(Ricky Scaparo) I want to share with you two encouraging stories of God’s supernatural protection as a direct result of prayer and fasting. One from the Old Testament and the other from the New Testament. Our first story is about a brave woman who stood in the gap to save her race from annihilation from an evil dictator.
“Esther 4:15-17 – Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” So Mordecai went his way and did according to all that Esther commanded him.”
On the thirteenth of Adar, as Esther began preparing to approach King Ahasuerus to plead with him to revoke Haman’s decree to annihilate the Jews, Esther and Mordechai gathered the Jews of Shushan to fast for 3 days and pray for God’s mercy in defeating their enemies, They called on the Jewish community to direct their hearts and prayers to God and to plead for his help in overcoming the decrees that had been made against them through humbling themselves through “Prayer and Fasting” On the third day, she approached the king and enacted her plan to save the Jews, beginning by issuing an invitation to both Haman and Ahasuerus to a feast that lead to the downfall of Haman and his plot against the Jews. The reward of this corporate 3 day fast was divine intervention and supernatural protection from God Almighty and resulted in Esther being used by god to save her bloodline from annihilation.
Our next story is from the book of Acts Chapter 27. Paul along with other prisoners are sailing to Rome and are delivered to one name Julius, a centurion of the Augustan Regiment. They sailed to Asia and after many days arrived with difficulty off Cnidus, the wind not permitting them to proceed they sailed under the shelter of Crete off Salmone. Passing it with difficulty, they came to a place called Fair Havens, near the city of Lasea.
9 Now when much time had been spent, and sailing was now dangerous because the Fast was already over, Paul advised them, 10 saying, “Men, I perceive that this voyage will end with disaster and much loss, not only of the cargo and ship, but also our lives.”11 Nevertheless the centurion was more persuaded by the helmsman and the owner of the ship than by the things spoken by Paul.
We see here that there was major storm on the horizon and the Apostle Paul warns the men of the ship that if they continued to sail that their very lives would be at stake. But like many people I have met in my life they reject the warning of the man of God and are more persuaded by greed and wealth. Thus the men decided to ignore the warning and continue ahead. Eventually they were confronted by a tempestuous head wind called Euroclydon. Which basically was a typhoon that struck them in the sea. The result of the ship being caught in this typhoon was disastrous just as Paul warned. They began to lighten the load of the ship and the bible says “Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given up.”
The next passage of scripture is amazing! Acts 27:21-25 – But after long abstinence from food, then Paul stood in the midst of them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss. 22 And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 23 For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, 24 saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ 25 Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me.
Here we see that disaster had come upon them as Paul warned but Paul understood the power of Prayer and Fasting. The scripture indicates that after a “long abstinence from food” most likely it was a forced fast from the storm that put them out to sea, nevertheless the combination of these men fasting and Paul’s prayer and Faith resulted in an Angel of the Lord appearing in the middle of the night to assure Paul that they would survive for HIS sake! Did you catch what Paul said? He told the Men that the angel said “you must be brought before Caesar”. Implying that because of one man’s faith and obedience on this ship all those associated with him would be spared as well.
Here is two powerful stories of one man and one woman who both had a covenant with God and understood the power of “Prayer and Fasting”. Both saw supernatural and divine interventions and protections resulting in the lives of many being spared. Esther was used by God to spare a Nation and Paul was used by God to spare an entire crew of Men. What has God spared you from in the past because of fasting? How many of us should have been killed in a car accident, died from an overdose, put in prison, and the list goes on, but was spared through prayer and fasting from someone in our family, Our Pastor, A friend, A praying Grandmother or etc? What could we prevent through a corporate call of Prayer and Fasting? What disasters could we prevent? What judgments? There is angels of God that have been assigned to us that are released through times of prayer and fasting to prevent, promote and protect us in our next season and assignment.