Hippity-Hopping to the IHOP

30 08 2011
Truth Matters Newsletters – August 2011 – Vol. 16 Issue 8 – Hippity-Hopping to the IHOP – Rev. Robert Liichow

 Discernment Ministries International

 Hippity-Hopping to the IHOP

 Due the endorsement of Texas Governor Rick Perry a spotlight both secular and doctrinal has been placed squarely upon The International House of Prayer (IHOP). (1) Perry who is a Republican is running for the office of the Presidency and he has called for a day of prayer and fasting in Houston in August. A quote from a letter Perry sent to all 50 state governors says:

 I believe it will take a great amount of prayer, and a renewed commitment to spiritual principles, to get our nation back on track. Let us not delay in doing what is right for our people and their future. (2)

 Perry agrees with the proponents of extreme charismania so much so that he has asked Mike Bickle and his prayer warriors from IHOP to help in this event and Bickle’s group agreed and is involved. The let us not delay is referring to his upcoming prayer meeting and he, like all the extremists believe that their prayers will literally move the hand of God to manifest the things they have been decreeing in prayer. (3) [ I waited to finish this article until the prayer gathering occurred. People can listen to Governor Perry’s prayer online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZvENzg61kw.  When you do you will notice that Jesus is not referenced in it at all, nor is the prayer addressed in His name, i.e. “whatever you ask the Father IN MY NAME” (John 14:13) I wonder if God the Father even “hears” prayers not offered in Jesus name].

 So What Is the Problem?

“Ok Bob what is so bad about a diverse group of Christians gathering together to fast and pray 24 hours a day, seven days a week? If anything, this sounds like something the Church and our society really need. . . more prayer, right?”

 It is without dispute that prayer is essential to our spiritual development and fellowship with our Lord. Christian voices alone are answered by heaven’s throne. (4)  This places a distinct burden on us who stand before the God of all creation as His royal priests (1 Peter 2:9) (5)  We do not have to pray…we get to pray! Prayer is one of the sacred privileges given to us by our loving Father to worship and extol His glorious virtues, to commune with Him, to pour out our hearts to the One who is easily touched with the feelings of our infirmities (Hebrews 4:15). Prayer is a good thing; it should have a prominent place in our daily lives and every worship service. I would heartily agree with those who bemoan the fact that prayer is so often lacking in many church services. In rebuking those who bought and sold in the temple Jesus stated clearly that of all things—His house would be known as a house of prayer (Matthew 21:13; Mark 11:17; Luke 19:46). One of the many aspects of our local worship service at Zion in Detroit is the amount of time given over to prayer. I can honestly say that Zion’s liturgical format is Christ centered and prayer driven. (6)

 Who among us when a serious enough need arises does not contact other people of like precious faith (2 Peter 1:1) especially with e-mail and Facebook. If we are really honest about it we are all a little superstitious when it comes to prayer. Many think that if a certain person prays for them, then they will receive their petitions, others believe if enough people pray sincerely enough that will move God to acquiesce to our demand(s). After all, if two people pray for something, that is one thing, but if say 50 or 100 bombard the throne room of heaven surely God will hear and act in accordance to our wishes, Right? Not necessarily.

 Like many beautiful things prayer can be twisted and turned into something that is ugly and totally unacceptable to God. This is the concern regarding IHOP, they have taken things given by God to the Church, (in this case prayer, fasting, music) and turned it into something God had not intended for it to be. They have taken prayer which is a good thing and they have added one too many “o’s”—prayer is a good thing, but in this case it is not a God thing.

 And let every one of you take his censer and put incense on it, and every one of you bring before the LORD his censer, 250 censers; you also, and Aaron, each his censer.” So every man took his censer and put fire in them and laid incense on them and stood at the entrance of the tent of meeting with Moses and Aaron. Then Korah assembled all the congregation against them at the entrance of the tent of meeting. And the glory of the LORD appeared to all the congregation. Numbers 16:17-19

 In the above text we see the Aaron and his sons taking their censer, incensing it and offering it to the Lord. The Lord responded by manifesting His glory. Incense is generally accepted to symbolize prayer offered to the Lord (see Revelation 5:4,8; 8:3) and in this case the Lord accepted it. However, one of the most sobering cases of ministerial malpractice is shown to us in the lives of the first Jewish high priest Aaron:

 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD. Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the LORD spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace. Leviticus 10:1-3

 These priests, members of the covenant family took their same censers and fired them up and put on the same incense and offered them to the same God. God did not come in His manifest presence to fellowship with them, instead a devouring fire went out from the Lord and devoured them in the tent of meeting where they stood. The same activity, the same people, the same God, yet the first was accepted and their own inventive “liturgy” brought nothing but God’s wrath upon themselves. Nadab and Abihu offered strange fire to the Lord and were judged for it. The point should be obvious — all prayer is not necessarily acceptable to the Lord. I would postulate that today it is still possible for God’s people to offer strange fire to the Lord via the incense of their prayers.

 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do, for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. Matthew 6:5-13

 Our Master was a man of prayer. It is obvious from His life that prayer was massively important to Him. After preaching Jesus sends the multitude away and goes away by Himself to pray “And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, (Matthew 14:23). (7) We see Jesus praying all night long in the following text: “In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when day came…, (Luke 6:12-13)  (8)   He often went alone and apart from both the people and His disciples to pray to His Father. What do you think Jesus was doing during His 40 days of fasting in the wilderness? (9)  Yes Jesus even commanded that His disciples both pray (Matthew 6:7; Mark 11:24; Luke 11:2) and fast (Matthew 6:16). According to Jesus prayer and fasting are not optional accessories that can decorate one’s spiritual life or not. No, they are vital ingredients to a vibrant and fruit-filled Christian walk. Let me state it another way — if Jesus Himself needed to pray (and do it quite a bit) and fast, then how much more do we need to? It is an interesting study to take some time and look up the passages regarding our Lord and prayer. (10)

 After taking time to re-read through all the passages regarding Jesus prayer life you have found some interesting facts. First of all Jesus never held prayer rallies. He never held any type of mass prayer meetings, nor did He ever pray all night with His disciples. When He did ask His friends to come and pray with Him in the garden of Gethsemane they fell asleep on several occasions (Matthew 26:41). This may shock you but He did not pray for the world (John 17:9). You will have noted in Matthew 6 some directives given by our master which are to govern our prayer life.

