By Ryan Shaw
Necessity of Greater Spiritual Power
It does not take a rocket scientist to deduce that as the church of Jesus Christ today we need greater spiritual power.
- with the truths of the Bible being questioned left and right and the essence of true Biblical Christianity being skewed in many churches and ministries;
- with so many obstacles abounding keeping God’s purposes from being accomplished in our lives, families, ministries, nations and unreached ethnic groups
- with unbelievers tired of hearing the same old platitudes of Christianity without true evidence in our lives;
- as lawlessness and the throwing off of authority even among believers increases;
- when addiction to sex, substances and involvement in the occult and witchcraft are consistently mounting;
it is clear we need more of God’s power by aligning with more of God’s ways and contending for all that He desires and intends for us to possess spiritually in our generation.
Because of the level of glory and power experienced throughout the Old Testament under the Old Covenant (specifically the nature of the Book of Exodus), Paul is telling us that we (as those now under the much greater New Covenant) need to expect and spiritually contend for more of God’s glory and power to be revealed today.
Moses’ face shone with the glory of God; a physical cloud and light led the Israelites; Water gushed out of a rock and much more. It is the Lord’s intended desire to show forth a level of glory and power today that far exceeds such things for the sake of bringing Himself greater glory in individual lives and among entire unreached people groups.
How do we go about such contending for an increased measure of New Covenant power and glory? Verse 18 provides the answer.
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
The primary way we contend is by daily beholding the Lord Jesus Himself. We grow in fascination, devotion, surrender, worship, gratefulness, spiritual maturity and more by daily sitting at the feet of Jesus and meditating upon His supremacy, superiority, majesty, beauty, holiness, justice, wrath, kindness, mercy, meekness and many other awe-inspiring characteristics.
This beholding will bring us into God’s presence and the Spirit of the Lord is the One who begins revealing sin and releasing power. We must cooperate with what the Spirit is saying as we sit and behold because without the Spirit bringing the change in us from glory to glory we will remain the same.
Contending is not just praying but also cooperating with what we hear or sense the Lord saying to us. Our response will determine the level of our increase in glory and power.
What is Prayer and Fasting?
One way that we increase our capacity to behold the Lord intently in this manner is through the spiritual discipline of prayer and fasting. SVM2 has implemented a weekly day of prayer and fasting affectionately called “SVM2uesdays.”
Bible Schools, Campus Ministry Organizations, Local Churches and Mission Sending Agencies are invited to participate as the Lord leads. Its purpose is to set aside each Tuesday to seek the face of God with greater intentionality.
We do so through beholding the Lord in the above manner and through interceding for the Student Mission Movement that God is raising up in this hour internationally. We spend the day abstaining from food (if each person is healthy enough to do so) as we know there is great spiritual power released through the discipline of fasting.Simultaneously we give ourselves to a few hours of seeking the face of God with focus.
Why is Fasting such an Important Spiritual Factor?
Scripture has much to teach us about the value of this important spiritual discipline. It is clear from church and mission history that prayer with fasting accompanied the lives of most of the spiritual greats with whom we are familiar.
But possibly of more importance, are the countless lives we do not know of who prayed with fasting and did so in secret as Scripture exhorts us (Matthew 6:18). In the New Testament, fasting was seen as a spiritual tool for releasing power.
However, as the church continued through the centuries and spirituality declined with the onslaught of worldliness, spiritual power and the functioning of the gifts of the Spirit also declined.
Yet we know that God is determined to have a glorious bride who is perfect and without spot for His Son. In God’s process of bringing such transformation and renewal about within His people, there undoubtedly will be a return to the biblical practice of intense prayer accompanied with fasting.