The last couple of weeks I challenged our church to fast and pray. I told them that so often we are satisfied to live spiritually on vanilla wafers when God wants to give us prime rib. We become so satisfied with the world and its pleasures that we stop delighting in the Lord. Fasting is one of those spiritual disciplines the Lord has given us to teach us again to enjoy Him and experience His presence and power in fresh ways.
Richard Foster, author of the best-selling book Celebration of Discipline, shared once that he did not think the American church will survive the 21st century if she does not return to the spiritual disciplines of fasting and solitude.
Pastor Jack Hayford, who for several years served as the President of his denomination, shared, "Fifty years of leadership have taught me—there is no greater spiritual means to see the release of the Holy Spirit’s power than united fasting and prayer. Fasting somehow cripples the Adversary’s ability to withstand and breaks his capability to sustain strongholds set in place against us. Prayer opens heaven’s windows!"
Elmer Towns of Liberty University has provided some excellent resources to inform and equip people who want to seek the Lord through fasting and prayer. I highly recommend either of the two following books. Fasting with the Lord's Prayer provides basic, practical teaching on how to fast and how to pray the Lord's Prayer as a guide. Then, Town provides 21-days of meditations to use while fasting.
Another book by Towns, Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough, explains eight types of biblical fasts, people in the Bible who did such fasts, and the reasons behind fasting in those ways.
I love testimonies from God's people that share special ways that God has worked in their lives. Roy Hession said, "Prayer is the foundation for revival, and testimony is the spark that ignites it."
I found online a tremendous digital resource written by Elmer Towns and Jerry Falwell called "Fasting Can Change Your Life" that includes short interviews with more than twenty well-known Christians (many of my modern heroes) including Jerry Falwell, Bill Bright, Jack Hayford, D. James Kennedy, Jimmy Draper, Larry Lewis, Evelyn Christenson, Elmer Towns, and Ronnie Floyd. They each share personal testimonies of fasting and praying.
Jerry Falwell shares of their church fasting and praying for the healing of two people in their church - and of his fasts when he sought God to pay off the debt of Liberty University (more than $100 million!). He shares that during his first 40-day fast when he kept asking God for the money, "He impressed upon my heart that I needed to get close to Him, to listen to Him and to trust Him. When I asked for money, God would not let me ask for money but to learn to know Him better."
Al Henson shares how their new church plant learned to fast and pray which resulted in their church receiving 24 acres of land.
Jane Hansen shares about fasting and praying for her son to be released from a drug addiction.
There are many other testimonies - fasting for a couple to become pregnant, for the healing of cancer, the salvation of a father, for receiving guidance, for engaging spiritual warfare, and many others.
The book is divided into 33 chapters, each with a different testimony. I was encouraged and challenged reading their testimonies! I challenge you to do the same.