Those ready to meet Jesus will be a people who pray and fast. They will follow the example of Jesus in every way, including Jesus’ prayer life. Jesus began His ministry with 40 days of prayer and fasting. At times He spent entire nights in prayer. Prayer was necessary for Him to stay connected with His Father and be strengthened for His daily conflicts with Satan.
Before Jesus entered into the 40 days of prayer and fasting, He was filled with the Spirit as an answer to prayer at His water baptism: “When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, ‘You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased’ ” (Luke 3:21, 22). The baptism of the Holy Spirit was a major factor in Jesus’ spiritual life.
The same will be true of those ready for Christ’s return. They will be a Spirit-filled people who have a consistent, powerful prayer life. They will have this kind of prayer life because they will be filled with God’s Spirit, which is also the Spirit of intercession: “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication” (Zech. 12:10). It is the Holy Spirit that keeps giving them the desire to pray. In fact, the Spirit calls them to pray, directs their prayers, gives them faith, and empowers their prayers. In short, they continuously pray in the Spirit as Paul counsels: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” (Eph. 6:18).
Charles Finney, the well-known nineteenth century revivalist/evangelist, said:
“If you would pray in faith, be sure to walk every day with God. If you do, He will tell you what to pray for. Be filled with His Spirit, and He will give you objects enough to pray for. He will give you as much of the spirit of prayer as you have strength of body to bear” (Sermons on Gospel Themes, pp. 56, 57).”
God’s last-day remnant people know that prayer releases the power of God. Because of this, they view prayer as a necessity in their personal life and in the advancement of God’s work. They know that from the beginning God intended to work through man and not independent of him in carrying out His will on earth. They know that when God wills to do something on earth He impresses His people to pray for that very thing. Many statements by Jesus confirm this truth. In the Lord’s Prayer Jesus told us to pray that “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10). When He saw so many people suffering, He felt compassion for them and told us to “pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Matt. 9:38).
Those ready to meet Jesus will also be a people who fast. When Jesus said “When you fast” (Matt.6:16), He was directing His disciples to take time to fast. Ellen White supported the importance of fasting when she wrote:
“Now and onward till the close of time the people of God should be more earnest, more wide-awake, not trusting in their own wisdom, but in the wisdom of their Leader. They should set aside days for fasting and prayer. Entire abstinence from food may not be required, but they should eat sparingly of the most simple food” (Counsels on Diet and Food, pp. 188, 189).
We cannot have a weak faith now; we cannot be safe in a listless, indolent, slothful attitude. Every jot of ability is to be used, and sharp, calm, deep thinking is to be done. The wisdom of any human agent is not sufficient for the planning and devising in this time. Spread every plan before God with fasting, and with the humbling of the soul before the Lord Jesus, and commit thy ways unto the Lord” (Selected Messages, book 2, p. 364).
Those ready to meet Jesus will be a people who pray and fast. These actions will play a major role in strengthening their relationship with God, increasing their faith, clarifying God’s will for their life and ministry, and making their ministry effective in finishing God’s work. If you want to be among God’s last-day remnant people who are ready to meet Jesus, you must become a Spirit-filled man or woman, who consistently prays and fasts on a regular basis. This is God’s ordained way—the only way. There are no other options.
Personal reflection and discussion:
1. What kind of prayer life did Jesus have?
2. What does the baptism of the Holy Spirit do for the Christian’s prayer life?
3. Why is prayer necessary for God’s will to be carried out?
4. Why is fasting important in the Christian’s life?
• Call your prayer partner and discuss this devotional with him/her.
• Pray with your prayer partner:
1. Pray for God to baptize you with His Holy Spirit.
2. Pray for God to revive you and His church.
3. Pray for God to lead you to pray and fast in the Spirit.
4. Pray for the individuals on your prayer list.
Excerpt From: Dennis Smith. “40 Days.”