It was December 1987 when I began my missionary assignment in Liberia, West Africa. As a young zealot for God, I decided to shave my head and fast my first days in that nation. As a result, a ministry of fire was manifest that launched me into fruitful ministry for the next 9 years of missionary work.
Let’s move ahead to 1995 now in Gambia, West Africa. During this time my wife Carolyn went into a season of repentance and received a new touch of the Holy Spirit and personal revival in her life. We led our team and staff into three days a month of prayer and fasting for a breakthrough in that tiny Muslim nation. In one session Carolyn heard my prayer language of tongues in English and by the Spirit addressed the principality of that nation. Instead of being persecuted and stoned as in previous outreaches, our evangelistic street team began to experience new favor and miracles among the Muslims. Things opened up for us in that nation and remain open for others until today.
In Pensacola, Florida in 1999 there was an evil spirit that came to test me on a book that I had written called Soulish Leadership. God was requiring me to become one with the message of that book. Satan was allowed to test me. It was a hard battle that lasted for about 3 years.
Finally out of desperation at the beginning of 2002 I went into an extended time of prayer and fasting. I did, what some call, series fasting – three days on, three days off, two days on, two days off, one day on, one day off, and then back to three. Strongholds were broken off my life and ministry and I became one with the message of my own book (every leader needs to read that book). I entered into a new room in the Spirit and a transformation into a deeper love and walk of humility. I’ve never been the same since. The testimony and revelation I received during that time is written in a book called, The Journal Of A Journey To His Holiness.
Every major breakthrough we’ve had in life and ministry has come from a time of prayer and fasting. It is a principle of power that God has established for the believer and for His ministers.
There is Divine activity of power and authority released during the fast. The dealings of God are also released just as it was with Saul being blinded and not eating and drinking for the three days after his miraculous encounter and conversion (Acts 9:9). Do we have any idea what happens when our flesh shuts down like that? Paul could not see and did not eat or drink for 3 days. The vision and encounter he just had with the glory of God was engrained into the deepest part of his being.
The same dealings happened with Peter on the rooftop (Acts 10:9-16). A vision was given to him as he was suspended in a trance, and God’s dealings caused Peter, and then the rest of early apostles, to preach the gospel to the Gentiles and receive them as God’s people. It totally revolutionized their “Jewish-only” mindset.
In Acts 13:1-12, as alluded to in the last blog, ministry gifts of prophets and teachers in Antioch ministered to the Lord and fasted. I’m sure they had a burden and sensed a change that was coming. The Holy Spirit spoke and Saul and Barnabas were separated, empowered, and sent as the Church’s first missionaries. An incredible judgment miracle followed and confirmed Saul’s calling and authority.
We’ve got to get back to this principle of power called fasting, with prayer.
Some have tried it and even seen some success. But they dropped it and forgot the results they initially had. Others attempted it but soon quit. Some do not know how to go there and do not understand the spiritual principle of fasting with prayer. Truly this is where a blow to unbelief is dealt (Mt. 17:20-21).
Great prayer giants of the past such as Rees Howells and Father Nash, co-laborer in prayer with Charles Finney, obtained degrees of faith, power, and effectiveness in prayer because of fasting that overcame unbelief.
Many go and work for God, but they go without the power. They’re content to do without the help. They don’t want to put a knife to their throats and severe their appetite for even a short time. The negligence of this principle of power has robbed many from walking in God’s higher kingdom plans and purposes.
The Church must return to this principle of power that greatly deals with unbelief and puts us in a position of far greater effectiveness and fruitfulness.