Last night my small group spent the bulk of our meeting just sharing testimonies from the church’s 21-day fast which ended on Sunday. It was a rich time, people really opened up and shared deeply with each other. Almost every adult in the group participated in the fast. There was a lot of variation in what people actually did. A few did the Daniel fast but others cut out sweets or meat or coffee or some combination of those.
People were surprised at how much they enjoyed the fast and how God worked in deeper ways. Most people were making changes in their diet following the fast based on their experiences and their improved health. One guy who typically has several headaches a week, only had one during the entire 3 weeks.
Some people saw significant breakthroughs, but I think the most moving testimony was from a couple who were praying for three specific things. They saw breakthroughs in none of them but they truly feasted on God in new ways during the fast and finished with an assurance that God was in control and would eventually come through in all three circumstances. The husband was especially elated because he felt like for the first time in many years he was hearing God’s voice. And the wife was thrilled that she now has a husband who is listening to and hearing God. This made a big difference in a health crisis that occurred unexpectedly in their family in the middle of the fast.
Everyone was agreed that the church should continue to do corporate fasts and some people were strongly suggesting that we do them more than once a year.
Of course, we don’t have to wait for a church fast to fast and pray together as a small group. I remember the first time I fasted with a small group. We were in a small group in our previous church in Texas. We weren’t the leaders of the group, we were just members, and the leaders of the group left to help plant a new church. Everyone wanted to continue the small group but no one wanted to lead the group. At that time, my full-time job was being a small group trainer and consultant. So, of course, everyone wanted to know if I would lead the group. But besides having a full-time job and four growing children I was in the middle of a Ph.D. program. I felt like I simply couldn’t take this on on my own. So I told the group that if someone would fast and pray for the group each day of the week for a month, I would lead. No one in the group besides my wife Vicki and I had ever fasted but seven people stepped forward. (We only had eight adults in the group!)
God responded to this group fast and people’s seriousness in seeking him. That group which almost ended multiplied five times in the next two years!
What has been your experience with our church fast or a small group fast? What insights or testimonies would you like to share?