 First He says don’t be like the hypocrites who like to gather and prayer aloud to be seen of men. Now, as a former Pentecostal & charismatic extremist (11)  (there is a difference) I can tell you that people act differently in groups than when they are alone. Part of this is normal acceptable behavior, yet much of it involves the myriad of masks we put on when we are around others.  There used to be an old motivational poster that said “integrity is what you do when no one is watching,” which ought to be true spiritually too. Many people attend these massive prayer meetings to be seen and often to see others. You want to see people who want ot be seen as deeply spiritual?

 Go to any IHOP gathering or just a local all-night charismatic shut-in. For example the women who lay on their backs with the legs bent and spread, pelvises thrusting toward the sky screaming out unintelligible gibberish want to be seen as giving birth to revival (I kid you not). The man jogging in place flapping his arms in the corner is either in ecstasy or is doing the pee-pee dance, in any event he draws attention and so it goes. Jesus says don’t pray to be seen by others. Your prayer life alone should mirror what it is around others. If you don’t raise your hands in private, why do it in public? Don’t prostrate yourself at home, don’t do it in the church.

 Next Jesus goes on to warn against using vain repetitions like the heathen do! Naturally, when the Lord tells people not to do something, they do and do the exact opposite and do it all the more. This too is pandemic among all tongue-talking prayer warriors. As one who spent hours each day praying in other tongues, as well as being in charge of prayer meetings I can attest that most of what is uttered by anyone in other tongues today consists mainly of vain repetitions. If you listen to anyone “pray” in other tongues for more than a few minutes you will

 Naturally, worship has now taken on an entirely new meaning for these fledgling Christians (at this point the word had not even been coined) whereas before they had been looking forward to the coming of the Messiah, now He has come and His flock await His return. The liturgy did not change, but the true underlying meaning behind the liturgy was now full understood and thus it became more meaningful in the lives of the disciples.

 quickly hear them saying the same syllables over and over again, sometimes softly at other times in a loud voice, but the same words. Charismatic prayer meetings are vocalized in other tongues, I mean a good 90% of the meeting are not in English apart from giving a general directive “the Lord wants us to cover India in prayer” then off we’d go in the spirit. It is just as true today as when Jesus first uttered His words “for they think they shall be heard for their many words,” This is the underlying belief and motivation of the IHOP — if they can just get enough people praying seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day especially when this is combined with fasting and music surely God will answer from heaven. Yet before we get ahead of ourselves we have to consider the historical roots behind IHOP in order to discern its doctrinal foundation.

 A Somewhat Brief History of IHOP

 Even though Mike Bickle’s non-profit “IHOP” is being sued for trademark infringement by The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) (12) we will continue to use the acronym until the case is settled to refer to the enthusiastic prayer warriors.

 Originally IHOP did not stand for “The International House of Prayer,” originally it was an acronym for Intercession, Holiness, Offerings and Prophecy. Where did this revelatory insight come from? From no less a luminary than the self-proclaimed prophet & exposed homosexual and drunkard Paul Cain, the spiritual mentor of Mike Bickle, the current SINister over The IHOP.  (13)

 Founded 12 years ago by Mike Bickle, a self-trained evangelical pastor, with a group of 20, the International House of Prayer, in a former strip mall, now draws tens of thousands of worshipers to its revival meetings. A wholly devoted cadre of 1,000 staff members, labeled missionaries, has given up careers to move here, living off donations and spending several hours a day in the prayer hall to revel in what they describe as direct communication with God. Another thousand students attend the adjacent Bible college, preparing to spread this fervent brand of Christianity. (14)

 True enough on the surface; Bickle did start IHOP around September of 1999. Since then they like to boast that prayer, fasting and praise to the Lord have been unceasing since that time. According to their web site—

 The International House of Prayer of Kansas City is an evangelical missions organization that is committed to praying for the release of the fullness of God’s power and purpose, as we actively win the lost, heal the sick, feed the poor, make disciples, and impact the seven spheres of society–family, education, government, economy, arts, media, and religion…We refer to our full-time staff at the International House of Prayer as ‘intercessory missionaries.” They raise their own support to work as full-time missionaries who reach out to others from a lifestyle of prayer and worship. Today, about 2,000 believers (staff, students, and interns) serve full-time, investing fifty hours per week, as they go from the prayer room to the classroom and then to ministry outreaches and works of service. Also, as those who are committed to the forerunner message, we are preparing ourselves to prepare others for the unique dynamics of the generation in which the Lord returns. (15)

 One thing to keep in mind is that IHOP did not just suddenly “spring up” into existence. The concept is an amalgamation of some obscure strings of thought from various charismatic luminaries. As mentioned in a prior article much of today’s extremism can be traced back to George Warnock’sFeast of Tabernacles, along with Franklin Hall’s Atomic Power With God Through Prayer and Fasting and David Wesley Myland’s book The Latter Rain and Pentecostal Power. These books form the core of extremist beliefs today. Oh I suppose I should add in Kevin Conner’s The Tabernacle of David and maybe Hall’s book How to Raise the Dead (DMI has a copy of it too) (16)

 All of the aforementioned books speak of a fairytale world where virtually all believers will walk this earth (prior to Christi’s return) as true sons of God. The concept of sonship is very important to these people. The Greek terms used for “son” in the N.T. are not all the same designations. Some times son denotes an infant or at other times a young boy. To these folks the goal is to become a mature fully developed spiritual man. A man who now walks in the manifest presence of God, one who is used in any and all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The problem is that the most common term denoting sons of God, not some designation for the spiritual elite.

 Deeply planted in the minds of the extremist is the concept of the power of God. We know a little of His power is from our reading of the Bible. The question they ask is how does one go about obtaining His power and establishing the Kingdom of God on earth to the degree of ever vanquishing death (1 Corinthians 15:26). It has long been written about (see above books), preached in private leadership meetings, and whispered among the devotees that the day is coming and might be upon us where God will raise up a flock of “eagle saints” who will have risen on the wings of faith to such a degree that even death will bow before them! Naturally, such a belief must contain the reality of complete victory of all indwelling sin & every vestige of this fallen world. These so-called eagle saints, or manifest sons of God (MSOG) will have achieved complete sanctification in this life through a series of spiritual impartations, much fasting, prayer, Bible study, meditation. According to their belief system the best way in which a person can grow to become an eagle saint is to be in a growth environment with people who are all in agreement with the same spiritual goals. False prophet (real profit) Bill Hamon makes the following statements in his book The Eternal Church:

