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Fasting Day 18: Returning in Power, Part 1

As we prepare to conclude our fast, it is vital that we know what we can claim and expect God to have done through our fasting and prayer. Faith must accompany our fasting if it is to have any effect. Yet we cannot believe, we cannot have faith, if we do not know what God says in His word about fasting and prayer.

When fasting, it is vital to know what scriptural precedents apply to your causes for fasting. Not only will this provide encouragement, it also helps you know how to pray and how to believe God to respond in your situation.

Many scriptural precedents and promises pertaining to prayer and fasting have been shared through these twenty-one days of fasting posts and the Pursuit 21 Fasting Archives. In these posts, there is a vast amount of truth on which you can stand and believe and expect God to act in the coming year.

As we return from our time of separation unto God through fasting, I am going to take a moment to highlight some of these truths using the framework of Isaiah 58, the fasters chapter.

Returning in Power

Beloved, as you return from this time of separation unto God through fasting and prayer, know that you return with a new anointing – you return in the power of the Holy Spirit.

1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he…ate nothing….14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit… (Luke 4:1,14, emphasis added).

Notice the change. Jesus was “full of the Holy Spirit” after being baptized. Then He was led into the wilderness to fast. When He returned from forty days of fasting, He returned “in the power of the Spirit.”

“The potential of the Holy Spirit’s power, which Jesus received at the time of His baptism in Jordan, only came forth into full manifestation after He had completed His fast.” – Derek Prince, Shaping History Through Fasting & Prayer [i]

The word for “power” is the root of “dynamite” (doo’-nam-is). It means “one who exercises dominion and authority.” It also means:

  • Inherent power; capability of anything, ability to perform anything;
  • Not merely power capable of action, but power in action.
  • Power for performing miracles
  • Power consisting in or resting upon armies, forces, hosts

The same spiritual laws that applied to Christ’s own ministry apply to ours as His disciples:

  • “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these…” (John 14:12).
  • “No servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him” (John 13:16).

Jesus renounced the natural to invoke the supernatural. He knew there were supernatural things that would not be released until He fasted—even though He was the Son of God!

As you fasted and prayed these past three weeks, supernatural things have been released into your life. They may manifest throughout the year, but they were released through your fasting and prayer.

“But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:21).

Fasting will move obstacles that prayer alone won’t move (see ExceptBreaking Bondage, the Disicple’s Fast; and Feeding Faith.)

Isaiah 58 Promises

“ Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the heavy burdens,
To let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke?”
Isaiah 58:6

When we enter God’s chosen fast, He promises to:

1. Loose the bonds of wickedness (Isaiah 58:6)

Through your fasting and prayer, God will free yourself and others from addictions to sin and oppression.

  • “Loose” in the original language means “to open, be let loose, be thrown open, to free.”
  • “Wickedness” embodies that character which is opposite the character of God; injustice, unrighteousness.

Is there a band of wickedness, a yoke of oppression that you want to be broken off your life, or the life of a loved one?

Do you need to be delivered from a besetting sin? Please see Breaking Bondage, the Disciple’s Fast. This post contains helpful truths specific to your need. There is much more detail than in this brief summary.

In Matthew 17:20-21, we see that the disciples did not recognize the demonic forces at work in the young man’s life. The boy’s father certainly did not recognize it. He described the boy’s condition as being that of seizures. Only Jesus recognized and rebuked the demon and healed the boy. Jesus had fasted 40 days and nights. His prayer was accompanied by fasting.

As modern Day disciples, we make light of besetting sins. Besetting sins aren’t every day sins or momentary omission. Neither are they sins of rebellion – sins where God has clearly said, “You shall not,” and the Believer says, “Oh yes I will!” shaking their fist in his face. Besetting sins are habitual sins that enslave people.

A besetting sin controls you. Although you don’t want to go back to the sinful behavior and beg to be free, you once again find yourself committing the same sinful act. You are helpless and broken before God, yet you can’t be free. You cry out, “I can’t help it!” You hate playing the game and you always lose…but you can’t help accepting the invitation to the next game.

Besetting sins overwhelm and control us because we believe Satan’s lie (see John 8:44). Satan lies to us about sin and we believe him. With besetting sins, Satan gets us to believe one of the following three lies:

  1. I tried before, and can’t break it.
  2. I don’t want to do this, but can’t help it.
  3. I need an answer, but can’t find it.

Besetting sins could be:

  • addiction to drugs
  • lust
  • compulsive eating
  • lying
  • pornography
  • alcohol
  • cigarettes
  • compulsive spending
  • etc.

If you haven’t already, tell God that you want to be free on this fast! Target this sin. Take responsibility for it. Confess your previous lack of faith. Name the sin. Take personal responsibility. Saying I’m sorry” is not taking responsibility.

If it is the sin of a loved one, target the spirit behind the sin as you fast and pray.  The Israelites were able to gain victory over a sexual spirit in the Benjamites. God can give you this victory over the spirit of addiction in another. Remember Jesus was able to cast the demon out of the boy because a fast accompanied his prayer. This kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting!

