“Prayer and love are learned in the hour when prayer has become impossible and your heart has turned to stone. If you have never had any distractions you don’t know how to pray. For the secret of prayer is a hunger for God and for the vision of God, a hunger that lies far deeper than the level of language or affection.” Thomas Merton
|Gayatri is recited by a spiritual aspirant to remember the higher purpose of life, it can also be an invocation or prayer to God in order to lift our consciousness upwards. It is usually recited by the people who consider ‘knowing the ultimate truth’ as the primary purpose of their life.|
|Om, Bhur, Bhuvah, Svah [Ultimate reality, in which physical, astral and causal worlds exist]||Om: The sacred word, word of creation, first word, word of God; (Equivalent of Holy Ghost in trinity) usually used at the beginning of a hymn; Bhur: The physical plane of existence (which is of the nature of 5 elements) Bhuvah: The astral plane of existence (which is of the nature of subtle elements)Svah: The causal plane or celestial plane (plane where the existence is as subtle as ideas or notions, from which creation happens).|
|Tát savitúr váreṇyaṃ [That is the Supreme reality from which creation happens, and it is the foremost]||Tat: That, God, (Equivalent of Son, in the Christian Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Ghost) Savitúr : Source of all, creation, supreme reality, Divine illumination (of goddess Savitri or Shakti) Váreṇyaṃ: the foremost, fit to be worshiped, deserving oblations|
|Bhárgo devásya dhīmahi [O Divine effulgence we meditate upon you]||Bhárgo: Great spiritual effulgence, Radiant one, one who illumines all Devásya: Godly, divine reality, of divinity, Virtuous and joyous Dhīmahi: We meditate on you; Dhee=intellect; Thus Dhimahi means we focus our intellect on you|
|Dhíyo yó naḥ pracodáyāt [propel our knowledge of the supreme reality]||Dhíyo: Intellect, intelligence, reasoning and discriminating faculty which is a tool for attaining higher wisdomYo: Who, One is who being prayed, You (Supreme One) Nah: Our (intellect) pracodáyāt: Stimulate, Propel towards the higher reality|
Daily Bible verses, Pastor Roland’s favorite verses and commentary.
PRAY FOR WISDOM, FOR FORGIVENESS, FOR GRACE, FOR MERCY, AND FOR REVIVAL
I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
I lift up my eyes to you,
to you whose throne is in heaven.
As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a maid look to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the Lord our God,
till he shows us his mercy.
Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us,
for we have endured much contempt.
We have endured much ridicule from the proud,
much contempt from the arrogant.
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord;
O Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.
If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins,
O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness;
therefore you are feared.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
O Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.
He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins.
Psalm 130 (NIV).
Our Lord Jesus Christ on Prayer, from Matthew 6.
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
“This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Treasures in Heaven.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
Do Not Worry.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his lifeb?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6 NIV.
Why Is Prayer Important for Fasting?
Prayer is great and fasting is fantastic, but the discipline of using them together can help us make life in a sinful world more bearable by connecting us to God and drawing on His power instead of our own.Sonya DowningChristianity.com Contributing Writer
When I googled “why prayer is important to fasting” to research for this article, I found a lot of articles on the health and spiritual benefits of fasting. I also found a few on the benefits of prayer and fasting together. I didn’t find anything about why, exactly, prayer is supposed to be part of the fasting process. First, let’s look at what fasting is. Many Christians picture fasting as a difficult undertaking. However, fasting can be a simple and powerful act that all can practice. Both short occasional fasts and extended fasting can have powerful results.
What is Fasting?
Fasting is Biblical. Throughout the Old and New Testament eras and during the last 2,000 years, fasting has been a primary means of humbling ourselves before God. Fasting is a common practice that can be found in Scripture. It is voluntary and total abstinence of food for a specific amount of time or days, and its aim is to devote oneself through prayer and seeking God. Jesus’ fasting can be read in one major occasion in Matthew 4:1–11. The ancient practice of fasting is a natural way to express your faith with your whole being – body and spirit together – whenever you experience a sacred moment that compels you to respond. Your spirit’s hunger for God can find fulfillment when you fast with your body.
Fasting is a way for us to reconnect and be with the Lord. So, below are a few reasons why prayer comes highly recommended with fasting — as it should be:
Reason 1: Fasting and Prayer are Mentioned Together in Scripture
Both the Old and New Testaments feature multiple instances of believers practicing fasting and prayer together. Here are a handful of the examples I found:
The Israelites fasted and lifted up prayers of praise and confession after sinning against God (Nehemiah 9).
Esther fasts with Israel and prays for the strength to ask her husband to spare Israel from Haman’s plot of genocide (Esther 4:16).
David mentions praying and fasting for his enemies (Psalm 35:12-14).
Daniel fasts and prays to lament Israel’s disobedience while exiled in Babylon and asks God to have mercy on His chosen people (Daniel 9).
The prophet Anna fasted and prayed regularly for Israel, then prophesied to Mary and Joseph about Jesus (Luke 2:36-38).
