Someone may say, “My life is a wilderness! It’s barren. It’s empty. It’s dry.” If this describes your life, your marriage, your hopes, and dreams—it is time to fast and pray.
Hey, Everyone, Ashley Sullivan again!
I’m so honored to be sharing more about prayer, and what fasting is on this Sunday afternoon! This is something very near and dear to my heart and I love that I get to share more of that today!
So for those of you that fasted with us Oct 1-3, we’d love to hear your wins! Even if it’s as simple as “I lasted the 24 (or 48 or 72) hours,” “God did _____”, or “I feel less dry spiritually”. All of those are BIG milestones. If this was your first time fasting, CONGRATULATIONS!! It gets easier the more you do because you begin craving the spiritual effects of a fast.
I definitely enjoyed my fasting time and by day 3 I felt that “edge” come back. I’ve been at an interesting place spiritually since Luke passed away. I can generally hear from God very easily because of the way He has gifted me. But for 48 hours afterward, I felt this haze around me. Like there was this screen of white noise surrounding me and the Holy Spirit was just outside of it. It wasn’t until the Lord spoke to me during worship that Sunday morning (he passed away on Friday morning) that the haze snapped. But there’s still been a little bit of residual “haze” that made me feel slightly dull and just “off” most days. I had fasted once before this but 24 hours wasn’t quite enough to sharpen that edge.
If you read The Fasting Edge, that dullness is something that Franklin talks about in-depth. He compares fasting to chopping down trees. This story he pulled from Dr. Tony Evans book explains it well.
As the story goes, a strong, young lumberjack challenged a respected veteran lumberjack to a contest. The young man wanted to prove himself, believing that he could cut more trees in one day than the older man. The contest began early one morning. Relying on his own strength and stamina, the young man began swinging his ax through the first tree and then another. As the day progressed, he was certain he was winning because he could see that the old man was taking several breaks. All the while the young man just kept swinging his ax, felling one tree after another. At day’s end, the young man stood confidently by, waiting for the official count from the other lumberjacks. To his shock and dismay, the old lumberjack had cut down at least a third more trees than the younger man. In frustration, the young lumberjack conceded victory to his veteran competitor, but he wanted to know the man’s secret. He wanted to know how he managed to beat him considering his age and the number of breaks he took throughout the day. The older, wiser man kindly replied, “Son, what you don’t understand is that every time I sat down for what you call a break, I was sharpening my ax. A well-sharpened ax makes for a lot less work, so trees fall faster.”
We all need that! What trees do you need to be chopped down in your life?! We all have things that NEED to happen in our lives. But maybe sometimes we don’t think it’s “worthy” for God to move. Or we’ve stopped believing in miracles because we see none in our lives.
In 2018, I joined our church in their yearly 3-day fast. I chose to do 7-day liquids/smoothie with my friend. I’ve been pregnant or nursing for the last 4 years of my life so my fasts have yet to be my preferred water fasts. If you’re in the same boat or have medical needs, alter it and fast however you can. God honors that sacrifice even if all you can cut out is refined sugars and carbs + social media/TV. That’s a big deal when you walk into a house that smells like Ghirardelli brownies…
Anyways, during that time, God showed me a lot about our future ministry and confirmed our calling to a Spanish speaking country in Central America. Specifically Costa Rica. I know, it’s not Guatemala but bear with me! Luke wasn’t home at the time, didn’t fast with me, and didn’t agree with much of it because God hadn’t shown him. He didn’t care where we went he just wanted to achieve his God-given dream after 5 years of working and waiting for the $140k in loans for his training to be paid off.
At different points of the year, he’d bring up looking at missions organizations since we were about to pay off our loans. In fact, we paid off our mountain of loans in May and since I never felt peace about moving forward, we just waited. October rolled around (when he finished his very last 90-day rotation overseas), we vacationed to Costa Rica as a celebration of hitting that “loans paid” milestone. I’m also half Costa Rican but had never been there so it was a treat to visit the country where my dad grew up.
After heading home, neither of us had peace about going there but was still what God had shown me. So now what?
Come November, we had peace about hunting for a missions aviation organization. We found a BIG list of places on the IAMA site and narrowed our search to those in Spanish speaking countries. The God thing was that PBM was the only place on that site that mentioned Costa Rica. Another God thing. So we really focused there.
No one else responded to us except for PBM. We chatted with Dan on December 4th, had an informal interview with the board on the 26th via Skype and the next month we were en route with our family to visit Guatemala AND have our formal interview. Those were significant answers to prayers that came out of my fasting time 11 months before. Those answers happened FAST once God started to move.
I’ve learned that you don’t gain amazing miracles without intense sacrifice. Thankfully, what the Lord requires is that we give, we pray, and we fast. He does NOT require us to make it happen on our own. That’s all on Him. In fact, if your dreams and goals are not impossible without His intervention, I’d ask if they’re even big enough. Make room in your life for miracles by fasting and praying and giving your tithe. That 100 fold blessing I mentioned in our last email is REAL.
I’ll be sharing more of our miracles in future emails but for now, allow me to challenge you with these two quotes from The Fasting Edge.
“Someone may say, “My life is a wilderness! It’s barren. It’s empty. It’s dry.” If this describes your life, your marriage, your hopes, and dreams—it is time to fast and pray. Perhaps the Holy Spirit has led you to this place to regain your edge.”
“People all over America and the far reaches of the world are beginning to see that fasting is not just for a select few—but that God is a rewarder of all who diligently seek Him. Fasting and prayer bring you closer to God. While that may be a brief answer, it is by no means simplistic. Fasting is a short season that releases long-term rewards.”
I encourage you to fast with us on October 19-21. It will be the last days of our 30 Days of Prayer and Fasting. Grab the book(s) if you still haven’t and allow God to work on your heart. There are so many things we need God’s intervention within our lives and in Paradise Bound. Without prayer and fasting, we’ll only get a glimpse of the power of God. After all, if our Lord Jesus Christ, who truly didn’t need to fast, went out into the wilderness and fasted 40 days + other times, shouldn’t we be following His footsteps and stepping out in faith to pray and fast?
I’m so excited for all God is doing and going to do! Over these next few days, we ask that you pray for God’s power in the Village Impact Ministry/Outreach of PBM. That includes; Discipleship, Prayer Groups, House Churches, and Aviation. Pray that God would grow this outreach tremendously and bring many lives to Him.
P.S. if you’re wanting Fasting or The Fasting Edge, head over to these links below!