 Each restorational advancement of the Army of the Lord has established denominational forts that are given responsibility to maintain the purity and power of that truth…New recruits are now being drafted and trained and older soldiers and generals are being put through intensified training for the next advancement of the Church Army. They are being purified by the Baptism of Fire… Are you ready? Where do you start? What will you do? A new government must be established, a new way of life for those millions of people. You are now ready to rule and reign on your overcomer’s throne!… The Earth and all of creation is waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God, the time when they will come into their maturity and immortalization. . . . When the Church receives its full inheritance and redemption then creation will be redeemed from its cursed condition of decay, change and death . . . The Church has a responsibility and ministry to the rest of creation. Earth and its natural creation is anxiously waiting for the Church to reach full maturity and come to full sonship. When the Church realizes its full sonship, its bodily redemption will cause a redemptive chain reaction throughout all of creation. (17)

 Hamon, whom we’ve already written about received his “call” into prophetic ministry in the late 1950’s as a young boy at a revival meeting led by an early restored prophet of the New Order of the Latter Rain. For many years Hamon has been allegedly training and releasing thousands of prophets into the earth. His books are often the text books in charismatic Bible “schools.” Mr. Bickle and Mr. Hamon are ministry friends and support one another in the prophetic movement. Hamon is the mentor, Bickle the disciple in that Hamon cut his teeth on NOLR doctrine which he got straight from the horses’ mouth so to speak. Bickle got his doctrines second hand, but as we shall see he has learned them well and has implemented them all in the IHOP.

 The underlying concept behind the sign-gift people is that of restoration. They believe at some point the Church lost what God had revealed to her and along with that lost revelation the Church lost the dynamic power of God. When this loss happened depends upon who you ask, there is no one answer only many theories. It really does not matter to them as to when this loss of knowledge/power occurred what is important is that they agree it did happen. They love to cite the following text “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (2 Timothy 3:5).

 Every non sign-gift denomination and congregation is placed into this category. Every one outside the sign-gift community is considered a low-wattage believer who will barely make heaven. If you do some basic Church history study you will learn that every movement within the Church or from outside have been groups asserting that they and their group are the true restored Church. Some groups have based their claim on restored truth, formerly lost revelation now revealed to their prophets. This would include people like Judge Rutherford, Joseph Smith, David Koresh, Helen G. White, Mary Baker Eddy and a host of other damnably deluded fools. Others claim restored Biblical truths, restored miraculous powers, restored foundational offices (prophet & apostle specifically) and now divine revelation called “present day truth” (2 Peter 1:12). IHOP falls into this second category of restorationists and in that sense they are not anything new on the scene.

 Bickle like all extremists take the Book of Acts to be their manual on how to “do” church. The extremists make the mistake of taking the Book of Acts to be the normative pattern for all of Christian life until Christ returns. (18) They fail to read with understanding.

 Acts is an historical account, not a doctrinal treatise, although there is doctrine in Acts. Acts was not meant to be normative until Christ return.

 In Acts not every Christian went around working miracles and healing the sick. Peter did not spend all his time walking about on really sunny days so folks could be healed by his shadow (Acts 5:15), nor did Peter start a “Healing Crusade” throughout Palestine.

 The Apostles did not go around imparting/releasing spiritual gifts into masses of people. For example from the Day of Pentecost until the time Cornelius’ household received the Spirit with the evidence of other languages was ten (10) years apart (see Acts 10:40-44) ! It was not a usual occurrence, re-read the account yourself, the apostles themselves were surprised.

 At no time since the death of the Apostle John have any Church expressions duplicated what occurred in the Book of Acts (which is why restorationists say the church lost its power somewhere somehow).

 Today’s extremists deny these four facts about the Book of Acts. To them Acts is the pattern of the victorious Church. They read of people having open visions of angels (Acts 12:8); divine teleportation (Acts 8:39) something Jesse Duplantis swears happened to him in his book Heaven Close Encounters of the God Kind; demons cast out (Acts 16:18), people raised from the dead (Acts 20:10) David Hogan claims to have raised over 400 people from the dead and people actually believe him. Women who were prophetesses (Acts 21:9), obviously if God spoke through these women He will speak through women today, right? These are simply a few of the examples these folks love to examine. Everything supernatural in Acts is supposed to be our daily experience as Christians, and if not the sheep, then most assuredly our leaders. It is because of this faulty understanding of the book of Acts combined with insights from Warnock/Hall/Conner that IHOP emerged.

 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things Acts 15:15-17

 The IHOP started more with a prophetic basis (Paul Cain’s input) and it seems some Scriptures were cherry-picked to support their revealed word. In fact their own web site states as much:

 Over the last 25 plus years, the Lord has graciously given us about 25 powerful prophetic experiences that provide insight into what will happen in the days ahead in Kansas City, the USA, and other nations. These supernatural experiences were given to several prophetic people in the 1970’s and 1980’s. They include times when various believers saw the Lord, heard God’s audible voice, saw an angel, or had prophetic dreams that were dramatically confirmed. These prophetic experiences are referred to as IHOP-KC’s prophetic history. Scripture, being the highest standard and guardian of truth, is our primary light in a dark world. However, the Lord sometimes gives us prophetic experiences to highlight aspects of our specific ministry assignment and to strengthen us in our faith to believe for the release of His extraordinary blessing. (19)

 Remember what I just wrote about their view of Acts? Prophetic experiences, seeing Jesus, hearing audible voices, seeing an angel. . .”Scripture being the highest standard and guardian of truth is our primary light” [but not our only one]. Primary can mean first as in chief or primary can mean the first reference sought or first in a line of several. Extremist Tommy Tenney, author of the best seller The God Chasers stated that the Bible contained the dusty footprints of where God had been but now we had to rely on the Holy Spirit to take us to new experiences and revelations that continue where the bible stops. Extremists believe that the that the 29th chapter of the Book of Acts is being written today.

 After making his one weak statement on the semi-sufficiency of Scripture Bickle goes on to say “however,” meaning that yes we look to the Bible but the Lord gives us additional prophetic experiences outside of the Bible. There has been an alarming downward spiritual turn in the charismatic renewal since the early 1990’s.

[A SHORT BUT IMPORTANT RABBIT TRAIL BEGINS HERE]

The extremists took a further step towards cult status during the beginning of the so called “Toronto Blessing” which I have already proven beyond question in my book The Two Roots of Today’s Revival was demonically inspired and empowered and transmitted by men. When critics, such as myself and other heresy-hunters began to contact pastor Arnott (which I did) Kilpatrick, Rodney Howard Browne (the Holy Ghost bartender) and others about our concerns over what was being taught and practiced we were then told what has now become the official party-line when challenged about their unbiblical doctrines & practices.

