Prayer is the mightiest power in the universe that the believing Christian can apply. A blessed progress will develop in the Assembly of God depending on how much the Christians pray and fast!
During my stay in Hamburg while working on the English original of “Atomic Power with God through Fasting and Prayer”, by Franklin Hall, I was touched so much by the article, that I instantly started a 2-week fast, through which I could gain rich spiritual profit. From day to day I felt the physical things and circumstances lose their value more and more, and my spiritual strength grew.
During this time of fasting I felt neither hunger nor physical weakness. Only on the 14th day I felt a certain tiredness, whereafter I decided to stop the fasting, as my mission seemed to be fulfilled by then anyway.
As a result of these experiences with fasting, which were unknown to me before, I can only advise everyone to train themselves in fasting and fervent prayer, to overcome sexual desires, as well as to revive deep spiritual blessings and power. You can be sure of success.
However, before beginning a fast you have to consider whether your life with God and man is in order, otherwise it is useless according to ISAIAH 58:1-14: –
- “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.
- Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.
- Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours.
- Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.
- Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?
- Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
- Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
- Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward.
- Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;
- And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday:
- And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.
- And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.
- If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:
- Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.”
Only if these conditions are fulfilled, and your life is clearly adjusted to the Word of God, can the 20 promises in verses 8-14 become reality. – Martin Gensichen
Hardly anyone is aware of how much food the average person consumes during the period of one month, and how high the cost for this is. The drinker and the smoker do not think much about their consumption of alcohol and tobacco – they consider it as normal. On top of this there are costs for food and drink, living and clothing, maybe even intellectual training, leisure activities, sports, etc. Donations for other purposes; for the Kingdom of God, for the needs of his own soul, are left until last and are rarely, or never considered.
Most people eat too much. According to information released by Health Authorities, today’s sophisticated society is suffering self-poisoning through too much eating, drinking and smoking. Who amongst the saints of today is giving heed to the following scriptures: (2 PETER 1:6) – “Giving all diligence… add to your faith… temperance…”; (1 PETER 2:11) – “Abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul…”; Therefore, should not true believers seriously (JOEL 2:12) – “turn to the Lord with fasting and prayer?…”
Have the people of God (not to mention people in general) ever understood, why God sent us the times of famine right after the two World Wars? Was it not also because the commandment of abstinence and fasting had been badly neglected amongst the saints for centuries?
How destructive has the indulgence of people in the world affected the subject of sex! On the other hand, how blessed is a temporary fast, which contains the lusts of the flesh. William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, said: “Poor nourishment contributes much to temperance. Therefore, eat for the sake of living, but do not live for the sake of eating.”
Jesus did not want His disciples to fast according to the worthless manner of the Pharisees, which is why He did not instruct them to do so. He only taught them about a more sincere way of prayer, once they themselves had realised with shock, how much prayer was lacking in their own lives. After He departed from them, they learned how to pray and fast in the right way; for then the whole responsibility of the Kingdom of God rested upon them.
We can assume that the 120 people praying for the out-pouring of the Holy Ghost, 10 days before Pentecost, also fasted at the same time, because they stayed at the same place throughout. This means they did not return to their houses to eat. The Lord’s Ascension which they saw with their own eyes was so powerful that they forgot all earthly things. This brought forth all heavenly things in such a manner that their whole desire and longing was focused towards the power from Heaven; the Holy Spirit.
Whoever has the same attitude today, will be able to experience his own Pentecost, which is the baptism with the Holy Spirit and fire.
The apostles also fasted frequently afterwards, e.g., when the first missionaries were sent out (ACTS 13:2) , and also when Elders were brought into their offices ACTS 14:23) – . The centurion, Cornelius, was seeking the Lord with prayer and fasting (ACTS 10:30) . Paul exhorts us to have times of abstinence in marriage, “that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer…”. (1 CORINTHIANS 7:5) – . He stresses therein, that he is proving himself in fasting to be a servant of God (2 CORINTHIANS 6:5) .
In order to enhance the positive effect of fasting in the initial stages, it is recommendable to drink some salted water for the cleansing of the bowels. Add 2 level teaspoons of Glauber’s salt to 1/4 litre of hot water and drink it. You can take this at any time, even when not in a fast, but with an empty stomach, in order to cleanse your body. During a fast, it should not be taken before the first day.