The Benjamites

Judges 19 and 20 tells the story of a Levite and his concubine. When traveling through Benjamin, men controlled by a spirit of addiction demanded the Levite that they might have sex with him. Instead they raped his concubine, who died as a result.

The men of Israel righteously rose up Israel united as one man against this heinous crime. They sought God as to who should go first to fight against the Benjamites. “The LORD replied, ‘Judah shall go first’” (Judges 20:18).

The next morning, Israel went out to fight the Benjamites…and lost twenty-two thousand men.

The Israelites wept before God until evening and asked Him, “’shall we go up again to battle against the Benjamites?’…The LORD answered, ‘Go up against them” (v. 23).

On the second day the Israelites went out to face the Benjamites in battle, they lost eighteen thousand men.

26 Then all the Israelites, the whole army, went up to Bethel, and there they sat weeping before the LORD. They fasted that day until evening and presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to the LORD. 27 And the Israelites inquired of the LORD….They asked, “Shall we go up again to fight against the Benjamites, our fellow Israelites, or not?”

The LORD responded, “Go, for tomorrow I will give them into your hands” (Judges 20: 26-28).

This time a fast accompanied their battle and it brought victory!

35 The LORD defeated Benjamin before Israel, and on that day the Israelites struck down 25,100 Benjamites, all armed with swords. 36 Then the Benjamites saw that they were beaten.

Beloved, now a fast accompanies your battle. God will give you victory! He will lose the bands of wickedness! 

“Is not this the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every [enslaving] yoke?” (Isaiah 58:6, Amplified)

2. Undo the heavy burdens (Isaiah 58:6)

To undo the heavy burdens means to break those things that enslave us. It also means to solve problems.

Ezra needed a great solution to a great problem. He was weighed down by a heavy burden. Is this you today? To “undo the heavy burdens” is to solve problems, inviting the Holy Spirit’s aid in lifting loads and overcoming barriers that keep us and our loved ones from walking joyfully in God’s will.

Are you in a financial crisis? Have you encountered a problem you did not initiate? Are you in a season of hardship? Are you going through a season of change? Are you making a major decision? The precepts of the Ezra fast apply to you today. (See The Ezra Fast. The Ezra fast is an occasion of fasting in Scripture, not specific foods to eat while fasting, such as in the “Daniel fast.” The Ezra Fast contains promises and precepts vital to your need.)

The book of Ezra tells the story of Jews returning back to Jerusalem from captivity in Babylon. For Ezra and those returning with him, the long journey ahead was plagued by gangs and thieves. Ezra and the Jews had their wives and children with them, as well as silver, gold, the sacred articles of the temple, their household goods and treasures too. The Israelites were not leaving Babylonian captivity as beleaguered prisoners. They were not mere escapees. They had settled down in Babylon, built houses and businesses. Many had grown wealthy. Some did not want to live in primitive conditions in order to rebuild their nation. They wanted to enjoy the luxury of Babylon. The Jews who did not want to return were required to send gold and silver for rebuilding the Temple. Ezra was transporting their money and possessions.

“In all there were: 25 tons of silver; 100 silver articles weighing 150 pounds; 7500 pounds of gold” (v. 26, CEV).

The Jews were the perfect target for thieves and thugs. They were loaded…and defenseless. They desperately needed protection for the long journey.

Ezra was burdened and facing a financial problem. Just as there were thieves and robbers lying in wait for the Jews along their journey, John 10:10 tells us that we too have a thief lying in wait for us. He has come to steal, kill and destroy. He desires to rob us of financial provision and try to destroy every aspect of ministry.

Ezra took the right step. He declared a corporate fast.

“21There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions. 22I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king. ‘The good hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him’ 23So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer” (Ezra 8:21-23, NIV).

God answered Ezra and the Jews’ fasting and prayer. He gave Ezra wisdom, protected them from the thieves and delivered them safely to Jerusalem:

The hand of our God was on us, and he protected us from enemies and bandits along the way. So we arrived in Jerusalem, where we rested…(Ezra 8:31-32).

Jerry Falwell – Fasting for 50 Million Dollars

In Fasting Can Change Your Life, Jerry Falwell describes a season in which Liberty University needed a financial breakthrough. Throughout the founding and building of the university, he frequently called his church to 24-hours of a full fast

In the early days of Liberty, it was a common thing for our church to fast for the University. We were building three or four buildings a year during the late ’70s and early ’80s. We were paying cash as we built. We never borrowed long-term money until many years after that. Yet it was not uncommon for me to ask the University and church families to fast and pray for an entire day for the provision of large sums of money: a million dollars, five million dollars, whatever was needed for construction at that time. We always fasted from solid food, except for non-nutrient liquids. We would begin after an evening meal of literally eating nothing with nutrient value until dinner the next day

God provided as they fasted and prayed. Yet during the 1980’s Liberty encountered great financial hardship:

Liberty was the fastest-growing Christian school in the world. We had raised more than $27 million of needed cash every year. But when Jim Bakker and Jim Swaggart fell and drew such media attention, it became clear by the late ’80s that we could no longer raise money through television appeals, or support the University financially by direct mail. Because of the national religious scandals, the evangelical religious community would never be the same again. I often compare television ministries to what happened in the savings and loan industry. When the bad ones began falling like dominoes, many good savings and loans were wiped out in the tidal wave….

