I don’t often share something that is not mine… something that flows out of my own devotional life… Today is an exception. My dear friend Chad Germany, effective missionary and the impetus of the Bihar project which “Coffee with the Lord” partners with (the mugs we sell and the “Coffee with the Lord” coffee we sell help fund a ministry training school in Bihar India) wrote the following excellent reflection on the power of fasting… I could not help but share it… GOOD STUFF… give it a read and then give it a try!
The idea of fasting is so ridiculous to the secular mind that many Christians never try, much less embrace, this critical Christian discipline. This is unfortunate because fasting and prayer is such an incredible combination.
I have unquestionable evidence that fasting works. Just one testimony- several years ago we were struggling to pay off the loan on a property we purchased for the church in Bihar. The Holy Spirit lead me to fast and pray for 3 days without food to ask God to meet this need. We had struggled for 3 years to pay off a $70,000 debt and made virtually no progress. We barely managed to pay the interest, much less pay down the principal.
Only my wife knew I was fasting and almost no one knew about the debt. On the second day of my fast I received a phone call about a donor giving $45,000 towards the loan. Within a month or so the entire loan was paid off. To this day it is mind blowing to me.
But God heard my prayer, and without asking anyone, people began approaching me and asking to give towards the project. That is the power of fasting.
Fasting should not be approached to make us Holy- only Jesus can do that, and he does that in response to our faith not our deeds.
Then what is the purpose of fasting. This is what I have discovered:
1. To humble us: the physical weakness that results from the absence of food is a stark reminder of how weak and frail we are, and how much we need God’s help.
2. To clarify out appetite: when we become so desperate to see God move in a situation that we desire His help more than physical food, God does not ignore that. He promises to reward those who hunger and thirst (pun intended) for righteousness. He promises not to ignore those who call on Him for help. Fasting does both of these things.
3. To express our trust in God: when we cease striving and begin waiting on God, it is the ultimate expression of faith. Someone said “When men work, God waits. When men pray, God works!” I have absolutely witnessed this first hand. In fact, when I fast it seems like God starts working in hyper-speed.
Frankly, I don’t enjoy the discomfort of fasting. But I find that God meets me in my weakness in such a rich and gracious way, that I enjoy the season of fasting even while disliking the hunger and the weakness.
On a short fast the hunger is the greatest challenge. On a longer fast it is the fatigue and weakness. But both are small prices to pay for the richness of God’s presence and the promise of His help.
Of course He always hears a sincere prayer. But fasting seems to fast-track the answer.
I think the great key ultimately is to fast with humility and dependence on God- not in an effort to prove yourself holy or righteous.
I deeply hope that the Church of Jesus Christ will discover again the incredible power of fasting and prayer.
I invite you to fast if you have not. There is certainly plenty in our world to pray about. And if you cannot think of anything else, Pray4Nations! Or better yet, start there and watch God take care of everything else as you seek His Kingdom first.