My friend Jon Reed came to our church on August 4 to preach on revival preparation issues. He decided to speak on fasting on Sunday night and I couldn’t have been happier. Jon discussed many of the types of fast found in the Bible and those who fasted, including Moses, Daniel, Nehemiah, Jesus, and Paul. Jon shared how he saw 40 people saved in a revival at a church he served at in Florida after he had fasted and prayed for 40 days.
Jon shared what your body would go through as you fasted. He cautioned those with health conditions to check with their physician before beginning a long-term, complete fast. Jon told us that the initial effects of fasting on the body included: headaches, mild anxiety, body aches, a bad taste in the mouth, and eventually a white tongue! He assured that these mild issues would disappear around day four or five of an extended fast. Jon finished the service by recommending several books on fasting including: The Power of Prayer and Fasting by Ronnie Floyd, and Fasting: Opening the door to a deeper, more intimate, more powerful relationship with God by Jentzen Franklin.
When Jon finished, I was virtually convinced that I needed to fast for myself and for our revival that would begin October 6. I was convinced that I needed to drink only fresh fruit juices and water when I fasted. I went home and shared my heart with Marsha and she was completely supportive of what I told her. I still wondered if I had been “called” to this fast. Jon mentioned that this was something that was important, that God had called you to fast. I decided that I should proceed by faith in God unless He directed me otherwise.
In a couple of weeks Marsha went out and purchased a Cuisinart juicer. I called it the “Cadillac” of juicers! It has a variable speed motor and all the bells and whistles. I knew it would serve me well. I looked at the calendar in order to determine when I would begin and end my fast. We had already planned our family vacation for Friday, September 6 through Friday, September 13. I knew I couldn’t begin until after we returned home and I settled back into my normal routine.
I initially wanted to begin my fast on Monday, September 16 and fast for three weeks leading up to revival. However, not long after I made this decision I had to schedule an important meeting that would take place at a meal. This meeting was scheduled for Saturday, September 21 so I decided to begin my fast on Monday, September 23. I went out and bought fresh carrots, apples, grapes, and other fruits.
On the weekend before I was to begin my fast, I did not alter my eating habits. Jon had instructed us to eat some small meals leading up to the fast. In a phone conversation, Jon had encouraged me to begin a Daniel fast a few days before I began the complete fast. A Daniel fast is a fast from meats, breads, dairy products, sweets, and all processed foods. I decided not to do the Daniel fast. Jon would be fasting along with me in order to encourage me and be a co-laborer in prayer. I enlisted the help of my pastor friend Jamie Murphy, who would do nothing but pray for me. I asked Jamie to pray that I would be able to complete this 14 day complete fast.
It was about this same time that I received a free copy of Ronnie Floyd’s book in the mail. Dr. Floyd and some other pastors in the Southern Baptist Convention were organizing a large prayer meeting in Dallas, Texas. They had encouraged pastors from our Convention to join the prayer meeting or pray at their churches. Dr. Floyd encouraged pastors to read the book as well. Was this confirmation that I was supposed to fast? I began reading Dr. Floyd’s book as a part of my Bible reading and prayer time. I also located a PDF copy of Elmer Towns book Fasting Can Change Your Life and began to read it. It contained many testimonies about how God had moved in people’s lives and ministries as they fasted and sought the Lord.
As I inched close to beginning my fast, questions ran through my mind. What would it be like not eating? Would I make it more than a couple of days? What if I failed? Would God change me? Would God change our church? Would I think about food all the time? Would it be hard for Marsha and the boys to live with me while I was fasting?
Only time would tell.