Fasting Empowers Prayer
The New Testament church fasted much in the day when she ministered in power and glory.
J. G. Morrison says, "Every great leader who has moved his age mightily for God was a faster."
Martin Luther was a weekly faster and God used him to lift the curtain of night that had hung over the world during the Dark Ages. Luther is criticized for fasting too rigorously, to the probable injury of his health, but he moved the world toward God.
John Knox fasted regularly, and history shows he had power with God in prayer and prevailed with God and saved Scotland from the darkness of Catholicism.
John Wesley fasted two days each week. The pioneering Methodists had two weekly fast days and were on fire for God. John Wesley says, "While we were at Oxford, the rule of every Methodist was to fast every Wednesday and Friday in the year in imitation of the primitive church.
"Now the practice of the first disciples of our Lord was universally allowed. 'Who does not know,' says Epiphanius an ancient writer, 'that the fast of the fourth and sixth days of the week (Wednesday and Friday) are observed by Christians through the world?'
"So they were by Methodists for several years, by them all without exception. But afterwards some in London carried this to excess and fasted so as to impair their health. It was not long before others made this a pretense for not fasting at all. Yea, there are some that do not fast one day from the beginning of the year to the end.
"But what excuse can there be for this for any who believe the Scriptures?"
In Colonial days, Jonathan Edwards was a regular faster. It was under his ministry that sinners seized the pillars of the church and the backs of the seats under the mighty conviction of the Holy Spirit, feeling that they were in danger of dropping into hell.
Seth C. Rees, a successful soul winner, never attempted to hold meetings without appointing days of fasting.
It is a fact that the decline in real old time revivals and the increase in worldliness in the churches is in proportion to our neglect of fasting and prayer.
In the days when conviction was deep, restitutions and confessions were thorough and conversions were genuine, the people of the Lord fasted regularly and prayed mightily – and God gave them revivals.
Tradition says that the apostolic church fasted each Wednesday and Friday and broke their fast at 3 p.m.
God is calling His ministers and people to days and nights of fasting, protracted, persistent, believing prayer.
"Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders…Let the…ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare Thy people, O Lord, and give not Thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people Where is their God?
"Then will the Lord be jealous for His land, and pity His people. Yea, the Lord will answer…I will remove far off from you the northern army…Be glad and rejoice: for the Lord will do great things” (Joel 2:15-32).