Fasting Opens Our Heart to Revival
Charles Finney was one of America’s greatest revival preachers. He was an Attorney-turned-preacher who became one of the key leaders of what we now call “The Second Great Awakening” in American history. He taught at a school that still remains in northern Ohio, Oberlin College. Unfortunately, it is an evangelical school today. In 1835, Oberlin College was the first to accept all genders and races when other schools did not.
Finney was known for his innovations in preaching and the conduct of religious meetings. These included having women pray out loud in public meetings of mixed sexes; development of the “anxious seat”, a place where those considering becoming Christians could sit to receive prayer and extemporaneous preaching.
One of the keys to his revivals was the preparation beforehand of prayer and fasting. Charles Finney, in speaking of the beginning of his revival work, says, “I had been in the habit of rising early in the morning, and spending a season of prayer alone in the Meeting House. I used to spend a great deal of time in prayer; sometimes I thought, literally praying without ceasing. I also found it very profitable, and felt very much inclined to hold frequent days of private fasting. On these days I would seek to be entirely alone with God, and would generally wander off into the woods, or get into the Meeting House, or somewhere away entirely by myself.”
He declares that, “When he detected a lessening of the Spirit’s wonderful presence in him and through him, he would fast for three days and three nights, and after doing so, he testified that he would invariably be again filled with the Holy Spirit’s marvelous power.” Finney’s teaching recognized what Joel spoke of “returning to the Lord.”
Joel 2:12-25 (NIV) “Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
PRAY: “Lord help us to return to You as we fast and pray. May our actions lead to others coming home to You. Lord bring our hearts home to You. In Jesus Name, Amen”