This particular update on fasting has really been replaying in my mind...
I had known that this trip would be more about watching and listening than about doing. I got more of that last night at the evening meal at Onesmus and Esther's house. Both Onesmus and James told us that they would be in overnight prayers that night. They would start at 9:30pm and finish at 6am. They both do this once per week. When asked why, they told us that this was their way of taking authority over the strongholds in this area and drawing closer to God. Onesmus told us that before he goes to the next open air meeting he will pray and fast 3-5 days for the power and authority to confront successfully the witchcraft in the area. I then began to contemplate my own life and the powerlessness that I feel many times over here in confronting obvious powers of darkness. Onesmus told us that he knows after periods of prayer and fasting that the enemy will obey what he says...no doubting. I then began to realize that if we in the USA want to bring this kind of authority back to the Church, then the answer is in our overcoming with both prayer and fasting. We all have been so comfortable and have not been willing to labor in prayer either for ourselves or the Body of Christ or the lost. There were many nights that Jesus prayed to His Father all night. I remembered His Garden praying and His asking His disciples to pray with Him and to watch that they might not enter into trial. They failed but He succeeded and even had an angel come to Him to strengthen Him. He still had to face the cross but overcame. In Paul's description of spiritual warfare in Eph 6, we often say that the only offensive weapon is the sword of the Spirit but that is not true. He ends by instructing us to pray with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit and watching with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints. This is also an offensive weapon. Jesus instructs us in Matt 17 when confronted with a stronghold that doesn't move to pray and fast. Many modern translations have left this out, but I think it is essential. There can be no substitute. Paul tells us in 1 Cor 9 that he buffets his body to keep it in subjection. How often do we follow that example? I am speaking to myself on all these points and my flesh absolutely rebels at the thought of this. The Africans are seeing the results of this kind of prayer and fasting. They are seeing the witchdoctors either repent or die. This kind of authority is true NT authority that we are to walk in. How many of us are willing to pay the price? I must admit that it has given me much pause and even angst as my flesh does not want to do this. However, I am feeling increasingly compelled to conform to what I see in the Word and to follow the examples of Scripture. I hope that some of you will be able to track with me on this so that more and more of His power can be manifested in the US. -Peb
Wow. There is so much to contemplate in this message. Bob has been involved in several long periods of fasting, as well as shorter times of giving up food to spend time with God and hear from Him. I have fasted several times in my life for certain situations or certain people. I know that God does special things during these times. Prayer is a big part of my life, but I don't include fasting often enough or on a regular basis. I am asking the Father to show me when and how I should fast in the next week.
Are you one who has made fasting a part of your life? What direct results have you seen God do in you or bring about because you were obedient in fasting and prayer? I would love to hear your stories.
Blessings in Jesus!