Spiritual Preparation – Prayer and Fasting (Class 5)

Class 5: Prayer and Fasting

Prayer
What is prayer?
Fundamentally, prayer is an avenue of communication between God and us. There are several components of prayer that are usually contained in our prayers including praising God, asking Him for something, or telling Him something. Two words used to commonly define prayer are helpful to increase our understanding: beseech and supplicate. Beseech refers to us being earnest or sincere. There is no deception in us. Also, it implies that we have an intense desire for what we are asking or communicating with the Lord. While supplicate also has an essence of earnestness, it adds the concept of humility.

Why do you pray?

How often should we pray?
The scriptures tell us that we should pray always.
Ephesians 6:18; Alma 14:103-104; III Nephi 8:47-54; D&C 30:4c; 61:6e; 85:38c; 90:8d, 9

How do we pray?
We need to pray in faith
Matthew 21:20; James 5:15; II Nephi 15:4; Jacob 2:49; Alma 16:118-120; Mormon 4:102-103; D&C 25:1b; 28:2c

We pray in the name of Jesus
II Nephi 14:12; 15:15; III Nephi 13:42; Moroni 3:2; Moroni 4:3; 8:3

We should pray vocally and in secret
Matthew 6:6; III Nephi 5:98; D&C 17:10b,d; 18:4a; 21:5a; 80:1d

The Lord’s prayer
Matthew 6:10-15; Luke 11:2-4; III Nephi 5:101-106

What do we pray about?
We ask for wisdom
James 1:5-6

Everything we do for the Lord and over everything we have
II Nephi 14:12; Alma 5:40; Alma 16:219

That we would not enter into temptation (part of the Lord’s prayer)
III Nephi 8:47-54; D&C 3:1e; 17:6e; 30:4c; 61:6e; 85:38c; 90:8d, 9

Caveats
James 4:3; D&C 85:16f
What blessings come from prayer?
Receive of His Spirit
D&C 18:6a

Receive what we ask for
Matthew 7:13, 18:19; 21:20; Mark 9:45, 11:26; Luke 11:11; John 16:24; I John 3:22; Enos 1:24; III Nephi 6:20, 8:51, 13:6; Moroni 7:26; D&C 4:2b; 6:2c; 10:2c; 11:2c; 12:2b, 4a; 16:4c; 28:2c; 42:1c; 42:17a; 46:8a; 49:5c; 66:5c; 75:4d; 85:16d; 100:6d, g

Prayer is not a one-way conversation.
When we pray we should also listen.
Psalms 4:3-4; 46:10

What special prayers do we have in the church? What is their purpose?
Baby blessing, confirmation, patriarchal blessing, ordination, administration prayers, and prayers over the sacrament.

Testimonies
Whose voice was on the recording?
Not ready to let her go.

Further reading
Enos
III Nephi 9:7-38
D&C 32:3d-e

Fasting
What is fasting?
To abstain as a religious exercise from food and drink: either entirely, if the fast lasted but a single day, or from customary and choice nourishment, if it continued several days. – From Strong’s Concordance

What is the purpose of fasting?
I personally believe that the primary purpose of fasting is to draw us closer to the Lord. It is a special time where we specifically focus on certain prayer requests or desires that we have. By making the commitment to abstain from nourishment, we allow place for the Lord’s Spirit to reside within us.

So that we might be humble
Psalms 35:13

Fasting should be a time of rejoicing
D&C 59:3

How should we fast?
We should not boast of our fasting
Matthew 6:17-18

Why do we fast?
Commanded to do it
Omni 1:47; Alma 4:6; D&C 85:21a

To learn the truth about something
Alma 3:76-80

To receive the Spirit
Alma 12:14

To have the faith required to heal
Matthew 17:15-21; Mark 9:15-26 D&C 34:3c

Examples of fasting and prayer in the scriptures.
Nehemiah 1:4, 6(Nehemiah); Daniel 9:3-4(Daniel); Luke 2:36-38(Anna); Acts 10:30-31(Cornelius); Acts 13:1-4(Saints in Antioch); Acts 14:21-23(Paul and Barnabas); Mosiah 11:183-185(on behalf of Alma); Alma 3:76-80(Alma); Alma 12:4-5(sons of Mosiah); Alma 21:1-2(People of Nephi); Helaman 2:31(People of Nephi); III Nephi 12:14(Disciples); IV Nephi 1:13(People of Nephi); Moroni 6:6(People of Nephi)

The people in Creston, IA were asked to fast and pray for 10 and 1; eleven people that they desired to have a closer relationship with the Lord. Only a few members of the branch knew the names. The branch fasted and prayed for these individuals and within a few years all of the prayers were answered. We feel the desire to set forth a similar challenge to our Branch and ask everyone to fast and pray for 14 individuals that are in some way associated with the branch.
Alma 4:6

Testimony
A boy receives a blessing because of the dedication of a congregation

Further Reading
Disciples not to fast until after Jesus’ resurrection
Luke 5:33-35

Things to ponder for next week:
I Corinthians 4:2; D&C 72:1c
What gifts has the Lord given you in your life both physical and spiritual?

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