Fasting gets easy when you observe the following guidelines: When your feeling of hunger has gone after a few days, go into deep and intensive prayer. Then you will gain the right spiritual results. Without prayer your fasting is ineffective and in vain.
It is recommended to drink mineral water instead of ordinary domestic water. You should drink hot or warm water to avoid stomach cramps and other inconveniences. Never drink cold water, unless it is taken very slowly. This is advisable especially for slim people, and during a fast in cold weather. A certain hindrance are the well-meant persuasions of over anxious friends and relatives, who try to convince the patient believer to break the fast prematurely, as they fear for his physical well-being. Should you have fallen for these persuasions, take courage and at some time renew the fast again. By God’s grace you will succeed.
You may feel tired during the early or final days of the fast. Nevertheless, you can continue to work and get your day’s duties done if the work is not too hard. During this period however, your prayer will most likely not be as concentrated and effective.
Physical movements like getting out of bed, etc., should never be done suddenly and quickly, as this could cause disturbances in your blood circulation, followed by fainting. After your bodily poison has been secreted, you will feel better both spiritually and physically. Pain, dizziness, weakness, and other physical complaints will disappear. On the other hand the various physical organs as well as your sense and mental abilities will be stimulated. The result of this is the gaining of a certain spiritual authority, with prayers being answered and many other things that you previously thought impossible.
How long should you fast?
Until we finally know that God has heard our prayer. For this you have to get the assurance whether to have a short (1-10 days) or a longer (20-40 day) fast.
As long as our health and physical condition permits, without resulting in damage.
Four Cleansing Methods:
- The pores of the skin are channels through which the body secretes much poison, and this happens particularly during a time of fasting. This is the reason why Jesus says: “Wash thy face” (MATTHEW 6:17). It helps a lot to bathe more frequently than usual.
- The kidneys are activated by drinking water frequently, therefore the urine is diluted and poison is flushed out.
- The lungs are there to secrete the body’s poison through breathing. Therefore it is necessary to be out in the fresh air, to take deep breaths of fresh air, as well as often opening the windows.
- The bowels are also an important means of secretion. Do not worry if the bowels almost stop working altogether, as this is only because there is no supply of nourishment. In an emergency, a clyster would be of some help. It would also be good to do some physical activities, like sport.
Fasting is the best means to break physical disabilities. This applies especially to stomach complaints. During a long fast your stomach is virtually renewed. This is the reason why it is necessary to break the fast gently. You should not immediately start with too much food; but gradually, with fruit juices followed by some fresh fruit.
If you are in bad health, fasting will be of great benefit to your body. Fasting has a rejuvenating effect on the glands, kidneys, liver and the blood, as well as the throat and eyes, etc.
Considering all these points above, it is clear that fasting and prayer can only benefit your physical well-being. Jesus would never have recommended such temperance if it were to have a bad effect upon our body.
Of course you should sleep and rest as usual. If possible during a fast you should try to rest a little more often than usual.
Just as we apply water to cleanse our body outwardly, we need to do the same for our inner organs. Therefore we rinse out our mouth after eating, to remove food remains before they damage our teeth. Our stomach also needs to be cleansed by water. If we fail to drink water while we fast, the stomach will not be cleansed and will shrink, which can cause a slightly bent posture. Without drinking water, the inner organs will remain constipated and the body uncleansed. Therefore the secretion channels will not be able to function. Thus the consumption of water is all the more essential.
The drinking of water does not hinder the fasting person from drawing nearer to God. Water is pure and is used as a parable of salvation and of the Holy Spirit, of whom Jesus says:
JOHN 4:13-14: – “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
Water evaporates upwards. Food remnants decompose back into the ground. Water does not have a stimulating effect like food, for the latter nourishes the desires. Water does not have this kind of effect.