 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen. John 21:25

 In expressing my concerns to former Pastor Arnott (20) and warning him that if he did not explain himself biblically I would have no recourse but to warn the Body of Christ to the fullest extent of my ability (Matthew 18:17) as meager as that may be. His response was to cite John 21:25 as his way of explaining spiritual drunkenness, making of animal sounds by the guest Pastor as he attempted to read the Scriptures and some other excesses we witnessed and videotaped. Everything that was done simply falls into the category of the “many other things which Jesus did” that are not recorded in the bible (keep in mind these people think they are writing the last chapter of Acts now). How then are we to judge such expressions?  Simple.  We are to believe in the revelations and prophetic directives given by the restored apostles and prophets. So spiritual drunkenness is from the Holy Spirit because John Arnoot/Kilpratrick/Hogan (___insert a name) says it is, and after all, God has called them to, in Kilpatrick’s own words “shepherd the revival” ergo he and the other leaders know what is from the Spirit and what is not, they are the authority in these cases since the Bible is silentDoes that seem strange to you?  Isn’t this what happened in the early church (the pattern)? Originally the Apostles took what Scriptures they had, the O.T. and received new insight into it via The Spirit. God has changed not (MalachI 3:6) and so today we can/should expect God to speak to His apostles and prophets and they then will faithfully reveal it to the Church, who will out of loving obedience to godly authority DO what the apostles and prophets direct. Whenever any leader attempts to lead people away from the Bible and into subjective experiences and asks them to place faith in their new revelations, then those people have departed from the one true and holy Apostolic Church. How so? When people reject the sole authority of Scripture and have added alongside it subjective revelations and experiences which they deem authoritative on the basis of a shared consensus, then these people have left the sure anchor of their souls (Hebrews 6:19) and are adrift on a sea of darkness and human speculation.

 [END OF THIS RABBIT TRAIL]

 IHOP came into being as a direct result of these main influences (1) assorted historical prayer movements, (2) concepts on power prayer, power fasting, power worship gleaned from the New Order of the Latter Rain (NOLR), and (3) one text from the New Testament.

 Bickle is correct when he comments that there were various prayer movements in the history of the Church. He mentions the Moravians, a Pietistic group led by Count Zinzendof and their admirable history of continual prayer. The next major movement he cites is the “Prayer Mountain” started in 1973 by Dr. Paul Cho, charismatic extremist with the largest church in the world. (21) Bickle cites other examples on his web site (22) and he attributes great spiritual moves of God directly to these various prayer endeavors.

 From his study of revival history he came away with the conviction that if enough people pray with sincerity and passion long enough then God will answer the pleas ascending to His throne by these tireless prayer warriors (Luke 11:9). Extremists base their staunch position that whatever God did for others in the past He is obligated to do the same and more for us, because He does not change (Mal. 3:6) and He is no respecter of persons (Romans 2:11) and since these are the last days we can expect ALL THINGS to now be restored (Acts 3:21).

 Bickle took his own conclusions from prayer movements of the past and added the “power” component that the NOLR SINisters taught him. Since the late 1940’s the vast majority of Pentecostal / charismatic books are focused on some facet of the power of God and how to obtain it and use it. Prayer ceased to be simple communion with our Lord, crying out our hearts to Him in both joy and sadness, in plenty and in want. No, for these members of Joel’s army, these proto-Manifest Sons of God (MSOG) prayer becomes a tool in the hands of the adept by which he or she decrees things into existence (Job 22:28), subdues the principalities and powers, releases weal or woe.

 With these two legs of his stool in place Bickle simply needed to add the Biblical “leg” of his work in progress, The IHOP. Charismatic extremists are highly gullible, but they still require some sort of Biblical text to at least cast the dimmest of Biblical light upon their beliefs. Extremists are quick to cite Acts 2:1-6 where the people were all gathered together in prayer and the Lord shook the place and three thousand souls were saved due to Peter’s prayer-fueled Spirit anointed preaching. First came prayer (directed by the Lord) THEN came the Holy Spirit with POWER — anointing the prayer warriors, chief of whom was the Apostle Peter whom preached under the anointing and thousands were saved. So in Bickle’s mind and now the minds of thousands of people the account means this today: a group of people in one accord (aka spiritual agreement) praying equals revival. Let everything be established by at least two witnesses (2 Cor. 13:1) so Bickle initially attempted to use Acts 15:16 as his key scriptural proof text.

 The context of Scripture means little to nothing to extremists. Read any recognized biblical commentary and they all uniformly agree that this passage has absolutely nothing to do with the re-establishment of Davidic worship as a pattern for the Church nor does it have anything to do with the return of Christ. When Bickle was confronted with the irrefutable context and thus true meaning of the text he backed off and now states on his web site:

 We affirm that the Holy Spirit is orchestrating a global worship and prayer movement that will operate in great authority. (Lk. 18:7-8; Mt. 21:13; Rev. 5:8, 8:3-5, 22:17; Isaiah 62:6-7; Joel 2:12-17, 32). This prayer movement will operate in the spirit of the tabernacle of David… In the days of King David, he established a tabernacle that had singers and musicians who ministered to the Lord night and day. Today, the prayer movement is in the spirit of David’s tabernacle. This means that the prayer movement will have some components of the tabernacle of David, specifically pertaining to singers and musicians. (23)

 Bickle had to back off from declaring what he has created is in fact the re-established Davidic tabernacle and must settle for being merely in the spirit of Davidic worship. By way of quick review the three legs of Bickle’s wobbly throne are his view of revival history combined with heretical and aberrant teachings of the NOLR buttressed by a few texts that were wrest from their contextual setting. This is how the rapidly growing phenomena of The IHOP got started.

 Next month we will consider the three key ingredients that comprise a “service” at IHOP and what these ingredients are supposed to facilitate in both heaven and on earth!

