". . . the Holy Spirit fell on them" Acts 11:15
The Church. It began with a small band of believing men and women, who were like living salt amidst all the corruption and confusion of the world. We may never know on this side of eternity the names of all who gave their lives for the success of the bride of Christ.
Yet, they left behind a Church of amazing vision, vigor, and vitality. There's no institution in all of history which can compare with its blaze to bring the ministry of Christ to the earth. Today, the Church continues to be pulsing with life and full of grace. And the secret of its success is one unique to the Church alone, practiced by no other corporation. The ingredients to its contagious, magnetic force are not found in any human resource manual or corporate leadership policies.
When we look at the Church universal we see its members doing two things. Praying and fasting. Fasting – the discipline of the body. Praying – the discipline of the Spirit. We are to practice both. Never one without the other. There is an amazing connection between the Spirit and the flesh, the soul and the body.
In the midst of all the luxury, gluttony, and wastefulness, we fast. We fast because a pampered body means a burdened Spirit. What’s hurting us is not pain, but that we are too comfortable. Ease is sucking the life out of us. We fast because our flesh can never sit on the throne intended for Christ. We fast to keep ourselves usable in the hands of the King.
With fasting, there is praying. Ceaseless communion and communication with God. Not periodic prayer. Rather, we pray and keep praying until prayer is less an act and more an attitude. Prayer is exposing the soul, opening the heart, placing ourselves in a position of receptiveness. Prayer is to become so natural that we do it without thought.
Whatever struggles and challenges the Church faces, Jesus reminds us this can only come out by prayer and fasting. The two empower the Spirit to do the work of the Lord.
Does the Church have this kind of power today? Can we say to things “come out” and they will?