During a fast, the pores of the skin, i.e., those of the face, are filled with the secreted poison of the body. This is the reason why we should wash or bathe as much as possible. After approximately 2 weeks of fasting the most poisonous factors in a healthy body will be secreted with the help of water. From the context of the scriptures you can see, that Jesus Himself also drank water during His 40-day fast. It is not said in MATTHEW 4:2-11 that He was thirsty, but that He fasted. Further, it is said that He hungered in the end, which means, the longing for solid food came through powerfully. Also, when Jesus miraculously fed the 4000 people (MARK 8:3), bread and fish were offered, not water, although the people had been fasting for 3 days. Water was plentifully available in the creeks nearby. To suffer thirst is much harder than to suffer hunger. Not one of the scriptures above mentions the need to drink. This shows that water was available.
Vanishing of Natural Desires
Man has four different desires:
- The spiritual desire, the longing for God.
- The desire for food.
- The sexual desire.
- The covetousness for possession, power and luxury.
All these needs can be justified to a certain degree.
The first desire does not take any effect at all in most people because it is suppressed by the other three.
The second and third desires degenerated into major vices in ancient times, of which Paul warned severely in 1 Thessalonians, chapter 4:” “abstain from fornication…” “also, “”that no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such.””
The fourth, covetousness for improvement of one’s life, degenerates into greed for money, possession, power and luxury. It is a modern trump card in Satan’s hand.
However, with fasting, a miracle occurs: first of all, the second desire – hunger – vanishes. After approximately 10 days of fasting the weakness is gone. Thereafter the sexual desire disappears too. If the person who is fasting continues in fervent prayer to be united with God, the fourth desire – covetousness, is taken from him; or at least so much diminished, that it is hardly noticeable.
To the same degree, as fleshly lusts decrease through fasting, the spiritual longing for God is increased:
“”As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.”” PSALM 42:1
Now, the spirit of prayer becomes alive and an inner urge to pray arises, wherever you are. It is the Holy Spirit who is working by His moving force.
However, at times of such spiritual growth you have to be aware of satanic counter attacks and afflictions. At times there seems to be a wall in front of us which is a hindrance to our prayers. Dear reader, do not be discouraged! If you endure in spite of all, victory will be yours. Do not forget that you are standing in the middle of a fiery spiritual battle!
Breaking the Fast
The longer the fast lasts, the more attention is needed when the regular diet shall be resumed. Gradually, our stomach has to become active again. This takes some time. In the days of the Bible, Israel, the Prophets and Christ were familiar with the dietary-laws of Moses and the prophets. They all knew about the necessary hygiene involved in breaking a fast. After a long fast the stomach has become like a child’s. Therefore it is not to have a normal, regular meal immediately after the end of the fast, even if it was for 2 or 3 days only. It could cause very severe physical repercussions. You should begin with fruit juices, fresh fruit (or canned fruit) and light soups, followed later by vegetables and milk, all in small quantities, until approximately the fourth day. You should not begin with your normal diet until a similar length of time as you actually fasted for has passed. The slower you proceed back to your normal diet, the healthier it is for your body and your nervous system.
The loss of weight during a fast is on average 1 lb. daily. This depends, however, on the weight of the person. A heavy person will lose more than 1 lb. at the beginning, whereas a slim person will lose less. In general, the loss of weight becomes less towards the end of a fast.
Consequences of Fasting:
Dr. Tanner fasted on three occasions for 40 days at a time and explained that every time in the second half of the fast, the inexpressible glory of the heavenly world was revealed unto him. He reached the age of 92 and attributed his old age to the blessing of fasting. He proved that even today it is possible to fast as Jesus Christ did, for 40 days, without suffering any damage. Dr. Tanner was not only a doctor but also a determined Christian too.
Luther was fasting for days while translating the Bible. This might be the secret of his excellent Bible translation. Surely, his great faith and his immense victory by enforcing the Reformation have their origin in his prayer and fasting.
Nowadays, hardly anyone is fasting, and prayer remains powerless without fasting. Therefore nothing is happening. Not Jesus, but Satan is victorious. Therefore, wake up, sleeping people of God!
In the year 1932 God through His grace gave me the first blessed revival campaign. I only knew three families in the oil-town of Novata in Oklahoma. One of them had devoted themselves to praying and fasting. After a time, as we had prayed and fasted together before the beginning of meetings, we had the assurance that every member in our little group had clearly been born again. We then secured a large property for open-air meetings. This was during the warm season.