 Copyright © 2011 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. For more information go to http://www.examiner.com/political-buzz-in-national/uhj

2. Continue reading on Examiner.com Rick Perry bases call for national salvation on “Joel’s Army” cult movement – National Political Buzz | Examiner.com – http://www.examiner.com/political-buzz-in-national/uhj#ixzz1SgLaYnXs

 3. Charismatic extremists are besotted with their false concepts of the “anointing,” which they define as the tangible-power of God given by the Spirit to believers. This power can be increased or decreased by the believers’ actions. Like Baskin-Robbins there are many flavors of the anointing and these folks hope to tap into the three major levels of anointing in these IHOP meetings. They teach there is a priestly anointing, a prophetic anointing and a kingly anointing (the decreeing anointing Job 22:28). They base this on some Old Testament references and couple it with the fact that Jesus ministered as a prophet, priest and King. Thus as His disciples who are called to go and do greater works than Jesus Himself (John 14:12) {according to their beliefs} then it only stands to reason that we too must have access to these levels of mystical power. Fortunately through the restored ministries of the apostle (I call them opossums)and prophets (whom I denote as profits) the disciples again has access to these endowments of power.

 4. I believe that God does not answer the prayers of unbelievers. Why? Because all prayer is offered to God in the name of His Son our Lord Jesus (John 14:13) and how can one pray in His holy name if they do not even believe in Him?

5. I do agree with our sign-gift brethren that part of our role as priests before God is to offer prayers on the behalf of the citizens of the Kingdom and those outside its sphere.

 6. I am a member of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Detroit (LCMS). We are unique in virtually all of the LCMS denomination due to our emphasis on adhering to the best of the Church’s reformation liturgical history. We are unapologetically a “smells & bells” congregation, as ministers we wear vestments according to the historic Church Year, we follow the historic One Year lectionary and much of our time together is devoted to prayer.

 7. The Holy Bible: English standard version 2001 (Mt. 14:22-23). Wheaton Standard Bible Society.

8. Ibid.

9. If anything this is the only genuine “40 Day of Purpose” in the Bible.

 10. Please understand I am not confusing the things the Jesus only could do as our Savior and the God-man. What I am saying regarding His prayer life and His directive “When ye fast” to mean these practices are not optional in the life of the believer. I believe that the Word of God creates faith that brings about willing obedience to God’s Word via the work of the Holy Spirit. Ergo, what we hear the Bible teach on prayer and fasting correctly, it creates a desire to do that which is pleasing to our Lord and God. As I like to say, it is not a “have to” but a “get to” and even more, now with a new heart (Eze. 36:26) the inner man desires to please the Lord (Romans 7:22).

 11. I initially joined the Pentecostal Church of god one of the original Pentecostal denominations formed around 1914-1916. Later on I left that congregation and joined a Word of Faith congregation replete with a Rhema graduate “pastor/prophet” Joseph Frye. Traditional Pentecostals are doctrinally the same as fundamentalist Baptists just add tongues (admittedly a reductionist comment). Charismatics come from all denominations & have no real centralized headquarters an amorphous bunch to be sure.

 12. Article can be read at http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-20016654-504083.html

13. Article is available at http://www.freepublic.com/focus/f-religion/2521723/posts as of 08-11-11

14. Quote obtained from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/10/us/10prayer.html?_r=3 on 08-14-11. ‘

15. Obtained from http://www.ihop.org/Groups.aspx?ID=1000036203 on 08-14 Underlining added for emphasis

16. The first three major texts I have cited are available on our CD Rom research disk on the New Order of the Latter Rain. For a mere $25.00 one can have a huge collection of out-of-print materials, some video and audio clips, overheads, pictures, sermons, etc.

17. Hamon, Bill, The Eternal Church p. 385, Destiny Image publication. Underlining added for emphasis.

 18. I cannot stress this fact enough. Acts is seen as the model, the norm for our Christian life. They fail to take into account that the book itself was written as a historical account of what took place. Although there is doctrine contained in Acts, it is not a source of Church doctrine per se. They posit that when they see miracles stopping in the Church that must have been the point at which power was lost, as more obvious false doctrines began to be accepted they would say that is when revelation was lost.

 19. Obtained from http://mikebickle.org/resources/series/38 Underlining added for emphasis.

 20. He left the Toronto Airport church as pastor to shepherd the revival as he likes to call it. There is some mystery as to whether he left on his own or he was asked to heave. I believe the latter due to all the attending problems of trying to pastor a church with members while entertaining out of country guests 7 days a week for a few years. Burn out occurs especially among the members who get shunted aside. Also, Kilpatrick from the Pensacola Outpouring also lost his pulpit when the fires died down and the fraudulent financial practices and faked manifestations came to light. They both can be found at the Holy Spirit revival at “The Bay” in Texas.

 21. I do not mean the largest charismatic church. I mean the LARGEST CHURCH & CONGREGATION in the history of the world (what does that teach us about the “narrow way.”?)

Advertisements




Another View of Christmas

24 03 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – December 2009 – Vol. 14 Issue 12 – Another View of Christmas – By Rev. Robert Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Another View of Christmas

By Rev. Robert Liichow

The following comments are drawn from the following website: http://www.preces-latinae.org/thesaurus/InTemporibus/Adventus.html. The bold type and underlining were added for emphasis.

The word Advent comes from the Latin words, ad venire (to come to) & adventus (an arrival), and refers to Christ’s coming into this world. The Advent season is a time of joyful expectation and preparation for Christmas, the day upon hich Christ’s birth is celebrated and His first coming into this world. The focus of Advent is upon the centuries of waiting and preparation by God’s chosen people which preceded the coming of the Messiah. As such, it is a time marked by expectation, hope, preparedness and penance. The later being mindful of John the Baptist’s cry to prepare for the coming of the Lord with repentance. (see Matt. 3:3, 11:10, Mark 1:2-3; Luke 1:17, 1:76, 3:4).

Also, while Advent is the season before Christmas, the focus of Advent is by no means limited to just Christ’s first coming. An equal, if not more important, theme found in the Advent Liturgy is the Second Coming of Christ when He comes again to judge the world. The Advent Liturgy looks to both the past and future. In the past Christ came amongst us as one of our own. He was born of a woman into this world and of humble means. In the future He will come again, not as a defenseless infant, but as the Judge of all the living and the dead. Thus the Liturgy looks back over thousands of years to when the human race waited for its Redeemer and then to the future when this world will end and He will come then as our Judge. This dual theme, the first and second coming, is easily observed in the hymns for Advent given below. Also, while it is not part of the Advent Liturgy today, it is useful to note that Dies Irae was originally not a hymn associated with death and burial, but a hymn that was composed as a sequence for the first Sunday in Advent. Its sober tone was designed to remind us of both Christ’s first coming and His Second Coming at the end of the world.

