Letter from My First 40 Days Fast
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Letter from My First 40 Days Fast

This letter was sent privately to a friend who had started his 40 days fast just after I'd ended mine. Somehow something technical went wrong and it ended up going to a list of over 500 people. I was horrified/embarassed... but the Lord used this very candid letter to prompt many people on this list to fast and pray. It details some of my very real struggles during my first 40 days fast, Aug - Sept of 1995...

Date: Fri, 29 Sep 95 08:41 PDT


I hope your fast is going well. I found on mine that starting on about day 6 I started feeling really unspiritual. I had no interest in reading His word, worship, prayer, etc. I would force myself to do a little each day but I felt farther from God than before I started fasting. In addition to this, my sinful nature kept manifesting -- I found that I was more irritable than usual. All I wanted to do was to watch TV and play computer games. I did not want to talk to those who I oversee/pastor at Church and I became very concerned because part of the purpose of the fast was to hear God more clearly and to draw closer to Him. It felt very much like I was going the other direction, which made me question whether or not there was any merit in doing this fast. From day 6 to the middle of day 13, it was a definate "low" for me spiritually. I would pray and ask God whether or not He wanted me to continue this fast -- silence. I consulted a few of my more mature intercessor friends about this, and they said that unless I get a clear word from the Lord to the contrary, I should obey what I last heard when I was in a place to hear clearly -- which was to fast for 40 days. Since it was kinda hard to hear clearly at this phase in my fast, they suggested I go with the last clear direction I had. So I kept fasting, despite the fact that I felt more carnal than ever before in my last year and a half.

Everything came to a "head" for me on day 13. I was tired, grouchy and ittirable. I was supposed to be captian of our renewal ministry team that night and I couldn't immagine myself praying for folks that night, much less captianing. I had seen a Pizza Hut commercial advertising their new pizza with cheese in the crust. For the last three days, that was all I could think about. I had been waiting in line for 15 minutes to get on BART (our subway system) and someone cut directly infront of me and took the last seat, which should have been mine. I was so angry that I actually made a nasty remark to that person. Then I felt kinda horrified with myself. I noticed how "ugly" my nature had become and wondered what type of Christian witness I had become. Furthermore, I still did not feel close to the Lord, which troubled me because I'm used to being in very close intimacy with Him. I was troubled over it and decided on the way home to forget the fast because it seemed to be drawing me further away from God, not closer to Him. I got off the subway and walked 10 minutes to my car, then I had a 25 minute drive home. As I started that drive, I began making plans about how I would get a Pizza Hut pizza (i.e, drive to a Pizza Hut vs telephoning and having them deliver it), what type of toppings I wanted, etc. Of course, it had to have the cheese in the crust, etc. Well, my mouth was really watering and I could hardly wait to get home and order. But as I drove, I decided that maybe I should run it by the Lord, just incase He had an opinion. So I told Him that this fast was drawing me away and that I was going to have a pizza and asked Him how He felt about it. About then, He started reminding me how He had called me to this fast, how I'd had alot of energy and vigor on this fast, how my chronic sickness (a disgestive disorder) had not acted up since I'd started fasting, etc. It became clear to me that He wanted me to continue the fast and that He was not as concerned about my feeling distant from Him that I was. It became very clear to me that this was a choice of wills -- His or mine. I knew I had to lay aside my will for His, but it was SO hard. I began to weep -- quite litterally. I told Him that I did choose His will over mine, but that this was too hard for me and I needed Him to help me. I quite litterally died to self just then -- it was the hardest thing I've ever done.

When I got home, I did NOT order the pizza. Instead, I prayed. God spoke to me that a temptation was not really a temptation unless it was really tempting. He said that now I knew what it felt like for Jesus when He was tempted to turn stones into bread. God comforted me some, but I'd had a pretty good look at my sinful nature (not that I sinned, just that I had a clear revelation of how sinful I was by nature) and I was discusted with myself. I felt really unclean. So, God told me to go take a shower -- an act in the natural of what He was doing in the spirit. The whole time in the shower I was discusted and discouraged with my sinful nature and wondered if there was any hope for me at all. I cried out for Him to transform me, to make me more like Jesus. I told Him how much I needed Him to hold me in His arms and just love on me. God spoke to me in the shower that He would meet me powerfully that evening at the renewal. I was not sure whether or not it was really His voice, or just my own wishful thinking putting words into His mouth.