From the first meeting onwards, crowds of people came. The rush of people increased more and more. Then God began to work. A lady with broken ribs was driven to the meeting and brought to the front on a stretcher. She was instantly healed. The same happened to a deaf and dumb boy and a man whose arm was paralysed. Many people were baptised with the Holy Spirit.
Further Blessed Consequences of Fasting:
in Battleford, Sask., Canada
The beginning of the revival here in Battleford was in 1947, when approximately 70 students gathered together to read the Bible and exercise themselves in fasting and prayer. About 3 months later a sudden revival broke out in a room where all the students met for their morning assembly. Day by day the glory of God fell by His wonderful power. Deep repentance and humility came upon every one of us. Some would fast for 1 or 2 weeks, others even longer. Some even 40 days.
Before all this happened, it was as if we were standing in front of a wall and could not offer anything of value to the Glory of God. While we continued with our quiet Bible studies, we received the book about “Fasting and Prayer” by brother Franklin Hall. We instantly started to fast and to pray. Until that moment we never experienced the effects of persevering fasting, in which we were about to partake. The revival would not have been possible without the teaching of this wonderful truth.
A further essential help for the preparation of our hearts was the arrival of brother Branham in Canada, with his healing ministry.
The Revival is still going and the Glory and the Power of God cover the entire area. There was no loud chattering or laughing, everyone went calmly in reverence of the workings of the living God.
A Fast and Prayer Meeting:
In 1946 a group of believers from various denominations gathered together in San Diego to get more information on the subject of fasting and prayer. Many of them started a consecrated fast. Some even fasted from 21 to 40 days without any break. They all cried out in prayer for a world-wide revival, for the salvation and healing of mankind and an out-pouring of the Holy Spirit with gifts just like at the time of the apostles.
The result of this convention was marvellous. Many healing miracles occurred in the name of Jesus Christ, demons were cast out, moonstruck people were healed, cancer disappeared, the blind could see, cripples could walk again, tumours dried out, lame people and those with tuberculosis were cured, smoking and drinking addictions were laid down and all kinds of diseases were removed. Crowds of people came to the front at the end of the meetings, to be baptised with the Holy Spirit.
In these revival meetings, which were partly led by the author, we could see approximately 1000 souls accepting Jesus as their Saviour within a year. These converts were mainly believers of different nationalities. They were also the channels used to spread these revival reports in other countries and regions.
For many months a prayer-chain was held day and night with fasting, under the leadership of sister Helen Hall. The Lord commanded the author to start a fast and prayer-crusade, which soon spread throughout the whole world. Brethren, Dale and Barbara Hanson, who stayed with us, gave us additional help. Soon, many other preachers and spirit-filled believers were also revived to preach about prayer and fasting in a revealing way.
In addition, many believers in Los Angeles and Southern California started to fast. This is how the spiritual fire spread throughout the entire South up into Canada. Gradually, the people within the whole country started to fast and to pray. Men and women, through earnest prayer, worked hard for the salvation of their nation. Such fighting and devotion moved the arm of God and opened the windows of Heaven.
Thousands of wonderful testimonies from all over the world were coming in, as proof of the answers to prayer.
The author arranged special fast and prayer-meetings in various places within the USA. The biggest auditoriums were filled with people. There were meetings with up to 14,000 participants from all different denominations. Then, thousands of believers began to fast and pray for a world-wide revival. This is the actual origin of the great evangelistic healing crusades, as they call them in America. These crusades are a unique occurrence, springing up everywhere to shake up the people. As a result of all this, sometimes thousands are saved in one single crusade.
This spiritual power is needed today more than ever, because it is not only denominational barriers which hinder the working of God’s spirit in the body of Christ, but also doubts, Bible criticism and unbelief that are pressing upon the church. “Faith without works is dead”, as stated in JAMES 2:20. To bring forth the signs following, as described in MARK 16:17, it is necessary to roll away the dark clouds of unbelief. According to Jesus’ words in chapter 17 of MATTHEW, unbelief will be removed by prayer and fasting.