It is difficult to pinpoint in time exactly when Advent was first celebrated by the Church. Advent itself is the season prior to Christmas and is thus intimately acquainted with the celebration of Christ’s birth. Since the celebration of Christ’s birth has evolved over time, so too has the season of Advent. The earliest documentation we have on the season comes to us from the fourth century and the earliest Advent hymns we have come from roughly that period as well (Prudentius.

By the late sixth century the season is well established at least in the Latin West. St. Caesarius, Bishop of Aries (502-542) mentions a time of preparation before the celebration of Christ’s birth in his homilies. A sermon given by Pope St. Gregory the Great on the Second Sunday of Advent has come down to us as well. Advent was evidentially a western tradition before it became an eastern tradition. It is not until the eighth century that we have the first record of the season being celebrated in the East.

In as much as Advent is the season of preparation it is very much a time of penance. It is regrettable today that the penitential dimension to Advent seems to have been largely forgotten by many Christians. Today, Christmas decorations go up after Thanksgiving (if not before) and Christmas parties begin shortly thereafter. Penance and the word Advent seem to have become an oxymoron in today’s holiday rush. It has not always been so and this is really a relatively recent development of the 20th century. As almost anyone born early in the 20th century will tell you, Christmas decoration and parties were generally limited to just that, the Christmas season. The decorations did not come up until Christmas Eve and then stayed up for the entire Christmas season which lasts for 12 days, from Christmas to Epiphany. Parties started after Christmas, not before. The popular song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, echoes some of this traditional mode of celebration. Today I is not uncommon to see Christmas trees readied for trash pickup the next day and the only Christmas season party is the one held on New Year’s Eve, which is hardly a Christ-centered celebration.

In as much as Advent is a penitential season and fasting is invariably a part of traditional penitential disciplines which date back to the Old Testament, fasting has been a part of Advent from very early times. It is regrettable that the point of fasting is often forgotten these days. Fasting has a twofold objective. By abstaining from a legitimate pleasure of some sort, one is strengthening on’s self control in preparation for the day in which serious temptation may have to be faced. Fasting is push-ups for the will, so to speak. Secondly, in choosing food as the item to abstain from money is saved that otherwise would have been spent on more expensive foods. Such savings were intended to go to the poor as alms. Thus the penitential fast of Advent was used as a method by the Christian community to save up resources that would be used for works of charity during Advent and especially during the Christmas season.

It is sort of funny when you hear the phrase “Keep Christ in Christmas” bandied about by evangelical believers decrying the current state of our holiday when you know the true history of Advent and Christmas as taught and practiced by the early Christians.

The vast majority of practices taking place in congregations all over America and much of the world have absolutely nothing to do with the original meaning of Christmas — a penitential season of increased prayer, church attendance and personal reflection with fasting. Try selling American Christians (especially our youth) on the concept of mourning our shortcomings while eagerly looking for the promised rescue from despair by the coming Messiah. Or how about fasting some of those gluttonous meals we engorge ourselves with. How about putting all the money for the decorations and special foods (much of which gets wasted) aside to give to the poor?

Bah-humbug brother Bob! God will not love me any more or any less if I celebrate Christmas all month long in true American Evangelical fashion! You are right! However, Advent is not about afflicting your soul so as to impress God with your piety (if it is, then all your efforts are in vain). It is not about trying to get God to love you more. It is about making room in your heart to love Him more by confessing and forsaking things that have been weighing us down (see Heb. 12:1).

I am all for “keeping Christ in Christmas” and maybe if we, the Church, had not joined the maddening herd in their rush to spend money they do not have to buy things that are often unwanted or unneeded by the recipient — our testimony before the world as followers of Jesus might be more powerful. So do not be offended when the clerk is forced to say “happy holidays” vs. “Merry Christmas” because that store and any other shop have nothing to do with the true meaning of Advent of Jesus Christ. I do not expect the world to know how to behave in the light of such a glorious truth —holy God coming as a sinless man to save ungrateful sinners from a well deserved eternity in hell. The world does not acknowledge Christ so why should it acknowledge His birthday? What is sad is that the Church too often acts just like the world and if we are not careful we too can be guilty of thinking of Jesus as an afterthought as opposed to the main event of the season!

Copyright 2009 Robert S. Liichow





The Discipline of Fasting

29 10 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters – June 2007 – Vol. 12 Issue 6 – The Discipline of Fasting – by Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

The Discipline of Fasting

By Robert S. Liichow

A few months ago I began a short series concerning the spiritual disciplines of the Christian life and I take up that “baton” again this month and most likely next month as well. By way of a reminder it is important to keep in mind that all of the spiritual disciplines are meant to be tools for transformation in our fellowship with our Lord. These disciplines have been used by God’s people in both the Old and the New Testament and they are all plainly seen in the Scriptures. It is very important for me to stress that these disciplines are not “laws” or “promises” or a means to make God do something for us. Biblical mediation, daily prayer, service to others, Bible study and fasting are simply ways in which we can draw closer to the One who loves us the most and through our communion with the Lord, hopefully we will reflect His light back to those around us.

In the past, as a charismatic extremist we were taught a great deal about fasting and we used to fast for considerable periods of time. Sadly most of our efforts were unrewarded. Even though we were involved in an activity which is deeply rooted in the Scripture, our motives for fasting were incorrect and the goals we were seeking were not those that our Lord would have had us seek after. Most books on the subject of fasting deal with fasting as a means to gain spiritual power (aka an increased anointing) or as a means to seek the other 8 sign-gifts the Apostle Paul mentioned in First Corinthians 12. (1) Let me cite a few book title on the topic of fasting from the charismatic camp:

Atomic Power With God Through Prayer and Fasting; Franklin Hall (2)

Shaping History Through Prayer and Fasting by Derek Prince

Commonsense Guide to Fasting by Kenneth E. Hagin

Destroying the Works of Witchcraft Through Fasting; Ruth Brown

The Miracle Results of Fasting  Dave Williams

The Power of Prayer and Fasting (10 Secrets of Spiritual Strength). Ronnie Floyd

Keys to God’s Grace: The Hidden Joy of Prayer, Fasting, and Almgiving (Practical Christian Living), Word Among Us Press

God’s Chosen Fast, Authur Wallis

Prayer and Fasting: The Master Key to the Impossible. Gordon Lindsey

Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough, Elmer L. Towns

The charismatic movement has long attached claims of everything from divine revelations, supernatural powers, strategic level spiritual warfare to every changing the course of history through the discipline of fasting and yet none of these claims can be supported biblically.

