all the inhabitants of the land To the house of the LORD your God, And cry out to the LORD.*Joel:1:14*

      "When a man is willing to set aside the legitimate appetites of the body to concentrate on the work of praying, he is demonstrating that he means business, that he is seeking with all his heart, and will not let God go unless He answers. (Arthur Wallis)

      *Five Reasons for fasting:*

      *1. Jest Fasted:* Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry. Mathew 4:1-2

      Before he began His ministry, Jesus fasted forty days. He knew he was going to need spiritual strength to fulfill his purposes. Fasting makes us physically weak but spiritually strong and prepares us to do God's work.

      *2. Fasting is an act of humility and consecration*

      I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting, Psalm 35:13

      *3. Fasting helps us become sensitive to the Holy Spirit.*

      While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, " Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them" Acts: 13:2

      *4. Fasting Brings Revival:*

      In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. And I set my face unto the Lord God, and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes. Daniel 9:2-3

      *5. Fasting is healthy:*

      Fasting cleanses your digestive system from toxins. Doctors consider fasting a cure for certain allergies and diseases. By learning to deny ourselves and exercising discipline, fasting breaks unhealthy addictions in our lives.

      How do I continuously pray when I am fasting, in regular work day? Please read Jesus Prayer�

      *Jesus Prayer*

      The Jesus Prayer also called the Prayer of the Heart or Prayer of the Mind is a short, formulaic prayer often uttered repeatedly. It has been widely used, taught and discussed throughout the history of the Eastern Churches. The exact words of the prayer have varied from the simplest possible involving Jesus' name to the more common extended form:

      �Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.�

      The Jesus Prayer is one of the most profound and mystical prayers and it is often repeated continually as a part of personal ascetic practice. The practiced as contemplative or meditative chanting, silently. The aim of the Christian practicing it is not humility, love, or purification of sinful thoughts, but becoming holy and seeking union with God which subsumes them.Practicing the Jesus Prayer is strongly linked to mastering passions of both soul and body, e.g. by fasting. *The emphasis is on the meaning not on the
      mere utterance of certain sounds.*

      It stands along with the regular expected actions of the believer (prayer, almsgiving, repentance, fasting etc.) as the response of the Orthodox Tradition to St. Paul's challenge to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thess 5:17).
      It is also linked to the Song of Solomon's passage from the Old Testament:
      "I sleep, but my heart is awake" (Song of Solomon 5:2)

      The analogy being that as a lover is always conscious to his or her beloved, people can also achieve a state of "constant prayer" where they are always conscious of God's presence in their lives.

      The Jesus Prayer is not limited only to monastic life or to clergy but all members of the Christian Church is advised to practice this prayer, laypeople and clergy, men, women and children.

      People who say the prayer as part of meditation often synchronize it with their breathing; breathing in while calling out to God (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God) and breathing out while praying for mercy (have mercy on me, a sinner). Another option is to say (orally or mentally) the whole prayers while breathing in and again the whole prayer while breathing out and yet another, to breathe in recite the whole prayer, breathes out while reciting the whole prayer again. This state is regarded as the accomplishment of Saint Paul's exhortation to the Thessalonians to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

      *Levels of the prayer*

      As general guidelines for the practitioner, different levels in the practice of the prayer are distinguished. Three stages of Prayer:

      � The oral prayer (the prayer of the lips) is a simple recitation,
      still external to the practitioner

      � The focused prayer, when "the mind is focused upon the words" of
      the prayer, "speaking them as if they were our own."

      � The prayer of the heart itself, when the prayer is no longer
      something we do but who we are.

      Once this is achieved the Jesus Prayer is said to become "self-active". It is repeated automatically and unconsciously by the mind, like a (beneficial) Earworm. Body, through the uttering of the prayer, mind, through the mental repetition of the prayer, are thus unified with "the heart" (spirit) and the prayer becomes constant, ceaselessly "playing" in the background of the mind, like a background music, without hindering the normal everyday
      activities of the person.

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