We had a university, we had buildings constructed, we had spent about $250 million on facilities, but suddenly we found ourselves unable to raise money to pay bills.After four consecutive years of $25 million deficits, we suddenly had $100 million to $110 million in liability debt. We had students on campus and we couldn’t send them home.

The first thing I did was to dismantle the Moral Majority, got out of the political ring and came back to Lynchburg in November 1991 to concentrate all my energies on Liberty University. I moved my office for the first time onto the campus of Liberty. It was through days and nights of fasting and prayer . . . just to raise enough to pay our electric bill or meet salaries. It was a monumental task of restoring the school to financial stability. From 1991 to 1996, I practiced fasting and prayer as never before in my personal life. Survival was the name of the game. Finally, at the end of the fiscal year, June 30, 1996, by God’s enablement, the debt had been reduced from $110 million by more than $70 million.

Besides the financial debt, a double-barreled shotgun was pointed at our head with both hammers cocked. Liberty University was threatened with losing its regional accreditation. Because the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools would not reaffirm accreditation for a university that had such precarious indebtedness as ours, Liberty had to reduce its debt before it could continue its accredited status. SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) put Liberty on probation in December 1996. Without accreditation, I didn’t think the University could continue. With this crisis, I had to fast, and fast seriously.

And the Lord impressed upon my heart in the summer of 1996 that it was time to do the unthinkable, that is, personally go on an absolute 40-day fast. From July 20 to the first of

September, I fasted and prayed that 1997-1998 would be the year when Liberty’s debt burden was removed by God. So I fasted 40 days, July 20 through September 1. I saw mighty things beginning to happen, but I wasn’t really sure. In that first fast of 40 days, I kept asking God for money, but 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 told me not to ask for money, but to learn to know Him better. I had several lessons to learn before I could ask for money. As I ended that first 40-day fast, I felt I had learned what God wanted to teach me. But I didn’t have an answer about money.

After resuming my normal diet for 25 days, God told me I could ask Him for money. So went back on another 40-day fast that began September 25, 1996, ending on November 4. I broke the fast that evening. I had fasted for 80 days out of 105 days during the summer and fall.

I was in Nashville, Tennessee, preaching at Two Rivers Baptist Church at a God Save America rally. We went out for a light meal; it was my first meal in 40 days.

The results of his fast were miraculous!

First, we received a cash gift large enough to pay off our long-term mortgage debt. Second, we replenished the cash flow of Liberty University with several million dollars that gave us financial and institutional health. Third, God sent Liberty a new president, Dr. John Borek, a Ph.D. in business administration, who had been the chief financial officer at Georgia State University. Without him we might not have been prepared for SACS’s accreditation visit. Fourth, when SACS visited and then evaluated Liberty, they removed all sanctions and recommended Liberty University for 10 years of reaffirmation, which is the bottom line of why I fasted.

One individual has given Liberty University close to $50 million since those two fasts. And so those two 40-day fasts were unlike any experiences I have ever had.[ii]

Jerry Falwell fasted seriously. The seriousness of our fast should match the seriousness of the problem:

About every third or fourth day I would drink an 8-ounce glass of V-8. Every day I drank a lot of water . . . a lot of water. To me it is not a fast if you’re drinking blended food or drinking any kind of food value. I also took one Centrum, a vitamin tablet, every morning. After about 10 days, the hunger pangs subsided and about the thirty-fifth day they returned. The last five days were the hardest struggle. In the middle of the fast there was a spiritual release. During those two fasts, I lost 82 pounds.

Has the seriousness of your fast matched the seriousness of your needs? Perhaps a repeat fast is in order in the near future.

Regardless, fasting is to be a way of life for Christians, like giving and praying. Make plans now as to how you will continue to fast in the coming year.

Message Audio

Audio Segment #1 from the message Returning in Power

Audio Segment #2

 

Questions:

  • Are you or a loved one plagued by a besetting sin?
  • Are you weighed down by a heavy burden?
  • Are you in a financial crisis? How do these promises change your perspective of these issues?

FROM THIS SERIES:


[i] Derek Prince, Shaping History Through Prayer and Fasting (New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 2002), 96

[ii] Elmer Towns, Fasting Can Change Your Life (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1998), 10-11 http://www.elmertowns.com/books/online/fastingchangelife/fasting_can_change_your_life%5Betowns%5D.pdf

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, Shades of Grace will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

2 Responses to “Fasting Day 18: Returning in Power, Part 1”

  1. AJohnson says:

    This post has helped me much. I will delve further into your links. Thank you

  2. tanprelow says:

    Good Article

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