Testimony of a Smoker:
On 31st December 1945 I began a consecrated fast, after I had listened to detailed instructions on this subject by Rev. Franklin Hall. I did not eat for 14 days. I only took water for the sake of cleansing the body. I used to be a heavy smoker. It seemed impossible to me to stop smoking. But already on the 3rd day of the fast I had no more desire to smoke. On the 4th day I no longer felt any hunger. A bit later my weakness was gone and to my surprise, I felt better and stronger every day. I was able to preach with much more anointing and more authority than ever before; with much better results.
Another few days later, I was baptised with the Holy Spirit, which was wonderful. I continued with my work and it was not at all too hard for me. I have to confess, that the teaching of brother Hall is true and that it had a wonderful effect in my own life. Many people keep saying to me that I look better than before. When I began with the fast, I weighed about 140 lbs. At the end of this 2-week-fast I had lost 16 lbs. My nervousness is gone too. But the best of all, is that I have gained a much greater experience with the Lord by receiving the Holy Spirit.
My fast was shorter than that of many of my brothers and sisters. Yet, I hope, to start a 40-day-fast one day. Christians are not aware of what they can win by fasting.
Charles Wilson, 4010 Euclid Av., San Diego 5, California
Testimony After 24-Days Fasting:
I just want to tell you that fasting is wonderful. I fasted 24 days without any food and drank only water. After 2 weeks of fasting we prayed for an epileptic boy and he was also anointed with oil. The Lord had put him as a burden upon my heart. He was the son of my friend. Shortly after this we could feel that something was leaving him! They were demons! The boy stood up smiling and joyful, and within a few days he found himself a job for the first time in his life, which he still has today.
I continued with the fast under Rev. Hall’s instructions, for 3 weeks and 3 days. I worked inside the house, cooked 3 meals a day for my family and never once felt hungry. I felt even stronger and better than ever before.
I am grateful to have learnt something out of fasting and praying, and can only say that it helped me a lot, both physically and spiritually.
Mrs. Mary Williams, National City, California
40 Day Fast Sparks Revival:
At the age of 19 I almost died from influenza. During this troubled time I turned to the Lord, and promised Him to preach the gospel if He would heal me. After that I felt a kind of ecstasy. For 12 hours I was lifted up into heavenly spheres. When I regained consciousness, I was completely healed. Hallelujah!
Then the Lord spoke to me through an inner voice: “If you will be faithful in fasting and praying, I shall revive missionaries throughout the whole world.” At this time I often fasted for 3-7 days.
Once when I fasted and prayed for 2 weeks, one night Jesus appeared in my room. A bright shining light, brighter than the sun, filled the room. Jesus stood at the end of my bed, surrounded by a wonderful brightness. This experience shook me so strongly that I thought I was floating on air while I walked.
Shortly after this, during a 5-day fast, I started to pray in a strange new language which was unknown to me. It was the gift of speaking in tongues, which is mentioned in 1 CORINTHIANS 12 and 14. A missionary from Rome discovered that I had spoken Italian. He translated it.
After a further 7-day fast the Lord gave a revival in Dayton, Ohio, where many sick people were healed and many souls saved.
One day, a lady gave me the book by Franklin Hall about fasting and prayer. Now I have learned to fast for longer than 2 weeks. The Lord put the sins of all the unsaved and unhealed people as a burden onto my heart, so that I could not sleep any longer at night because of compassion and pity. Jesus showed me once again that in a short while, many more missionary-workers will arise throughout the whole world. They will serve mankind through fasting and prayer. Herewith, even bigger revivals will break out, the likes of which the world has never seen, as Jesus says:
“”He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” “JOHN 14:12
If we consider the terrible destruction Satan caused during the last 50 years with the two World Wars, and the aftermath, we will understand that at the end of this age, the Lord Jesus will perform things which have never yet occurred. To Him be the Glory for evermore!
After I fasted and prayed for 40 days, I could see many miracles of the Holy Spirit. It seemed as if my spirit had left my body. I could see in a vision about 30,000 souls filling a big hall in Detroit, accepting Jesus as their Saviour.
This vision was fulfilled by the ministry of the evangelists William Branham, G. Lindsay, F. Bosworth and others. In these meetings thousands of people were converted to Christ and many were healed.
by Norbert Homuth
Translated from the German: “Fasten und Gebet – die Atomkraft Gottes”