the Fire to Fall
By nature, every one of us is inclined to take the path of least
resistance. But we Americans are especially notorious for avoiding
pain at all cost.
When it comes right down to it, most of us do not like hard work.
Even in those areas that we recognize are in our best interest-like
studying, exercise and diets-we avoid developing disciplines to
help us. This is especially true when it comes to the spiritual
discipline of fasting and prayer.
Our Need to Fast
The writings of Scripture, the Church Fathers and many Christian
of today offer several
biblical insights into the spiritual need for fasting:
• It is a biblical way to truly humble oneself in the sight
of God (Psalm35:13; Ezra 8:21).
• It brings revelation by the Holy Spirit of a person's true
spiritual condition, resulting in brokenness, repentance and change.
• It is a crucial means for personal revival because it brings
the inner workings of the Holy Spirit into play in a most unusual,
• It helps us better understand the Word of God by making
it more meaningful, vital and practical.
• It transforms prayer into a richer and more personal experience.
• It can result in dynamic personal revival-being filled with
the Spirit and regaining a strong sense of spiritual determination.
• It can restore the loss of one's first love for our Lord.
Throughout the Old and New Testament eras and during the last 2,000
years, fasting was a primary means of humbling ourselves before
How Does Fasting Help?
Fasting is a primary means of restoration. By humbling our souls,
fasting releases the Holy Spirit to do His special work of revival
in us. This changes our relationship with God forever, taking us
into a deeper life in Christ and giving us a greater awareness of
God's reality and presence in our lives. Fasting reduces the power
of self so that the Holy Spirit can do a more intense work within
us. Fasting also helps in other ways. It:
• Brings a yieldedness, even a holy brokenness, resulting
in inner calm and self-control
• Renews spiritual vision
• Inspires determination to follow God's revealed plan for
Fasting Calls for Sacrifice
The Church of England Homily of 1502 indicates the first purpose
of fasting is “to chastise the flesh, that it be not too wanton,
but tamed and brought in subjection to the spirit.”
Wesleyan preacher William Bramwell wrote in 1809 that the reason
many do not live in the power of their salvation is because “there
is too much sleep, too much meat and drink, too little fasting and
self-denial, too much [taking part in] the world …and too
little self-examination and prayer.”
Fasting Wars Against the Flesh
But for all its spiritual benefits, fasting is not always the easiest
godly discipline to practice. For those unaccustomed to it, going
without food can be a struggle-a tug of war between the spirit of
a person and his flesh.
The flesh does not let go easily. Many have acknowledged a battle
in their soul when setting out to fast, especially during the first
few days without food.
The mental, emotional battle that may break out when we fast can
sometimes be unsettling. Veteran fasters say this is a sure sign
of the need to abstain from food and draw close to God. It means
the natural man, with his appetites and will, is trying to gain
ascendancy over the spiritual man and the inner workings of the
Fasting Brings Power
The Early Church recognized fasting as a means of obtaining spiritual
power. God’s Word declares fasting and prayer as a powerful
means for causing the fire of God to fall again in a person's life.
This fire produces the fruits of the Spirit-love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control-but
especially the fruits of righteousness and spiritual power over
the lusts of the flesh and the lies of the enemy.
As fasting and prayer brings surrender of body, soul and spirit
to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, it also generates a heightened
sense of the presence of the Holy Spirit; it creates a fresh, clean
joy and a restored determination to serve God. In short, it brings
personal revival. Our spiritual power does not lie in money, genius,
anointed plans or dedicated work. Rather, power for spiritual conquest
comes from the Holy Spirit as people seek God's face in consecrated,
diligent prayer and fasting.
In 1954 Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile. It had never
been broken in all the centuries of recorded history, but Bannister
believed it could be done. He developed a mental picture of himself
breaking the record, and he did it. Since 1954, several hundred
other athletes have broken the four-minute mile, simply because
Roger Bannister proved that it could be done.
If an individual with only human resources is able to accomplish
such remarkable feats, how much more can you and I do when we place
our faith in the omnipotent Creator God and draw upon His supernatural,
inexhaustible resources and power through fasting and prayer?
[Excerpt from Chapter 6, The Coming Revival by Bill Bright]
Continue to “The
Power of Fasting and Pray”
Back to Top