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The Power of Fasting and Prayer

Can you imagine what would happen if just half the members of your church would earnestly fast and pray with pure hearts and proper motives? You could expect another Pentecost-a miracle of God’s grace.

Since Pentecost, the Church has burgeoned from a room full of Jesus’ followers to hundreds of millions of Christian believers.

Today, at this writing, the most powerful movement of God in the world is in Korea. The dynamic, dramatic growth of the Church from three million in 1974 to eleven million in 1990 can be attributed largely to fasting and prayer.

Changing the Destiny of Nations
Not only will fasting and prayer transform an individual or church, it can change the course of a nation.

When Jonah carried God’s warning of impending judgment to Nineveh, their king declared a fast. “Let everyone call urgently on God,” he commanded.“Let them give up their evil ways and their violence” (Jonah 3:8). Immediately, the people began to mourn over their sins, and their fasting and repentance pleased God's merciful heart.

The writer of the Book of Jonah records, “When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion on them and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatene” (Jonah 3:9, 10).

We see God’s hand of deliverance upon Israel while the nation was in exile in Persia. A wicked man named Haman had risen to great political power and had persuaded the king to destroy all the Jewish people.

Unknown to the king, his wife-Queen Esther-was a Jew. She “set an example which became a pattern for all subsequent generations of the power of prayer and fasting” to change history.1

Coursing through the Bible, we find other examples of how fasting often changed the course of events.

Examples of how fasting and prayer has changed the course of a nation also can be found throughout history. In 1756 the king of England called for a day of solemn prayer and fasting because of a threatened invasion by the French.

About that day, John Wesley wrote in his journal:

“The fast day was a glorious day, such as London has scarce seen since the Restoration. Every church in the city was more than full, and a solemn seriousness sat on every face. Surely God heareth prayer, and there will yet be a lengthening of our tranquility.”

Warning Before Judgment

The tides of godlessness and lawlessness are rising rapidly in our nation. The sins which led to the Flood of Noah and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah have found social acceptance in our society. Clearly, America is ripe for judgment.

But God never sends judgment without fair warning. We see many examples of this in His Word-Adam and Eve, the contemporaries of Noah, Lot regarding the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah, the people of Nineveh, the nation of Israel. But why should God warn those whom He seeks to destroy?

The apostle Peter explains. “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

God’s judgments of the past are signs for us today. “God’s judgment of Israel is a warning," writes Derek Prince, "for Western nations where we have a long background of Christian tradition, knowledge of the Scriptures and the organized church. Could it be that God has been speaking, but we have been deaf as the people of Israel?”2

God is merciful. He will withdraw His hand of judgment if our nation will turn from its wicked way. In his book, God’s Chosen Fast, Arthur Wallis writes:

God has inflexible laws dealing with men. Sin is visited with judgment, but repentance with mercy.

God has declared Himself on this point in the plainest of terms: “If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will repent of the evil that I intended to do to it” (Jeremiah 18:7, 8, RSV).3

[But even if] heaven has issued the decree and the wheels are already in motion, there is still a mighty weapon to which we may have recourse.4

That mighty weapon is repentance, fasting and prayer. And God promises to hear from heaven, forgive our sins and heal our land (2 Chronicles 7:14), if we as a nation are obedient to that call.

It will take nothing short of the supernatural to stem the tides of judgment devastating our land. I believe that nothing else can compare with the supernatural power released when we fast and pray. We know for certain from Hebrews 11:6 and from personal experience that God rewards those who diligently seek Him.

*******
1. Derek Prince, Fasting (Springdale, PA: Whitaker House, 1986), pp.44,45.
2. Prince, p.43.
3. Arthur Wallis, God's Chosen Fast (Fort Washington, PA: Christian Literature Crusade, 1993), p.56.
4. Wallis, p.58.

[Excerpt from Chapter 7, The Coming Revival by Bill Bright]

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