The Power Of Prayer And Fasting
By D. W. Reynolds
There never was a time when a great revival was needed more than now. God, by His Spirit, is pressing this conviction upon His people everywhere. Every true revival begins with the saints of God. When the Church is fully revived there will be a mighty wave of conviction among the unsaved.
For weeks and months the conviction has deepened with the writer that a mighty revival is gloriously possible and that we must apply ourselves to see this revival come to pass. As circumstances have allowed it, I have applied myself to special seasons of fasting and prayer. These protracted seasons of prayer have been a great blessing to my own soul; my faith has been greatly encouraged and the Holy Ghost has led me to make this appeal for a revival move among us.
Essentials to Forward Revival
First, each individual must humble himself under the mighty hand of God. In 1 Peter 5:6 we read, "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time."
In this humbling of ourselves under the mighty hand of God there must be a complete prostrating of ourselves at Jesus’ feet saying, "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" (Acts 9:6). There must be a complete yieldedness to make any sacrifice or any self-denial that will be to the glory of God. There must be a readiness to make any confessions or restitutions or corrections that the Holy Ghost may bring to your mind that should be made.
James says, "Confess your faults to one another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed" (Jas. 5:16). This same condition is essential in getting your prayer through for any need. There must be readiness for any humiliation on your part for God’s highest glory and the greatest advancement to His Kingdom. There must be quick response to the whole will of God. There must be a carefulness to give God all the glory for any and all results.
Receiving Help and Mercy from God
Secondly, time must be spent in fasting and prayer. Jesus said, "Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting" (Matt. 17:21). He also said, "The bridegroom shall be taken from them; then shall they fast" (Matt. 9:l5). At the beginning of His ministry Jesus fasted for forty days. At other times He fasted. He said to the disciples, "I have meat to eat that ye know not of" (John 4:32).
After Jesus ascended to heaven His disciples fasted often. Paul said, "in fastings often" (2 Cor. 11:27). The Old Testament saints fasted a great deal. The early Church fasted and spent time in prayer day after day.
Fasting is a great help to the spirit of prayer. When fasting we should pull away from every other thing but prayer, as far as possible, and give ourselves to prayer and fasting as much as possible. This will have to be governed by our circumstances. Some will be able to spend more time in prayer than others.
However, one of the important things in connection with fasting is the self-denial put into it in order to receive help and mercy from God. Separating oneself from all and applying himself to the one thing of imploring God for the desired answer, moves the heart of God to quick response.
Jesus said, "And shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily" (Luke 18:7-8). Simply the missing of a meal and spending that time in prayer is greatly rewarded by special help from God.
Fasting, Prayer’s Ally
We have often seen great results come from missing one meal a day for a period of time and spending it in earnest prayer for a revival. At times I have fasted at breakfast time and spent the forenoon in fasting and prayer each day for a week or more, with great benefit. At other times I have been impressed to spend a day in fasting and prayer; other times two days or three days and sometimes longer, with great blessing and rewards in answered prayer.
Fasting helps to clear the mind and enables a person to have a keener perception of divine things. Faith comes easier and clearer in seasons of fasting with prayer. One thing about it is that it is one of the conditions God, in His wisdom, has attached to prayer offered in behalf of certain things. The person who has seasons of fasting and prayer will also find that his prayer life when not fasting will be more effective.
A person who has not been in the habit of fasting will find it difficult at first, but after a few times will find it much easier. Also much care should be taken in breaking the fast. Light food should be taken at first. The longer the fast, the more precaution will be needed, in breaking that fast.
Earnest prayer is indispensable to revival of true religion. "For as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children" (Isa. 66:8). Paul in writing to the Galatians, said, "My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you" (Gal. 4:19).
Shall we lay down our lives for others? Christ laid down His life for us. Will you put your life into this extreme need to prevail for others and to do all possible to see revival?
We are seeing more clearly, that an intense desire to see souls saved, backed up by a faith that will cause saints to give themselves to fasting and intercessory prayer until victory comes – will bring results. Revival fires will be kindled. Sometimes this faith will be tested to the limit. Many reasons may be offered which would make it appear that the answer will not come and that there is no use to hold on in prayer and fasting any longer; but persistence with a united effort in prayer and faith, will bring victory.
If he is going to see revivals in his church, it is very important that a pastor be able to give his time fully to the work of his parish, having time to spend in fasting and prayer. It is a great hindrance if the pastor has to work for a living, or part of his living, if they can possibly give him the support he needs. It is very necessary that the pastor be able to unite with an evangelist in long periods of fasting and prayer each day if a mighty revival is prayed through.
Not only is it necessary for the preacher to carry the load in soul burden, but every Christian in the church must get under the burden and into soul travail if revival is to come. It will be natural that not many of the laity will be able to spend the time in prayer that the preacher should. However, the ministry of intercession is a great work and every layman that can possibly do it should give himself to that work. The success of the great revivals in the ministry of Charles G. Finney was, in large measure, due to the many laymen who gave themselves to the work of intercession in connection with those revivals.