Mat 6:5-8 “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask.”
How do we become stronger in the spirit? Where’s the gym? Where’s the health food store? Where do we go to beef up our spirits?
4 Main Places:
1. Prayer. Spiritually you are weakening yourself if you don’t pray and pray right. You pray honestly, as if it’s only between the two of you. Just shut everything else out and your audience is God. The only way to really learn how to pray effectively and fervently is to simply do it! It’s how we develop a relationship with the King of kings. It’s all right to copy the way other people pray. Be real with God. You need to strengthen your spirit. Setting aside a time for prayer is more than a suggestion. Prayer is a must in order to survive spiritually. Prayer is the answer to becoming spiritually strong. Prayer is a MAJOR source of strength. This is your base. This is your foundation. You can’t grow without a prayer life. Without the strength of daily communication with God, we cannot live victoriously.
When God created man, he created in us the ability to imagine. It is so very powerful. Jesus said you could imagine adultery and Jesus says it’s just like doing it. The problem with prayer is we must discipline our minds and ourselves and actually do this thing called prayer. A busy schedule cannot be an excuse for praying. Just as you eat nearly every day, you should pray every day. Every day that you want to be strengthened and nurtured, you should pray. We have to visualize things while we’re praying. Faith is the visualization that what you pray will come about. I Thes 5:17 “Pray without ceasing.” How can we say that we’re growing in God without talking to Him? He enjoys hearing our words of praise and gratitude, but sometimes He just wants us to be silent and listen. It’s okay to ask for things, but as we grow, we should get to the point where we want to do things for Him. You need to know how to turn to God immediately, especially at time of need. We need to learn how to pray if we’re going to have strength. Secrets are revealed in prayer. Mysteries are revealed in prayer.
2. Fasting. This is a physical discipline for spiritual alertness. When you weaken your flesh, you strengthen your spirit. To fast means to voluntarily abstain from food for one or more meals, drinking only water. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Have a fasting schedule. As we learn to control our appetite, we can control other aspects of our flesh. The spirit is in charge, not the flesh. One day a week is a good way to schedule a fast. While you’re fasting, be sure to pray, otherwise, it’s just a diet. Both eating and exercise require an increased amount of blood. Fasting makes you more alert. When you neither eat nor exercise, you are more sensitive to things of the spiritual. Prayer is the force with which we grasp the invisible. Fasting is the force through which we cast aside the visible. You get stronger and you learn to fight more devils (and win) when you fast. Fast for health purposes. It gives the heart, brain, kidneys and vacation. It removes poisons better than any other thing. You’ve got to do it in secret and God will bless you for it. Don’t do it for public attention. God won’t share His attention with anybody else. He wants us to do things just for Him. Sacrifice. When we give up time, sleep, money, etc, God moves.
3. Bible Study and Meditation. Josh 1:8 “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” This is how we find out and practice kingdom concepts. Meditation is dwelling on something. The Word of God is alive. By thinking about and dwelling on the Word of God, we become strengthened to handle stuff and fight through some stuff. Read it out loud every day. (Pray out loud, too.) Psalms 119:97 “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.” Psalms 1:1-3 “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Knowing and following what the Scriptural teaches will enable you to become strong in the ways of God.
4. Gathering Together, Assembling of the Saints of God, Church Attendance. When we come to church, we feel better. There is a source of strength here. Don’t underestimate the power of the body. It’s easier to fight our battles with someone else than alone.
Excerpted from a sermon by: Pastor Anthony LoCacio