Got A Problem That Won't Budge?


March, 2000

Dear Ministry Friends,

Have you ever had a problem in your life that would not budge? Have you ever pulled on it with all your might and it did not move an inch? Sometimes people conclude that it must be God's will for that problem to be there. But often if they just used God's crowbar, the problem would move!

What is God's crowbar? It is fasting. The exasperated father asked Jesus in Mark 9:17-18 (NKJ), "Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. And wherever he seizes him, he throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast him out, but they could not." In verse 21, Jesus asked the father, "How long has this been happening to him?" And he said, "From childhood."

So this was a major problem, and one that had existed for many years. And even the leading "healing evangelists" (Jesus' disciples) could not make the problem go away! But when Jesus got enough of the facts, "He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, "Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!" Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him." Mark 9:25-26 (NKJ).

Jesus succeeded where others had failed. What made the difference? Traditional religion would say that it was because Jesus was the Son of God. But Jesus made a point to say over and over again that He was the Son of man! He accomplished these kinds of powerful healings and deliverances as a man, not as God. ["God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him." Acts 10:38 (NKJ).] Jesus was demonstrating to His disciples how ministry should be done. And He accomplished the difficult cases by living a life of prayer and fasting! This is clear, because, "When He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, "Why could we not cast him out?" So He said to them, "This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting." Mark 9:28-29 (NKJ).

Now, it is obvious that Jesus did not go off and fast for several days. He had already been fasting on a regular basis. That is why His spiritual power was greater than the disciples. In fact, Jesus agreed that His disciples had not been fasting when the Pharisees asked why they had not been fasting like certain others (Mark 2:18-20).

There is an important difference between authority and power. Every believer has the exact same authority — because we all use the same name of Jesus when we pray. But the spiritual power varies widely among believers and ministers. It is primarily a product of how consecrated and committed a person is. The more a person reads in God's Word, prays, fasts, and lives a holy life — the more spiritual power that person will have! And fasting is usually the most common missing ingredient of the recipe.

Also note in Matthew 6:16-17, Jesus said when you fast, not if you fast. He expected it to be a normal part of a disciple's life. Now, many Americans skip food sometimes when dieting, but fasting is not dieting. The purpose for doing without food determines whether it is fasting or dieting. God sees the heart. And it is very valuable to declare a purpose of the fast through prayer.

And what we do at meal time (reading the Word or praying) can be physical evidence of the purpose of missing the meal. In fact, fasting is not an efficient way to lose weight because the body's metabolism slows down when there is no food entering the system. (But on the other hand, the spiritual power and self-discipline gained through fasting is great for controlling our food intake and therefore our weight.)

It is important to understand that you are not twisting God's arm when you fast. You are not making God do something He doesn't want to do. (How could you ever over-power a God big enough to create a billion galaxies, anyway?) Fasting puts pressure on evil spirits, not God. That is why the devil hates it when Christians fast. Isaiah 58:6 (NKJ) tells us what happens during a fast, "Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke?" This is spiritual warfare against Satan, not God. And the Bible says in Ephesians 6:12 (NKJ), "We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." God is not our problem. He is our help. It is spiritual forces from Satan that we must defeat. And fasting is a powerful weapon from God to enable us to overcome the enemy.

When fasting, and after fasting, use your authority and command Satan to flee and stop causing whatever problem you seem to be facing. Don't just pray to God and ask Him to do something about it. He has delegated authority to you, and He expects you to use it! You may not feel you have authority, but it is not an issue of feeling authority. It is an issue of using it through faith. And Satan often battles people during the fast to try to get them to stop, so don't go by your feelings during the fast. In fact, the power is released when the fast ends. (Generally, the longer the fast, the more power released.)

Now, people need some basic instruction about fasting. You should not fast fluids. At least drink water, and you can also fast on fruit juices. There are many different kinds of fasts, and all of them have various value. A one day fast is the most common. It can be 24 hours by skipping breakfast, lunch, and supper. Or it can be 24 hours by a "sundown to sundown" fast that actually only skips breakfast and lunch (you start it after supper, then break it 24 hours later when you eat supper again). I have fasted somewhere around 40 to 50 days a year like this since 1981. I have also fasted 2, 3, 5, 7, and 21 day fasts. If you go more than 2 or 3 days, you really need more information than I can present here. (Order my free tape, or consider purchasing God's Chosen Fast by Arthur Wallis.)

The first day or two of fasting is always the hardest because the stomach physically shrinks, producing what we call "hunger pains." Fasts should be ended slowly and carefully, don't fast 3 days and then rush to an all-you-can-eat pizza restaurant. One man died from ending a 40 day fast with a big steak dinner. But fasting is actually good for your body. The body shifts to a cleansing and repairing mode that could actually save many lives. And fasting is a lot easier to do than many people imagine. (If it is not easy, it probably is a sign you really need it.)

Jesus calmed the storm when His disciples thought they were going to die (Mark 4:35-41). Even though they were in the middle of God's will, one of "life's storms" hit them with fearful fury. But Jesus used authority and power to stop it. He was showing us how we should act when one of the "storms of life" is trying to "sink our boat." Don't just stand there, get busy fasting and praying and stop those storms that have been coming against you!

Using the authority of Jesus,

Dale Leander


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