Fasting

By virtue of the internship I have, it would be very hard for me not to be awakened to the power that God gives through fasting and prayer. I help a man out who seems to rarely ever go more than ten minutes without mentioning his passion - fasting. He loves to point out how Jesus' miracles occurred after he did the forty day fast, not before and how Jesus finished his fast full of the Holy Spirit's power (Luke 4:14). When I hear testimony after testimony that just thoroughly dismantle every box that I had put God in, I realized that what I thought was devotion to the Lord would be considered backsliding to those who have a much better grasp of devotion.

I thought of an analogy to the old James Bond N-64 game. If, from a ministry standpoint, having a 20 minute quiet time is like carrying a PP-7, having a day of complete devotion to the Lord in prayer and fast is like having a grenade launcher. It isn't that the PP-7 is so bad, (it a lot better than not having a weapon or not having time with the Lord), its that the amount that the Lord's fruit, presence, and power can flow through us on a fast is so much greater.

I think some people tend to try to appeal that God's will will occur when we pray so we don't have to do anything. If this is so, then why does the man I'm interning with have God's will answer prayer thousands of times more than people who rarely pick up a Bible? Why does God's love and His passion for the Lord seem so contagious while other Christians are thinking the odds that God doesn't exist is high because they are so disillusioned due to lack of answers to prayer in their own life?

The sad thing is that people seem so defensive. The one thing you better not tell someone to do is to be more devoted to the Lord or tell them there is something wrong in their walk. They'll probably accuse you of being legalistic or something. They can be completely miserable, but don't tell them there is something wrong in how they are approaching God. I see so many that are "so busy" that they can't spend more than 20 minutes with God in a day, but waste volumes of time through pointless conversations, excessive amounts of movies, television, video games, etc. Just from a question of common sense - if the tv one watches promotes lust, pride, unforgiveness, and the like and comes in a dose of more than two hours a day, but the Bible comes in less than 30 minutes a day, do you really think that person is going to have God's fruit rather than the world's fruit flowing out of them? I mean, come on, this isn't exactly rocket science here.

I am continually blown away at the devotion of some of the greats of the faith. I ask some of them on my own how much their devotion level is to Jesus in the form of prayer and fasting. These people would never come forward and say how much occurs because they are too modest. But when pressed they open up. They might not want me to share what I got out of them, but I will anyways. When I asked Mark Strandjord, he said that when he does revival meetings he typically does a ten day fast with his wife first. But, he says, "I don't really have an annointing for fasting like she does. She does a 40 day fast every year." Mark was actually in a wheelchair from incredible pain due to Arthritis for 8 years. His wife did multiple forty day fasts until he saw his healing.

I cornered Paul Betiku and asked him how much he fasts and he modestly answered that, "I just want people to get their answer to prayer. If I pray and they are not healed, I know that if I fast for a couple of days, they probably will get healed if we pray again." But then I pressed him, how many days in the average month does he fast. He said, "fourteen, or a little more."

I was blessed with the opportunity to see Mike Francen preach a while back. This man has a life goal of a hundred million salvations through his healing crusades and a thousand church plants a year (in addition to other incredible goals). He told that when he became a Christian he spent 10-12 hours a day in the Word of God and then when he started to do healing crusades would fast for the duration of the crusade. A 7 day crusade received a seven day fast. He was doing so many that he dropped all the way down to 155 pounds (and was 6 foot 4). So he did say he went too far, but there is something to be said for his dedication.

I asked Doug Stanton. He simply replied that he lived a fasted lifestyle.

Todd Bentley talks about how he spent 8 hours with the Lord for a ten minute sermon then, upon finishing, would go immediately back to the Lord.

I started reading some of A.A. Allen's book online. He talks about the cost for God's Spirit to flow through someone. He would spend time in his prayer closet and would not know if hours or days had past. (Unfortunatly, he had some major problems at the end of his life).

I watched one of the evangelists from the Florida Healing Outpouring. He tells how from 4 am to 9 - the first five hours are devoted to the Lord every day.

I met a guy who sees all sorts of healings. I asked him about it and he told about spending the first six hours every day in the Bible.

This business of being so heavenly minded that one is no earthly good is one of the most ridiculous lies the church has seen. It also is blatantly against the Bible. Col. 3:1 tells us to set our minds on things above and not on earthly things. It is those that are heavenly minded that actually ARE earthly good, not just coasting through life.

As I started to see what true hunger and devotion to the Lord looks like I started to realize that what I thought was devotion wasn't. I prayed to the Lord and asked why the cost is so great to have the Lord's power flow through an individual. What I felt like he showed me was that the cost was extremely great for His Son to give up so that this could even be a possibility for a believer. He wouldn't want His people to take it lightly. Besides it is the glory of God to conceal a matter but the glory of kings to search a matter out. Far from the microwave, instant gratification culture we live in and many in the American church seem all to often to want God to endorse, God's ways involve perseverance, steadfastness, surrender, and dedication.

There is a tendency as Christians to call people who are truly being used by God fake because they have not seen God work in those ways in their own lives. Unfortunately, many do not see what these people's relationship with the Lord looks like behind the scenes and the sacrifices they make so that others could see some form of miraculous breakthrough and/or salvation. These people should be commended for their devotion, not slandered by other Christians. It is sad that so many Christians seem so quick to shoot at their own soldiers.

God, make me a man who is truly devoted!