I did not feel like going to the renewal that night, but I had to go because I had responsibility there. So I went. God came and met me powerfully. (I've already posted the details to new-wine). It was a major turning point in my fast. During this time, God told me that there would be three major temptations (and a lot of attacks) during this fast. He told me that I'd already been through and passed the first temptation -- laying down my lust for pizza for His will. He said that if I looked to Him and His strength, I would be able to get through all three temptations, but if I trusted in my own strength -- I'd fail.

After that, I began to see more and more clearly in the spirit. All of the sudden, I was operating at a whole new higher level in the prophetic. It was a very powerful time and the fast became very dear to me. I did encounter some incredible attackes but God's grace was all over me to get through them. I made it a daily prayer that God would guard the attitudes of my heart, because I was not capable of guarding my heart on my own. Some really horrible things happened to me. I cannot immagine how I managed to come through them with no bitterness, no anger, no unforgiveness and no fear. It had to be the Holy Spirit guarding my heart, because left to my own devices I would have had all of those attitude sins. I began to see evidence after evidence of His grace in my life.

One of my own personal goals of this fast was 100% discernment of His will from not His will. Coupled with that I also wanted the grace to obey what I heard. He spoke to me and told me that He has granted this request, but that it is a process He will take me through to get there not an instantaneous thing. He said that it would be an accelerated process, but that it must be a process because the accountability to obey goes way up as the discernment goes up. I would get destroyed if I did not learn to obey as I learned to hear, which is why He makes it a process -- so that I can continuously practice obeying at the level I am capable of hearing at. I told Him I could hardly wait for the time when my discernment was close to 100% accurate. He sort of grinned at me and told me that one day I'd look back longlingly to when I was not capable of hearing so clearly. He said that right now I can get away with all sorts of things that I won't be able to get away with then. He said that sometimes He will ask me to do things that I dont want to do and that I'll wish I did not know His voice so clearly so I would not have to do them. He said that I should not be discouraged by what He's telling me because there will be great joy and great victory in laying down my will for His will.

As the fast came close to ending, I did not want to break it because I was enjoying such an increased level of intimacy with Him, of discernment into what He was doing at the moment and of increased power. I started serriously considering going longer. I was supposed to break the fast on Friday (Sept 22), but Todd Hunter (head of the US branch of AVC) was to speak at our renewal meeting that night. Wouldn't it be neat to extend the fast one day and to have that increased power/discrenment to minister at this important renewal meeting?...

God spoke to me and told me that it would be equally disobedient to fast longer than He told me to as it would be to break the fast early. He said that the critical ingredient here was not the fast, but the obedience.

One of the major things that happened to me on this fast was a commissioning of sorts into a higher level of the prophetic. Just about everyone who I prayed for would come back to me later and say, "How did you know to pray such-and-such?" Also, I find that I am doing a great deal more directive prophesy during personal ministry. This is something I used to really shy away from. But God gives me a word of knowledge or two so that the person knows it's really Him. Then He gives the person directions as well as encouragement. For instance, He had me tell one man who I did not even was having marriage problems to be more patient with his wife and to stop treating her like she does not care about God's Lordship in her life. He said that He wants to lead and guide the wife and cause her to grow, but that the man is overly restrictive and does not give God room to move in his wife's life. God told him to bear her up in love and to encourage her, just as Jesus loves and encourages his church. They the Lord promised him that she would raise up and become the helpmate He'd created her to be, complete in Christ and able to love and trust him and to look to him for leadership in their relationship. After the ministry was over, he told me that I'd just hit the major issues in their marriage and that he had been sort of trampling and overbearing on his wife. He was very encouraged by this ministry because it was clear that God wanted to come into the relationship and bring His grace and fullness into it. (God is SO awesome, but you already know that).

I would say that my walk is back to where it was before the fast in terms of intimacy with the Lord. I've had a pretty close relationship with Him for a few years now. But I am continuing to operate at a higher level in the prophetic and also continuing to have an increased level of discernment in the spirit.

I felt that the Lord wanted me to share with you some of the struggles of this fast so that you would not be discouraged if you find yourself going through struggles on your fast. Sometimes we have to get into desparate situations so that God can come and show His glory. Without trials, we would not have those awesome testamonies of how He came and glorified His name in the situation!



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