There was a kick start seminar run by the Last Reformation held in Auckland. During the training there is teaching on many topics such as: what the gospel is; healing; casting out demons; how to be a true disciple of Christ as well as a chance to go out on to the streets to pray for people for healing. Normally during these seminars God does amazing things with people. It may be with the people on the streets or it may be with the people attending. Something always happens that we couldn’t even think or imagine beforehand and God is glorified through it.
The weekend before this seminar, I felt strongly led by God to fast in the lead up to it. I hadn’t fasted for a while beforehand and even when I had, the maximum time I had done it for was only around 3 days. This time I felt strongly that I needed to fast for a longer period, so I decided I would do a no solids fast for 7 days until the end of Sunday after the kick start. I didn’t know why I was fasting but I knew I needed to be obedient to God.
In the lead up to the seminar I was also struggling to find anywhere to sleep for the Friday and Saturday nights. Auckland is a difficult place to find convenient and cheap accommodation that would house my whole family. Originally we were going to stay at my Uncle’s house which was 40 minutes drive away, but it would have been too difficult to organise naps for our kids. We then tried to find accommodation closer to the venue through airbnb.com but it was very expensive. In the end we decided it was just easier if only I went to the seminar without my family. Mike organised for me to stay with someone in Auckland named ‘Jordan’ who was also going.
During the weekend I had a great chance to get to know Jordan. He is a similar age to me and he also has young kids so we were able to talk openly about a lot of things. I started telling him how I’d noticed something really strange happening to me since I’d started fasting. There were 2 or 3 occasions when I had got a fright while in everyday situations. This is really unusual for me because I never get that at all. I know that other people do though because if you can walk up behind them they ‘jump’ when you start talking to them. I couldn’t work out why it was happening to me though. After I said this to Jordan he said that that sort of thing happens to him everyday. He also mentioned to me that he has anxiety issues, especially when it comes to talking to people at work. I knew that was something that needed prayer so I arranged for ‘Gina’ (who was teaching at the seminar) and I to pray for him.
When we prayed for Jordan it became apparent after a time of prayer that the anxieties weren’t caused by demonic forces within him. One thing Gina said while we were praying for him was that she prayed for him a few months earlier for him to be set free from demons and he was. What he was experiencing now was something different. We still couldn’t work out what it was though because it appeared demonic on the surface so we spent some time talking with Jordan. As we were speaking it became clear why I was fasting. I don’t remember exactly what was said but I do remember feeling like Holy Spirit was ‘screaming’ at me, ‘this is why you’re fasting. He needs to know there is power in it to bring his flesh into submission.’ So I said this, and I felt strongly that this was what Jordan needed to hear and do and also that he understood it.
I’d also just memorised this scripture a few weeks earlier:
Galatians 5:17. “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.”
This all happened on the Saturday evening. I was still planning to continue fasting until the end of Sunday but God spoke to me in a quiet whisper and said, ‘that’s enough.’ I fought it for a few minutes because I’d resolved to fast for 7 days. I realised that if I did that though, I would be only doing out of the pride of being able to say, ‘I fasted for 7 days’ and not out of obedience. I also realised that the purpose for my fasting had been found out so there was no purpose in me continuing.
After I’d decided to quit my fast I enjoyed some dinner that had been brought by one of the attendees to share. Once I’d finished I noticed a sign on a magnet on the fridge where the seminar was being held which said F.A.S.T. It was the only magnet on the fridge. I think it was something about what to do when someone has a heart attack but it was significant to me in another way.
Fasting isn’t glamorous and it is usually forgotten about but there is power in it. The scripture above says that your flesh is opposed to the Spirit and keeps you from doing the things you want to do. By fasting you deny your flesh and empower your spirit. I believe that it is something that all disciples of Jesus should be doing regularly.