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Fasting Day 20: Returning in Power, Part 4

When we fast and pray, God promises that our health will spring forth speedily and our influence will increase.

“Then your light shall break forth like the morning,
Your healing shall spring forth speedily,
And your righteousness shall go before you…”
Isaiah 58:8

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

1. Your healing shall spring forth speedily (v.8)

Do you want healing in your body? Would you like to make healthy choices in your eating this year? (See Fasting Day 18: Health and Healing.)

Daniel did not want to defile himself with the king’s food. As a result, he fasted. He and the other men who fasted with him were healthier & better nourished than the men who ate the king’s rich, royal food (see Daniel 1:15).

In Fasting for a Spiritual Breakthrough, Elmer Towns tells about a time when the students of Liberty University fasted and prayed for the healing of their Dean of Students, Vernon Brewer.

Vernon Brewer

In 1985, Vernon Brewer was diagnosed with cancer. The doctors gave him a short time to live. Brewer was a well-liked dean because he was fair with the students. Word of his cancer grieved the entire student body.

All 5,000 students were asked to join in fasting and prayer for Dean Brewer’s healing. The students were given several days to prepare themselves for the fast, before beginning a 24-hour prayer vigil in the school chapel. The students alternated 1-hour segments in the chapel throughout the night and day, because the chapel only held 200 people. The chapel was always overflowing, so the windows were opened to allow students sitting on the grass outside to join in prayer with those inside.

The food services of the university were shut down, except for a small serving line for about 50 diabetic students, who prayed just as intensely for their dean’s healing.

After fasting and praying, three medical procedures were performed – surgery, radiation and chemo therapy.

Today, Vernon Brewer is alive and healthy. He directs World Help, a missionary and humanitarian organization. You can visit his web page and see evidence of the fact God heals in response to fasting and prayer!

Charles Hughes

Charles was an upperclassman at Liberty University with great potential. God had called Charles to preach and serve Him in ministry. Charles was so gifted that Jerry Falwell used him in the “I Love America” crusades – a crusade where Jerry Falwell preached on the capitol steps of almost every state capitol building in America. As a student, in each crusade Charles gave a patriotic reading that was powerfully used by God.

On the way to an evangelistic crusade in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where he was scheduled to preach, the van in which he was riding was mangled in an accident with an 18-wheel truck. Charles’s head was crushed, and they removed the top of his skull because of swelling. The doctors told us Charles would die and asked if the family would sign papers to donate some of his body organs to living recipients. The medical community felt Charles was as good as dead.

Jerry Falwell was in Holland, Michigan, preaching when the accident happened. Charles was unconscious for 14 days. His father, Dr. Robert Hughes, asked Falwell to call a day of fasting and prayer throughout the entire ministry. They did do that.

Jerry Falwell told everyone that Charles would live if they deeply fasted and prayed from the depths of their hearts. He was so sure that God would answer their prayers that he announced Charles was going to speak at Liberty’s graduation that year.

Charles lived and was restored enough to bring a powerful message at the 1978 graduation.

Liberty had previously had well-known speakers such as Dr. W. A. Criswell of First Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas, and Dr. Charles Stanley, pastor of First Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia, but to Falwell, the greatness of that message was not what Charles said, but the testimony of his healing as he stood before the audience that day.

2. Your righteousness shall go before you (v.8)

Do you want to live a godly life, influencing those around you in even greater ways? Fasting brings this increased influence. (See Fasting Day 15: Lives of Influence.)

When our righteousness goes before us, our testimonies and influence for Christ are enhanced before others.

John the Baptist fasted with his disciples all the time (Matthew 9:14). John the Baptist was dedicated as a Nazirite from birth (Luke 1:15). Although his father, Zacharias, was told that his son would follow the Nazirite vow, John the Baptist still had to choose this for himself once he grew up.

A Nazirite could not cut his hair or drink wine or strong drink (Nu. 6:2-8; Lu. 1:15). John’s vow made him different from the average person around him. When people saw his long hair, they immediately identified him as a Nazirite – a dedicated or consecrated man. (The Nazirite vow was named after the Hebrew word meaning “vowed” or “dedicated.”) He was perceived to be a man of great influence before both God and man.

The Greatest Influence

Jesus spoke of John the Baptist as one with the greatest influence:

“Among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist” (Matt.11:11).

Another notable fact about John the Baptist is that there was no sin recorded about him. He continually did the will of God. He witnessed to his generation that Jesus was the Christ.

“There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe” (John 1:6-7).

You and I can also live lives of influence and become great witnesses by following John the Baptist’s example of fasting “often” (Matt. 9:14) and “drinking neither wine nor strong drink” (Luke 1:15).

John the Baptist was Spirit filled – “He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb” (Luke 1:15). He had an outer testimony of long hair, but he also had an inner testimony that affected people.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, they will be filled (Mt 5:6).

Without Jentezen Franklin’s influence in my life, I would not be fasting … and you would not be fasting. Jentezen is a man who has made fasting a part of his lifestyle. Consequently, his influence is great.

When we traveled to Romania in 2008, our team stayed in the home of Liviu and Mary Neagoe.  Immediately upon arriving, we sat down for dinner and a time to get to know each other. Within minutes, the topic of fasting came up. We quickly discovered that we were all fasting the twenty-one days in January with Jentezen Franklin.

Fasting will increase your influence!

Message Audio

Audio Segment from the message Returning in Power

 

Questions: How do these promises and scriptural precedents affect your expectation in God for the coming year?

FROM THIS SERIES:


[i] 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

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