Tag Archives: fasting

“Lord, even the demons obey us when we use Your Name!”

When the seventy-two disciples returned, they joyfully reported to him, “Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!” (Luke 10:17). 

We learn in Isaiah 58 that God loves it when our fasting helps people break free from bondage. “This is the kind of fasting I want,” God explains. “Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people.”  Jesus sent out the seventy two with instructions to heal people suffering from diseases and demons.  “Look,” He told them,  “I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy.” (Luke 10:19 NLT).   But I wonder. Does Jesus still give us that same kind of authority?  Read what happened when my friend Kris found herself way out of her comfort zone with nothing to depend on but the name of Jesus.

GUEST BLOG: By Kris McBride

When I went to Haiti on a missions trip, I knew prayer would play a crucial role in seeing God work.  I asked God for unity for our team, for His mighty power, and for protection.  But I could never have imagined how He would answer those prayers.

One day we went into a village.  Our group of five had stopped to pray for one of the villagers, when a woman rushed over to us with an urgent message.  Our Haitian interpreter told our team to quickly follow him, for we had important business to attend to.

We arrived at a nearby home and saw a man stumbling around the courtyard with a blood soaked bandage around his head.  Our interpreter placed a chair on the porch and motioned for the man to sit down.  The man’s eyes were cloudy and his movements jerky. He couldn’t keep his arms and legs still.  As he told his story, our team silently prayed.

The man explained that the local witch doctor had put a curse on him.  Since then, he seemed to be tortured by some kind of evil spirit.  Our interpreter  instructed us to begin praying.  All we knew to do was to pray Scriptures affirming the power of the name of Jesus.  We claimed His authority over all things.

After praying for ten or fifteen minutes, we commanded the spirit to leave the man in the name of Jesus Christ.  Suddenly, he was thrown out of his chair and hit the door!  After he sat up, he started repeating these words:  “Victory in Jesus.  Victory in Jesus!”

We were in awe, sensing the power and presence of God.  As I looked into the man’s eyes I noticed they were no longer cloudy.  He was able to sit calmly without jerking his legs and arms.  Everyone broke into singing and praising God.  His family was in tears and gave thanks to God.   The man couldn’t stop praising the name of Jesus. None of us had ever experienced anything like it before! We were humbled that God allowed us to witness His great power and authority in healing this man from his affliction.


Fasting Works

I can’t tell you why fasting is so powerful.  I just know it works.  Last week marked the end of our 21 Day Fast for Pastor Saeed Abedini.  Naghmeh  is convinced that doors were opened for her unexpected meeting with President Obama through the fasting and prayer of thousands around the world.

The Bible describes different kinds of fasts.  Fasting can be abstaining from food, as when Jesus’s fasted in the wilderness.  It can also include prayer and action on behalf of the oppressed, the hungry, and the poor as we find described in Isaiah 58.

Fasting helps us break through long standing bondages. But there are also practical benefits.   I shared may own top ten takeways.  Some of you are telling me about yours.  I love hearing stories of what God has revealed to you during these days of fasting.

My friend Jan describes the encouragement she received from her “fast journey.”  A Bible teacher, prayer warrior, and one of the godliest women I know, Jan joined in the 21 Day Fast.  She fasted and prayed faithfully for Pastor Saeed and others.   But she also experienced some unexpected personal benefits. “I was fasting to make better life choices with my eating habits, ” she writes. “I fasted from sweets, junk snacks, sodas and wine.”  She adds,  “The Lord has really taken my desire for sweets away.  I’ve missed my diet cokes (but not enough to go back to the one per day I was drinking).  This morning I had lost six pounds!  I saw a weight on the scale that I haven’t seen in a year or more!! Could not believe it!  It meant so much to know others were in this with me!”  Jan plans to continue her good habits.  I feel sure she’ll see other unexpected breakthroughs and become even more effective in her ministry to those around her.

Maybe that’s how fasting works. It clears our vision.  Lightens our load.  Increases our focus.  Helps us break through the “stuck” places in our lives.  And although I still can’t tell you exactly how or why, I am certain:  Fasting works.  So I plan to keep practicing.  I’ll be on the alert.   I’m eager to watch for signs of God at work, both here and around the world. I hope you’ll join me.

Remember:  Be self controlled and alert for the purpose of prayer  (1 Peter 4:7).


What Matters to God When We Fast?

It’s our first day after completing the 21 Day Fast for Pastor Saeed.  Let’s commit to pray daily for Naghmeh and her children.  During the fast, our main purpose was to cry out with one voice for Pastor Saeed’s release from prison.  Yet we’ve experienced other benefits too, ranging from breakthroughs in certain problem areas to better health.