Paul and Barnabas pray and fast to ask for guidance in appointing elders over the first-century church (Acts 14:23).
Reason 2: Fasting Prayers Serve Multiple Purposes
We live in a fallen world, so we need a lot of help, sometimes even just to make it through the day. God offers us that help by asking us to pray and fast. The verses I mentioned above showcase the variety of what prayer and fasting make possible for Christians:
- Praising God (Nehemiah 9); Granting courage (Esther 4:16)
- Loving your enemies (Psalm 35:12-14); Reconciling yourself or your country to God (Daniel 9; Nehemiah 9)
- Remembering God’s promises (Luke 2:36-38); Granting wisdom (Acts 14:23)
Prayer is great and fasting is fantastic, but the discipline of using them together can help us make life in a sinful world more bearable by connecting us to God and drawing on His power instead of our own.
Reason 3: Prayer and Fasting Actually Works
From a purely practical standpoint, the combination of prayer and fasting can lead to staggering results. Let’s break down the examples given above to see how God worked through each of those instances:
God welcomed Israel back into His arms (Nehemiah 9).
King Xerxes not only spared Esther when he had every right to kill her for approaching the throne uninvited but also listened to her and helped her rescue Israel from Haman (Esther 4:16).
David doesn’t materially gain from praying and fasting for his enemies — quite the opposite, actually — but he reveals to the world that he truly is a man after God’s own heart (Psalm 35:12-14).
God hears Daniel’s pleas and sends an angel to prophesy to him (Daniel 9).
Anna gets to meet her Savior in person (Luke 2:36-38).
Paul and Barnabas found the men God wanted them to appoint as elders (Acts 14:23).
We should be praying and fasting whether or not we get the results we want; the hardships David faced in his life weren’t enough to stop him, so why are our hardships enough to stop us?
Seeing that those results are possible should be more than enough to encourage us to make prayer and fasting part of our lives the same way the heroes of the Bible did.
Power Through Prayer
The truth about prayer and fasting may make us want to practice these disciplines as often as we can without harming our bodies, but here’s the catch: They only work if you’re acting in service of God and not your ego or pride.
Jesus, Himself, speaks against those who pray and fast for selfish reasons in the Sermon on the Mount:
When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6:5)
When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6:16-18)
It’s great that you want to pray and fast, but before you do, ask God to check your motives. If you want to pray and fast to feel like a better Christian, stop right there and ask God to purify your intentions. But if you’re approaching these practices with love and respect for God, then you are free to approach the altar and do so.
The Challenge and Some Sample Fasting Prayers
You know that the Bible encourages you to pray and fast. You know what the two disciplines can do when used together. You know what God can achieve through you when you incorporate these practices into your life. And you know not to approach them for selfish reasons. There’s still one question left unanswered: What comes next?
What comes next is a challenge. I challenge you to approach God about whether your heart is in the right place to practice prayer and fasting. And if God says yes, I challenge you to do it. You’ll be amazed at what the Lord can accomplish in your heart and life if you choose to take this path.
Prayer for Healthy, Holy Fasting
Father, your Word is full of wisdom and knowledge. I pray that we, as children of God, trust you Lord and humble ourselves before you… seeking you God like never before. I pray for everyone fasting and beginning to fast.
I pray that they are led by you, Father, and not the world. I pray the distractions and temptations will not overcome them during this time. Thank you, Father, for loving us enough to send your Son to die for us. We will be forever grateful. In Jesus’ name, Amen (Rebecca Gordon)
Prayer for Fasting and Petition
Lord, please forgive us for craving food more than you. Forgive us for craving anything more than you. Lord redirect our hunger. Be our God. Open our eyes to the benefits of fasting. Open our hearts to you like never before. Give us the desire to turn to you with all our hearts, with all our souls, with all our strength. May we no longer live by bread alone but by every word that comes from your mouth Oh LORD. Teach us to fast so that we might hold fast to you. In Jesus Name, Amen. (Alyssa Woollard)
To Align with God’s Heart
Lord, I want to get Your Word so deep into my heart that it becomes MY word! I want to see things the way You see them, hear things the way You hear them, and feel things the way You feel them. I want to get so aligned with You that our hearts beat in syncopation together. I thank You that once Your Word gets that deeply rooted in my heart, my spoken words will release rivers of power and authority against the works of the devil that he has designed for my destruction! I thank You that just as Your words created the universe, my spoken words of faith create a change in my atmosphere! I pray this in Jesus’ name! (Rick Renner)
Connecting with the Father
Father, purify my heart, that I would be focused on You and You alone as I surrender to You in me. If I rely on anyone’s approval but Yours, make it obvious so I can turn that part of my life to You again. As I start my “secret” life with You, cultivate our relationship and make it something incredible! Amen. (Pete Briscoe)
Sonya Downing is a novelist, freelance writer, and content editor with a bachelor’s degree in professional writing. Her freelance work has been published in Focus on the Family’s teen girl magazine Brio, The Evangelical Church Library Association, and The Secret Place quarterly magazine. She has also blogged for IlluminateYA Publishing and edited for Mountain Brook Ink. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.