Our fasting quote of encouragement today is from John Wesley. He said: “Bear up the hands that hang down, by faith and prayer; support the tottering knees. Have you any days of fasting and prayer? Storm the throne of grace and persevere therein, and mercy will come down.”
Our fasting devotional today is titled “FASTING FOR DIVINE INTERVENTION” from Dr. Elmer L. Towns in his book “Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough”.
Periodically, political leaders have declared a national day of prayer and fasting for divine intervention in crisis situations. In 1588, the victory of Sir Francis Drake over the Spanish Armada was widely recognized by the English as an act of divine intervention.
The pilgrims fasted the day before disembarking from the Mayflower in 1620, as they prepared to establish a mission colony to reach the native peoples of North America. It was common for political leaders in many New England villages to call for a fast when they faced a crisis.
Friday, February 6, 1756, was designated a day of solemn fasting and prayer in England over war with France in the Americas. Lincoln also called for a national day of prayer and fasting during the Civil War. On both occasions, military victories by England and the northern states of the United States were viewed as divine interventions by those who fasted and prayed for those successes.
Similar days of prayer and fasting have been proclaimed by political leaders as recently as World War II. In the midst of the Battle of Britain, George 6 designated Sunday, September 8, 1940, as a day of prayer and fasting. In a radio broadcast made days after the day of prayer, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill compared Britain’s state with the earlier threats of the Spanish Armada and Napoleon. In his memoirs, Churchill identified September 15 (the Sunday following the day of prayer) as “the crux of the Battle of Britain.” After the war, it was learned that Hitler decided to postpone his planned invasion of Britain for two days (September 17). Similar calls for a day of prayer also accompanied the D day invasion of Europe by the allies on June 6, 1944.
In short, fasting has a long and impressive history as a discipline adopted by believers for a variety of reasons, but all of them are connected by the principle of self-denial. We may deny the self to emphasize the needs of the nation, of others who need God’s blessing or of our own spiritual needs.