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).
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
It’s Day Nineteen of our 21 Day Fast for Pastor Saeed. So glad you’ve stayed with us for the final lap! Lots has happened during our time of fasting and prayer. Naghmeh calls her unexpected meeting with President Obama a “miracle.” I agree and rejoice with her. Now we need another miracle to bring Saeed home! Many of you are fervently praying that our President will not be able to forget their faces, nor rest until he brings Saeed back to his family.
Some of you have shared your own stories of how this 21 Day Fast has opened doors and given you fresh perspective into your problem areas. Now it’s important to remain alert and watchful to guard the ground we’ve gained. The enemy is always looking for a breech in our wall. No wonder we bump into trouble at times.
It’s not like Jesus didn’t warn us. “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart,” He reminds us. “I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Friends, we need to stay connected to Jesus if we hope to stand our ground when trouble hits.
To stand one’s ground is to endure . The word endure comes from two words: hypo or “under”, and meno, “to remain.” Meno is the same word Jesus uses when He tells us to abide in him (John 15:7). So to endure is to “remain under” a painful trial with grace. It’s bearing up under a load of trouble with a peaceful mind.
Let’s pray for the Holy Spirit to strengthen Naghmeh and Pastor Saeed so they can continue to stand their ground. To abide in Jesus daily. To endure until he is released.
That’s also my prayer for all of us during these last three days of our fast. May we be strengthened to stand our ground,. We can’t endure apart from Jesus, so we must abide in Him daily. Rely on the Holy Spirit. Stay filled up with God’s Word.
And remember: If we abide when it’s light, we’ll be able to endure in the dark.