Since fasting concerns food, it behooves us to begin our consideration of this often neglected spiritual discipline by looking at how God considers food itself. Let me share four aspects of food that we usually don’t consciously think about when we sit down to “nosh.”

Enjoyment — The variety of tastes found in creation is not an accident. God gave us such a wide variety of food and a highly developed taste system, so that man would find pleasure in eating. Sometimes Christians, especially when we have been raised in more legalistic churches, have a hard time believing that we are allowed to enjoy anything! Food is meant to be a source of joy (Ecclesiastes 2:24-25; 5:18). And so are a lot of other things in God’s creation. We are allowed to enjoy our food.

Sustenance— Even in the garden of Eden, Adam needed food to sustain his life and give him energy to do the tasks God had assigned him (sorry Word of Faith supporters, Adam was not a “god”). Plants were given to Adam and Eve for this purpose; Genesis 1:30. Later on (after the flood) man was allowed to eat the flesh of animals for the same purpose: Genesis 9:3. Both plants and animals are God’s provision for our nourishment. I might add, that there is nothing spiritual in the Christian sense about being a vegetarian.

Fellowship –Genesis 18:1-8 gives us one of the first examples of fellowship and food. All through the Old Testament the people of God came together for fellowship over food. God made food for fellowship. He even commanded that some of the sacrifices offered to Him at the temple were to be shared with others. These were communal meals –meals in which the whole community sat down and ate together (see Deuteronomy 12:6,7,18) Families still find a resource of love, fellowship, discussion, and understanding when they come together to eat.

Worship– Food also is a source of worship. We should be very conscious of the fact that food is a gift from God (Matthew 6:11 & 1 Timothy 4:3b-4). In fact, Paul says that every bit of food “should be received with thanksgiving” (1 Timothy 4:3). Hence, every meal becomes an occasion for thanksgiving. When we put food to our mouths at the beginning of the meal (Acts 27:35) and when we sit back in our chair with satisfaction (Deuteronomy 8:10), our natural reaction should be a God-ward gratitude. According to the Bible one of the aspects of food was that it was created to be a reason for thanksgiving and worship.

As you can see, food has a central place in our daily existence. The fourth petition in the Lord’s Prayer is “give us this day our daily bread,” and we are told of an upcoming wedding feast that all believers will participate in according to Rev. 19:9. Today cook books abound in every bookstore. There are not just cooking programs but now entire channels devoted to cooking. I remember one Pentecostal pastor preaching about how growing up due to all the legalism folks could not do anything…but eat, which probably explains why many of us (myself included) are overweight today. Hold this thought as we look at what fasting is not!

What Fasting Is Not!

First, Biblical fasting is not mere abstinence from eating. Certainly one forgoes eating food during a fast, but if that is all one does then one has not truly fasted.

Secondly, fasting is not a physical or psychological discipline; it is a spiritual discipline that does engage both mind and body.

Thirdly, fasting is not dieting. I am not denying that Fasting can have a physical and possibly some psychological benefits, but that is not the purpose behind why believers fast.

Fourth, God never encouraged fasting for solely discipline or self-denial reasons. Some of the monks and spiritual hermits used fasting in this manner, some people within the church still misuse fasting this way. However, that is not a Biblical reason for fasting. God has a higher purpose in mind for fasting.

Fifth, fasting is not a manipulative tool –Sometimes fasting is viewed as an attempt to twist God’s arm or to win His approval. But God doesn’t respond to pressure. An example: “In the morning some of the Jews made a plan to kill Paul, and they took an oath to not eat or drink anything until they had killed him. They went to the leading priests and the older-Jewish leaders and said, ”We have taken an oath not to eat or drink until we have killed Paul” (Acts 23:12,14). Using fasting in a manipulative way was done by the people in Jeremiah’s day too. God said, “Although they fast, I will not listen to their cry; through they offer burn offerings and grain offering I will not accept them. I will destroy them with the sword, famine, and plague” (Jeremiah 14:12). Fasting didn’t move God one iota. A.A. Allen is an example of someone who claimed to have told God that he would fast until God came and personally spoke to him. (3)

Lastly, fasting is not meant to be a hypocritical religious exercise. By Jesus’ time fasting had become a very important part of the Jewish life. Perhaps overly important would be a better way of saying it. According to the account in Luke 18:12a we know that the Pharisees fasted twice a week. Historically the Jewish market day in Jerusalem was on the 2nd and 5th day. Everyone from the countryside came to town on those days to buy and sell their produce and animals. Naturally, it was on these two days that the Pharisees chose to hold their fasts.

The Pharisees would walk through the streets with their hair disheveled; wearing old clothes and at times they would cover themselves with dirt. They’d also cover their faces with white chalk in order to look pale; and they would dump ashes over their head as a sign of their humility! For the Pharisees fasting had become a “look-at-how-spiritual-I-am” exercise. It was hypocrisy. Remember, there was and is nothing wrong with fasting, but the attitude of the heart of those engaged in this (or any spiritual practice) is of supreme importance.

What Fasting Is

We looked at what fasting is not, lets focus on what is actually is according to the Scriptures. The Greek word for fasting is isnesteia — a compound of ne (a negative prefix) and esthio which means “to eat,” ergo in its widest sense fasting means to not eat.

Why did people in the bible, “not eat?” Leviticus 16:29 says that fasting is synonymous with “afflicting one’s soul.” We gain some insight here about how the Hebrews viewed fasting. Fasting is more than just “afflicting one’s body”, It is “afflicting one’s soul.” In other words, fasting to the Hebraic mind fasting is something that our soul participates in Fasting is denying my “self” with the fullest concept of self being considered. It is denying not only my own body, but also my own wants. It is a way of saying that Food and my desires are secondary to something else. Fasting is “afflicting one’s soul” —a willful act of self-denial. But it is not only an act of self-denial and here is where the monks and hermits were wrong.

Biblical fasting is “not eating” with spiritual communication in mind. We know this because fasting is always connected with prayer in the Bible. You can pray without fasting, but you cannot fast (biblically speaking) without praying. A good working definition for fasting would be the following. Biblical fasting is the deliberate abstinence form food for a spiritual reason. The biblical reason for fasting is communication and fellowship with the Father through prayer. (4)

Why Fast?

To begin with Jesus expects His disciples to fast, and when we do so we are to be sure our motives are correct.

