Chapter One Knowing the Power of God

For nothing will be impossible with God.

—Luke 1:37

He told them, "This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting."

—Mark 9:29

We operate computers so powerful that we can be in touch with the entire world. The world is flat due to this powerful tool called technology. We energize our bodies with power breakfasts and consummate important business deals over power lunches. We wear clothing at times that projects a power look, depending on our power taste. Powerful modes of transportation exist on land, through the air, and on the sea. We read books that give us the 1, 2, 3s of achieving unlimited power. Self-help CDs and DVDs guarantee us all the power we'll ever need to be successful in business and in our personal lives.

Power, power, power. But for all the promises made, and the vast number of good intentions laid out before us, someone invariably comes along and yanks on the plug, turns out our lights, and leaves us in darkness once again, forcing us to fend for ourselves as we go back to square one, defeated, out of gas, and powerless. Why do we do this to ourselves when the power of all power is only a prayer away?

Jesus proclaimed the power of His Father in some remarkable ways. One expression of His power was through signs and wonders. The laws of nature were temporarily put on hold as Jesus fed a mountainside of people with only five loaves of bread and two fish. A leper was made whole, to the surprise of everyone. Men of faith made a way and lowered their disabled friend through a roof so Jesus could touch him and heal him. Lazarus was raised from the dead, an event to be followed later by the ultimate in death-defying feats—the resurrection of God's only Son. All of these were awesome and, you would think, convincing expressions of God's power.

In challenging the early church to embrace God's power, Paul often spoke about preaching that is effective—not because of its human wisdom but because it is energized by the power of the Spirit of God. The core message of the New Testament is that the power of God changes lives, transforms points of view, moves nations, and makes people new creatures. Power is a recurring theme throughout the Scriptures, but still, for many of us, we have only begun to understand the full ramifications of this power in our daily lives.

While we continue on our frantic search for the next promise of power, personal fulfillment, and self-gratification, God stands at our side, patiently waiting and holding a connection that will give us one of the greatest sources of power we will ever know. It's a source of power still unknown, underused, misunderstood, and even fear evoking in the minds of some people. Pure and simple, it is the power of God that manifests itself through prayer and fasting.

This power is so great that regardless of the obstacle, breakthrough is possible. It can become a thrust that penetrates the deepest darkness of spiritual warfare. Its advance can be so militant that it can break through the highest, thickest, and deepest wall that may exist before you. When the power of prayer and fasting is discovered and developed in your life, you will experience spiritual breakthroughs that Satan had convinced you were impossible to occur. Ah, the entry point into knowing this kind of supernatural power of God is prayer and fasting.

Let Me Tell You My Story

Although the discipline of prayer is frequently taught and practiced among Christians, the experience of knowing the power of God that comes through fasting, at least until recent days, seldom has been addressed in our generation. Even though fasting and prayer have been part of my life since my collegiate years, they have definitely taken on a new dimension in the past two decades of my life.

I have been active in the church most of my life and have attended too many religious meetings and conferences over the years to count, but until the mid-1990s, I cannot recall a single occasion when a call to fasting was given center stage. I don't remember ever receiving any instruction on fasting or what it could do for my spiritual walk. What little I did know, I picked up in my own study of God's Word. Early in my Christian experience, I made the decision to accept the Scriptures as the authoritative Word of God. As a result, what the Bible commands or teaches, I was determined to obey, even when I didn't understand its truth fully. Through this commitment to biblical truth, I began to catch a glimpse of the power of God that could and would become manifested in my life through fasting and prayer.

I was a freshman in college when I first became fascinated with the many references to fasting in the Bible. I discovered and defined it: fasting is the abstinence from food with a spiritual goal in mind. It is when I pursue the God of Heaven to do something powerful and supernatural in and through my life. This is what I interpreted through the study of God's Word; therefore, I was ready to believe and practice it. Immediately I began to practice fasting in college for one-, two-, or three-day fasts. They were integral to my walk with God. All of this prepared me for the life adventure God had before me.

Fast-forward to Monday, January 15, 1990. My wife, Jeana, was diagnosed with cancer. I couldn't believe the news. My young, beautiful wife—with cancer? How could this be? I was desperate and found myself truly powerless in dealing with the fear of not knowing what the future would hold. I knew I needed God's power at this difficult time in our family's life, and so I began fasting one day a week that entire year, asking God to heal my wife. On a fasting day, in the early morning in prayer, God gave me a word from Isaiah 43:1-3 about my wife. I believed He was promising to heal her.

Through God's anointing and blessing the work of doctors and nurses that performed surgeries, or conducted and monitored radiation and aggressive chemo-therapy treatments, and by God's healing power, my wife is alive after all these years. I believe God placed within me great faith and wisdom from His Word through weekly encounters of prayer and fasting, all for the healing of my wife.

Her story and that entire story are so fascinating and such a testimony about the power of God. You can read more about it in her book, An Uninvited Guest: One Woman's Journey from Cancer to Hope. When you read it and share it with cancer victims and their families, both victims and family members will hear of God's amazing power. We believe this power is awaiting us through the gateway called prayer and fasting.