Forty years ago today I would have been in the second of seven days the Lord commanded me with specific and detailed instructions to fast without eating or drinking in complete devotion to Him.1 I write in gratitude to glorify the Lord for my experiences with Him those seven days that are still vivid and impacted my life and ministry in profound and lasting ways. Though yet a babe needing to grow spiritually (as are many reading this I also hope to urge on), I was never to be the same again (Galatians 2:20)!2 The command to be totally given over to the Lord came at a critical period in my life and twenty-two months from the time my spiritual journey began on Easter Sunday 1977.3
After my new birth, while I still had a robust interest in living the get high, party and sexually promiscuous lifestyle I had been accustomed to, it had begun to wane in satisfaction (1 Peter 4:1-3). I was becoming more interested in the things of God; occasionally reading a now, well worn New American Standard Bible I was given and a Parachurch ministry magazine that came out of nowhere I would later learn was unbiblical. In the spring of 1978 I had been fired from a department store job for impropriety and was struggling as a student at Howard University. I was not able to focus because my life seemed meaningless and empty; I had lost all sense of purpose and was depressed.
At summer’s end I was about to lose my apartment. So, with two school buddies, I made plans to move into and split the rent at a Takoma Park, MD high-rise that October. Still struggling with school though, I withdrew from classes in late September. I was working in a record shop part-time. In near desperation for change, later in the fall I asked a woman I had met in a club to direct me to the church she attended. My irregular attendance at the Mt. Zion Baptist Church in D.C. after that felt right, but I was still not at the point of total commitment to the God who was tugging at my heart. I ended the year and spent the first nine weeks of 1979 unemployed after being let go from my job.
I had enrolled in spring semester classes, but school still held no compelling interest for me and I went only sporadically. At my lowest, I attended church fairly regular now, reading my Bible more and praying for guidance and help. When I heard the voice of the Lord in my heart again for the first time since that Easter Sunday encounter, He commanded that I fast to Him for seven full days; eating no food or drinking anything. I was to totally withdraw from the world as I was living in it to include not sitting among my friends the first three days and give the Lord my complete, undivided attention in Bible study, reflection on the Word, prayer, listening to Him and my one Gospel tape.4
While I had some fear of the unknown concerning fasting as He commanded, the Lord’s accompanying instructions were reassuring and very importantly, faith building as was my entire experience. For I now understand with all else He had in mind for me5 from midnight Friday morning, February 16, 1979 through midnight Friday morning, the 23rd, my Lord was calling me to surrender all to Him; to die to self and sin for the first time in a major way on this unique occasion leading to what would eventually become in spirit “daily” as I matured in Him (Romans 6:1-14; 1 Corinthians 15:31; 2 Corinthians 4:11, NKJV).6 Indeed, the smell of death radiated from my body and breath (Job 19:17).7
With the intent to read through it all, my Bible study starting from Genesis 1:1 was very instructive. Though I did not finish before the end of the fast, when I did so later in the year, it turns out the fast was the launch pad for the many times I would read through God’s Word over the forty years since. The Lord showed up in my times of reflection not only to illuminate what I had studied, but to acquaint me with His Person--He is love, joy, peace…and power! Oh, the power of God who displayed it in my body such that I never thirsted or hungered (Isaiah 55:1-3; Matthew 4:4); who also stirred me to look closer and see that each flake truly was different as the snow fell gently on my 10th floor window (Job 38:22-38; Mark 4:35-41). I was in awe, but He was not finished yet!
The Almighty God, Creator of the heavens and the earth also brought me outside after the snow stopped the next day and commanded me to look directly into the sun. I hesitated because I had been taught never to do this due to the harm it would cause my eyes. But the Lord directed me to trust Him. So, I peered into the sun and the Lord said to me “Do you see the glory of the sun I created? My glory is greater” (Psalm 136:1-9; Isaiah 40:25-26; Acts 26:12-15)! No harm came to my eyes that day or since. Obeying His directions, I ended my fast with an amazingly good sip of water followed later that morning with juice and fruit. I did not eat a heavier meal until the second day after. Weak in body, but my soul on fire, I rejoiced mightily in church that Sunday and was later baptized!
During the week, the Lord had one more glorious experience for me. As I was driving along in D.C., I looked over to my right and saw a cemetery. Before I could focus good, all at once overflowing joy filled me followed immediately by uncontrollable tears as I understood in that instant the graveyard held no fear for me because in Christ, I overcome even death (Job 19:23-27; John 11:23-27)! I could hardly see through my tears as I drove on thanking and praising God for His great salvation and what was taking place in me as a result of the seven days with Him. The Lord gave the guidance and help I sought. He led me to withdraw from Howard and provided a part-time job at a grocery store so I could pay bills and save to move back home to Seaside, CA that May for what He had planned next. I gave away most of my worldly possessions and when May came, hit the road.
1 I am writing in the Holy Spirit’s illuminating spiritual hindsight about things I did not understand in those days. So, I now understand, for example, fasting in Scripture is
a spiritual discipline involving the subduing of the body in its natural desire for life sustaining food as an act of self-emptying humility before God. Many of the Bible’s
heavyweights fasted for this reason (Nehemiah 1:1-4; Luke 2:36-38) especially related to repentance (Daniel 9:1-19). The Lord Jesus fasted from food to God while
being tempted by the devil (Luke 4:1-2). The ancients also fasted in times of distress and grief such as when mourning those who died. This latter reason gives rise to
seven days being found in Scripture as one of the various number of days to fast (1 Samuel 31:11-13). Seven is a number God uses to signify completion (Genesis 2:
1-3). Fasting without food and drink is the ultimate self-emptying humility before and giving over of oneself to God which Moses did for forty days and nights on the
mountain and the Lord Jesus fully actualized on the cross (Deuteronomy 9:9; Luke 22:19, 41-42, 23:46).
2 Scripture references are added throughout this post I did not know back then as another beneficial aspect to me and the reader of the Holy Spirit’s illuminating spiritual
hindsight and confirmation of things taking place in my fast experiences.
3 This post is an elaboration on one part of my personal testimony found in fullest outline in the midst of a 5-part Journal article entitled, Releasing The Strong Man, be-
ginning in Part IV on the From Slavery To Victory Education Project Web Site.
4 My friends later told me I drove them crazy playing the 1978 Walter Hawkins, Love Alive II Album and especially the song, Be Grateful, over and over again (patched
and moved to a new shell, I still have and listen to it). They did not know that in that song in particular, the Lord was ministering His healing and deliverance from the
darkness of my despair with every tear I shed; hope in Him for better days ahead. Thank you, Jesus!
5 To learn more about other things the Lord was doing with me during my seven day fast read the October 2, 2016 post, Gifted With A Prophet’s Heart, and Pastors As
Developing Christian Men posted on December 17, 2017 both under the category, Call To Repent. See also Serving God From The Heart, posted April 23, 2017 un-
der the category, Glory To God!
6 Yes, I mean exactly as the great hymn, I Surrender All declares and Denise Williams soulfully delivers in her cover of it on her 1994 Greatest Gospel Hits Album. By
the way, among the many great songs on that same album, Ms. Williams also sings one of my standing songs of life devotion and service to the Lord, My Soul Desire.
7 Do not attempt to fast as I was commanded unless you are in fact commanded by the Lord who is able to and does supernaturally sustain the body deprived of its
necessary nourishment. The Lord never commanded me to fast without food and drink for seven days again, but once for three days and several times for one day.
All other extended fasts the Lord commanded me were without food only; the longest being forty days. There was no fast in drawing near to God that I did not have to
come face to face with, confess and repent from biblically defined sins (1 John 1:5-10).
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