When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen, and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:16-18

Jesus says “when” and not “if” you fast, He assumes His followers will fast from time to time in their spiritual lives. The fasting that is approved to God is that which is done in secret and without any outward display of piety. When we fast in accordance with God’s will we are also given a promise by our Lord “your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” What type of reward? Considering the context of what our Master is saying the reward will be regarding the matter you are seeking God about during your fast.

God said, “When you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you” (Jer. 29:13-14) When a man or woman is willing to set aside the legitimate appetites of the body to concentrate on the work of praying, they are demonstrating that they mean business, that they are seeking God with all their heart. It is all too easy to get caught up in the affairs of this life and become sidetracked from seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). We are reminded in Hebrews 12:1 “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” Fasting is one of the tools in our spiritual toolbox to help us refocus on what matters most, our walk with Christ.

When we deny ourselves food to focus on God and His will for our lives demonstrates humility on our part. Fasting graphically reminds us of how dependent we are upon our Lord for not only daily “bread” but spiritual manna too. This is why fasting is equivalent to the phrase “to humble oneself before the Lord” (Psalm 35:13; 1 Kings 21:29; Ezra 8:21). When a person is really concerned about the things of God, he will humble himself before the Lord.

Sometimes people will ask “how do I know when to pray and fast versus when to just pray”? That is not a question that someone else can always answer for you. In God’s word we find fasting connected with a very troubled spirit or an anxious heart before the Lord. In the Old Testament fasting was also a form of grieving over the death of someone. Here are a few biblical examples of when and why people fasted in the Bible:

1). The Israelites fasted, in the conflict between the other tribes with the tribe of Benjamin, on account of the wrong suffered by a Levite’s concubine. (Jug. 20:26).

2). Ahab fasted when Elijah prophesied the destruction of himself and his house. (1 Kings 21:27).

3). Jehoshaphat fasted at the time of the invasion of the confederated armies of the Canaanites and Syrians (2Ch. 20:3).

4). People fasted in times of bereavement, the people of Jabesh Gilead, for Saul and his sons (1 Sa 31:13; 1Ch. 10:12).

5). At times all the nation would fast on occasions of public calamities (2Sa 1:12, Ac 27:33).

6). The believing Jews fasted in Babylon, with prayer for divine deliverance and guidance. (Ezr 8:21,23).

7). Daniel fasted on several occasions; one example is the account of the captivity of the people, with prayer for their deliverance (Da 9:3).

8). The Apostle Paul fasted, at the time of his conversion (Ac 9:9).

9). The disciples fasted at the time of the consecration of Barnabas and Saul (Ac 13:2-3).

10). Fasting occurred with the consecration of the elders (Ac 14:23).

As you can see there are biblically many reasons why people fasted. The Occasion for a Fast is Voluntary: Surprisingly, a particular day for fasting was commanded in Scripture only once– on a Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16). The fast on the Day of Atonement was connected with a deep mournful spirit in confessing sin. Now in the New Covenant, Jesus Christ has become our atonement offering, so we no longer even need to observe the Leviticus 16 Day of Atonement! In all the rest of the bible there are no other Scriptures which command fasting at a specific time or on a specific occasion. There is no hard and fast “rule” to when it does seem that whatever the reason it is generally a serious matter that requires your focus on prayer and Bible study.

Naturally when the topic of fasting is brought up people often ask how long they should fast. I have met some individuals who’ve claimed to have fasted for forty days but I sincerely doubt their truthfulness, There are only three people in the entire history of God’s dealing with mankind who went on a forty day fast; there was Moses (Ex.24:18; 34:28; Dt 9:9, 18) Elijah (1 Kings 19:8) and our Lord Jesus (Mt. 4:2; Mk 1:12,13; Lk. 4:1-2). These were supernatural fasts, miraculous events in and of themselves. Interestingly it was Moses and Elijah who appeared to Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. The prophet Daniel fasted and prayed for three weeks (Dan. 10:2-3) and the end results of his fasting and praying was a panoramic vision of history. These are all well known examples of extraordinary fasting and not the common experience of God’s people.

As a general principle Christian should fast when he or she feels the Spirit of God leading them to fast. The Length of a Fast is Voluntary: In addition to the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 23:32) you can see examples of one day fasts in Judges 20:26; 1 Samuel 14:24; 2 Samuel 1:12; and 2 Samuel 3:35. The Jewish day was counted from sunset to sunset, so this meant that the fast would be broken that is, food could be eaten) after sundown.

The Biblical principle here is that the length of time you fast is determined by your own desires and the occasion or purpose of the fast. The duration can be that which the individual or group feels led to set. There is a great deal of freedom in the Lord here. However, the more common practice of a “normal fast” appears to be one-day.

How You Spend Your Time While Fasting is a Personal Decision Too: In the bible, fasting often occurs as something you do while carrying on your everyday activities! We have an example of soldiers involved in the activity of warfare sometimes fasting (1 Samuel 14:24). Also we read about the sailors on the ship with Paul fasting (Acts 27:33).

Lastly, fasting does not negate our responsibility to be obedient to God. We cannot fast and pray expecting God to bless when there is known sin in our lives. Genuine fasting will always cause us to examine our hearts. Fasting will never cause God to love you one bit more, however it is a tool that can be used to help us love Him more!

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Looking back on past experiences it is interesting when I consider that I never met anyone who desperately sought the gifts of hospitality (Romans 12:13), or of governments (1 Cor. 12:28) or helps in the same texts. No people always sought POWER, either the working of miracles, a specific gift of healing, the gift of supernatural faith, the word of knowledge or word of wisdom or of prophecy

2. Hall’s book on prayer and fasting was greatly responsible for what was originally know as the New Order of the Latter Rain movement of post World War II. Every major charismatic leader of the late 1940’s and 1950’s was influenced by Hall’s unbiblical teaching regarding fasting and prayer. Most of today’s charismatic extremist practices can be traced back to many of Franklin Hall’s teachings. Although his book have long been out-of-print DMI does offer the in PDF format or on a CD.

3. A.A. Allen, as well as Oral Roberts, Gordon Lindsey, T.L. Osborn all claimed that their long fasts resulted in God granting them what they wanted which in their cases was ‘miracle working power,” yet history has proved all of these en to be liars regarding having any supernatural miracle working power.

4. When I say “communication” with the Father I am not implying the Almighty God will directly speak to you. God communicated His will to us through His Word and sacraments period. It is right to expect God to speak to us through His Word which His Spirit will illuminate to us while we pray and fast.

scanHandCD0001