As my friend Tonya put it,  “I’ve  been caffeine free for 23 days and I haven’t hurt anyone yet.”  Another friend says fasting brought more focus to her prayers.  She’s decided to do further fasting as she seeks God’s guidance and direction.  Dear friends, time spent seeking the Lord is never wasted. Continue reading

My Top 10 Takeaways from Fasting

This is Day 21 of the 21 Day Fast for Pastor Saeed.  You made it!   It’s been exciting to join thousands around the world praying for Saeed and Naghmeh.  Her ten minute meeting with President Obama was a two year miracle in the making.  I hope you’ve also sensed God moving in your life during these twenty one days. So what’s next?

I encourage you to think about what you will do tomorrow.  The day you no longer wake up thinking, “Here we go.  Another day without chocolate or coffee, gluten, or social media.   Or whatever.”  You may feel a bit of a let down.

From a physical standpoint, I find it helps to come off a fast gently.  If I fasted from food, it’s best to eat lightly rather than gorging on everything in sight.  Same with coffee, chocolate, or anything else you’ve been denying yourself.  Ease back in.  You’ll be glad you did.

But wait.  Twenty one days of praying fervently for Naghmeh and for Pastor Saeed’s release. Twenty one days seeking God in our own life.  What do we take away from our fast?

I’ve been pondering that question.  What insights have I gained?  What habits do I want to take with me as I move forward?  Just how does one come out of a time of fasting and prayer?  I thought I’d simply share my list.

The top ten things I plan to take with me after my fast:

1.  I commit to keep praying for Pastor Saeed.  To stand with him and Naghmeh until he is home with his family.  He’s on my Monday prayer list.  Plus, I’m setting my cell phone to remind me to pray for him every day at noon for one minute.

2. I plan to rest a little more.  I like the pace I kept while fasting.  Time to notice the little things.  To breathe deep.  To be thankful.

3. Fasting made me more alert to God’s voice.  I sensed Him telling me how to pray and for whom.  I want to remain alert, especially to God’s whispers.

4. I like the teamwork.  It was nice knowing others were fasting and praying together for a common cause.  I want to experiment with fasting and praying with friends for areas that seem stuck.

5. I’m more in touch with the plight of Persecuted Christians all over the world.  I plan to continue to learn how to pray, give, and even go to those places.

6. I’m inspired to fight a little harder, endure a little longer, be willing to suffer a little more in my stand for Jesus.

7. I am going to practice fasting.  I’m trying to form a habit of regular fasting on Mondays.  A friend plans to do the same, so I hope we can encourage each other.

8. I’m going to watch what I eat.  Fasting from gluten was a good thing.  My body is thanking me, so I think I’ll stay away from gluten whenever possible.  Most sugar and white flour, too.

9. I also want to enjoy an occasional feast.  The Bible talks about feasting as well as fasting.   Celebration as well as self denial.  Feasting is delightful when you also know what it feel like to fast.

10. Stand firm.  I need to persevere.  The personal breakthrough I’m seeking hasn’t happened yet.  Maybe yours hasn’t either.  Remember, Naghmeh had a miraculous meeting with the President, but Saeed is still in prison.  She has learned to depend on God’s strength daily while she waits for the final breakthrough and Saeed is home.

Waiting is hard.  But fasting helped me press into God and draw more of His power and goodness.  Naghmeh is right.  When you allow your trials to drive you into Jesus, there’s a rest and peace that can’t be explained.  He comforts and sustains us while we wait for our breakthrough.





Day Twenty: Do you have something the devil wants?

We’re on Day Twenty of the 21 Day Fast for Pastor Saeed.  Naghmeh Abedini has seen significant breakthroughs in her battle to bring Saeed home.  Some of you have experienced breakthroughs of your own in areas where you’ve felt stuck.  Perhaps you’ve gained spiritual insight, now able to see your problem from God’s perspective.

But I must admit.  Prayer and fasting are still something of a mystery to me. I wonder why the Bible encourages us to pray and fast when we encounter stubborn resistance. Could it be that some battles are harder than others because the enemy knows the stakes are so high?

My epiphany came the other day in a parking lot,  of all places.  I was heading home after a quick run for coffee with my husband.  From a distance, we saw what appeared to be a very aggressive bird battle under some nearby cedar trees.   As we got closer, we saw the target of this assault was a very large hawk. His noisy attackers appeared to be about half a dozen black crows. The angry birds darted in and out, fiercely attacking the hawk. Continue reading