Fasting Day Seventeen Posts from the Archives:
- Breaking Negative Emotional Habits (The Elijah Fast) …
- The Gospel of Prayer (by Leonard Ravenhill)
- Desperate Prayer (by Leonard Ravenhill)
- Fasting: Clean Slate (by Jentezen Franklin)
- Fasting with Friends from Around the World
- In the Arms of My Beloved
Do you have a habit of being negative – a habit of seeing the glass half empty? Are you plagued by frequent despair and despondency? Are you so focused on yourself and your problems that you can’t see what God is doing in and around you?
Don’t feel condemned; you are joined by one of the greatest prophets in the old testament – Elijah. Just as God used fasting to break Elijah’s negative emotional habits, God can break your negative emotional tendencies through fasting as well.
“Is this not the fast that I have chosen:…to break every yoke?” (Isaiah 58:6).
Leonard Ravenhill was one of Britain’s foremost outdoor evangelists of the 20th century. An author, he is well known for his book Why Revival Tarries, which has sold over a million copies worldwide. (Other related books include Revival God’s Way and Revival Praying.)
Ravenhill was a close friend of pastor and writer A. W. Tozer. Among those influenced by Ravenhill were Ray Comfort, Ravi Zacharias, Charles Stanley, Paul Washer, and David Wilkerson, and many others. (In Light of Eternity: The Life of Leonard Ravenhill was recently published and is available online.)
The following is an article by Leonard Ravenhill called The Gospel of Prayer.
There’s nothing more transfiguring than prayer. People often ask, “Why do you insist on prayer so much?” The answer is very simple – because Jesus did. You could change the title of the Gospel according to St. Luke to the Gospel of Prayer. It’s the prayer life of Jesus.
The other evangelists say that Jesus was in the Jordan and the Spirit descended on Him as a dove – Luke says it was while He was praying that the Spirit descended on Him. The other evangelists say that Jesus chose 12 disciples – Luke says it was after He spent a night in prayer that He chose 12 disciples. The other evangelists say that Jesus died on a cross – Luke says that even when He was dying Jesus was praying for those who persecuted Him. The other evangelists say Jesus went on a mount and He was transfigured – Luke says it was while He was praying that He was transfigured. There’s nothing more transfiguring than prayer.
The Scriptures say that the disciples went to bed, but Jesus went to pray – as was His custom. It was His custom to pray. Now Jesus was the Son of God – He was definitely anointed for His ministry. If Jesus needed all that time in prayer, don’t you and I need time in prayer? If Jesus needed it in every crisis, don’t you and I need it in every crisis?
In the Bible, Hannah travailed. Intercession is like spiritual “pregnancy” and birth. As travail precedes the birth of a child, so birth pangs of desperate prayer precede a work of God in our lives.
In this sermon, Leonard Ravenhill illustrates from Hannah’s travail how intercession is likened to spiritual “pregnancy” and birth. As travail precedes the birth of a child, so birth pangs of desperate prayer precede revival. In the same way, travail in prayer precedes a work of God in our personal lives.
Ravenhill masterfully draws upon the heroic exploits of prayer warriors Rees Howell, John Hyde, Praying Payson, E. M. Bounds, David Brainerd, A. W. Tozer, Murray M’Cheyne and Duncan Campbell.
As believers, at times we need a clean slate spiritually. Why? Because we’ve become like the disciples in Matthew chapter 17. We’ve become faithless and perverse—too disconnected from God (faithless) and too connected to the world (perverse). Fasting and prayer is a remedy for this problem. Through fasting we disconnect from the world and through prayer we connect to God.
Feeding Faith Part 1 and Part 2 cover this topic, but I believe you’ll also be blessed by Jentezen Franklin’s sermon Clean Slate. It elaborates on different areas of this truth and makes unique applications in ways that inspire, uplift and convict through the Spirit’s power.
That’s one reason I’m thankful for Pursuit 21—we can reap the spiritual benefit of fasting, yet have the support system of fasting with friends.
Every year it amazes me to see the locations of Pursuit 21 participants. With modern media, distance no longer separates us! We’re literally fasting with friends from around the world!
If you’re fasting with Pursuit 21, you’re being joined by friends in the following countries:
Guest Post by Linda Johnson
Like the prodigal son, we often leave the arms of our heavenly father. God waits for us to return. When we do, He greets us with open arms and throws a party.
How many times in life have we as Christians, as innocent as it may have seemed at the moment, left the arms of our beloved?
We leave for various reasons, but we all return for the same. Many leave His arms to go another set of arms, but these arms are from a human who can only ‘hold’ them so long. Others leave His arms for the arms of a job – a job that at first is rewarding and challenging, but it never seems to last. Some even leave His arms for the arms of this world and its cares. Whatever the reason, however long we leave, or however far we go – we still ‘feel’ the coldness of leaving the warmth of His protective arms!
Questions: Which of these posts did God use to speak to you today? What is He asking you to do in response to His word?