A Young Preacher Learns the Facts About Fasting and Praying

by | May 19, 2009 | Fasting, Prayer

The year was 1973 and I had enrolled in the Free Will Baptist Bible College in Nashville Tennessee, for the fall semester. I was married and the father of two small sons. Prior to leaving my home, neither my wife nor I had been very far from where we were raised. But God had saved us and called us to the ministry of His Word, so off we went to try and prepare for the ministry.

Before moving the six hundred and fifty miles to Nashville I worked as an industrial mechanic and made a pretty good living. We were not rich, but it was a fairly easy life and we were able to save a little each payday. But now we were strapped for money and getting farther behind each week.

Until that period of my life I don’t believe I had ever fasted, of course I prayed daily and yet it seemed that the Holy Spirit was constantly speaking to my heart about fasting and praying. I had read the bible through a number of times at this point in my life and I knew the bible taught that Christians should fast from time to time. But nevertheless I had not done this and looking back I know the Gracious Lord was teaching me a valuable lesson that would be priceless as I later became the pastor of a church.

On a Sunday morning during church I went to the altar and prayed and told the Lord that we needed twenty-five more dollars a week coming into our house hold just to break even and keep our testimony such as is when becoming a Christian. It seemed that once again the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and said, pray and fast.

So I immediately told the Lord, I will not eat or drink until you answer my prayers and give us the twenty-five dollars a week that we need.

Let me say here it was not that I was demanding anything of God, but that I simply felt so deeply in my heart that God was leading me to do this. If someone had asked , I don’t believe I could have explained the why of it, other than that as stated I believed God was in this fast.

Now the first day was a breeze, I just did not eat or drink anything and when meal time came, I would sit down with my wife and sons and pray the grace and then retire to my bedroom as my wife and children took their meal.

The second day, which was Monday, I went to class and it was a little disturbing when my classmates nearby would turn and look at me as my stomach rumbled. I worked in the afternoon and that was pretty good, I would stay busy in the auto repair shop where I was employed and when break time came around I would just slip away and pray.

The third day, Tuesday was hard and I was hungry! But I still refused to eat or drink and I could tell my body was beginning to weaken, but the amazing thing was that when I prayed it seemed as if I were almost standing in the presence of God Himself and that was a great spiritual boost. It was so wonderful to feel myself drawing nearer to my Lord. Why there were times I felt that if I could have opened my eyes and turned quickly I just might have caught a glimpse of Jesus. Oh beloved it was wonderful.

The next day, Wednesday I awoke and I was weak, but I had promised my Lord that I would not eat or drink until He answered my prayer.

I attended morning classes and returned to our small apartment to change and go to work, that was when the battle really got tough.

I remember that my wife was fixing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the boys’ lunch. Those sandwiches looked like the best food I had ever seen, now remember I had not eaten or even drank water from Sunday morning and now it was twelve o’clock noon on Wednesday.

The battle was raging and there I stood looking at a loaf of fresh bread and thinking about what I believed God had directed me to do.

In a weak moment I picked up a single slice of bread and held it for a full minute and then bit it.

Just as my teeth broke though the bread, there was a knock on our door, I laid the bread down and went to answer the door.

There stood a lady with a small child in her arms and she asked, are you James Avery? Before I could speak she blurted out: “someone said your wife might be willing to keep a child, and I will pay twenty-five dollars a week and I need her to start now and I will pay the whole week up front!” The going rate to keep one child then was twenty dollars a week!

I could not speak, I turned and my wife was standing just back of me and so I moved out of the way and let her take over.

I went to our bedroom and behind that closed door I begged God to forgive me of falling short and help me to be the kind of Christian that He desired me to be.

And that my friend was the day that I learned the power of praying and fasting.

James Avery jamesaveryfwb@earthlink.net

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A Young Preacher Learns the Facts About Fasting and Praying

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