by Steve Wiggins, Lead Pastor at Immanuel Alliance Church
“When we work, we work. When we pray, God works.” I learned this phrase several years ago and it still challenges me every time I hear it, both personally and as a pastor. Who wouldn’t want to soar beyond our feeble human effort to see God’s all-powerful hand at work in our lives? And yet so often we struggle to put our desire for prayer into practice! At Immanuel Church, there was no better experience for us to prioritize prayer than doing it TOGETHER in a 3-day Prayer and Fasting last October. It was radical. It was a sacrifice. People were a bit intimidated to participate. But it was totally worth it! Each person who fasted testified how God surprisingly carried them through it. One lady in her 70’s did a total fast with just water and had no problem! A college student gave up food and social media so he could focus on God. Kids cut out sugar and TV and prayed extra each night with the families. Many people testified how they sensed a deeper intimacy with Jesus and that they wished we could do this more often. Each day at lunchtime, whoever was available met together at the church to cry out to God for things He laid on our hearts. This was my favorite part of the fast. As we gathered, the greatest burden He gave us was to engage in spiritual battle for God to break through some obstacles that had been hindering our church. I can testify that within the first week we saw God answer specific things that had seemed impossible the week before. Major breakthroughs followed in the weeks and months to come with people being saved and healing brought to critical areas in our church. It was incredible to see. I believe we are still experiencing the effects of that corporate time of seeking God.
Personally, the way I would describe my experience was that I felt like the Lord lifted me out of my regular spiritual routine to “totally set apart” for Him during those 3 days. I cut out TV and all technology, and I spent extra time each night praying with my family. I spent time alone with God. I prayed with our church body. We closed with a prayer service on the final night. So much prayer! It was like being spiritually squeaky clean with God. Doing it together with so many others and having so many opportunities to pray with my church body and with my family was such a God-filled time.
If this is what God did from our few days of prayer and fasting, my fear is to think what if we never did it at all. What divine blessings and workings of God would we be leaving on the table? What breakthroughs would never come in our personal lives and in the church? God is inviting us all to so much more. My advice would be this: Don’t miss out!