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40-day fasts unite, renew A/G churches

Christians across the country continue to regularly fast and pray both individually and corporately, marking a trend that has picked up pace in the last decade. In Assemblies of God churches, laypeople and pastors say fasting brings spiritual breakthroughs, answers to prayers, the spread of revival and a closer walk with God.

"[Fasting] is an experience like nothing I have ever known," says Ralph Sudfeld, pastor of Neighborhood Church (Assemblies of God) in Modesto, Calif. "I am amazed at how alert and sharp my mind and soul become and how the Word of God comes alive when I fast."

Pastor Ralph Sudfeld challenged his church to ask God what He desired of them during a 40-day period prior to Easter. Some felt compelled to abstain from food for 40 days.

To help his staff and congregation experience the same, Sudfeld challenged them to ask God what He desired of them during a 40-day period prior to Easter. Some felt compelled to abstain from food for 40 days while others decided to skip a meal once a week.

"The big issue was unity," says Sudfeld. "It is really important to fast and pray as a body of believers."

Kevin Wehrli, pastor of Prague First A/G in Oklahoma, agrees. For three years, he and his church have fasted corporately for 40 days, with people volunteering to fast for a meal or the entire day so every day was accounted for. Wehrli says the fasts have transformed lives and the church.

"When we are fasting and praying, we are praying for spiritual depth," says Wehrli. "It has really made a difference in the spiritual atmosphere of the church."

Wehrli says in the midst of this year’s fast several people accepted Christ as Savior. Of the 130 people who attend the church at least a third of them, including many youth, have fasted.

"At first I didn’t feel strong enough to fast," says Donna Jordan, who came to the church last year. "But, over the course of a year I’ve fasted several times; and when I do, it automatically centers me into prayer and brings me to a closer walk with God."

Though Mart Green, a member at Lakeside A/G in Oklahoma City, has been a Christian most of his life, fasting had not been a priority until he participated in two 40-day fasts.

"When I fast there is less of me and more of God," he says. "I’ve also discovered that reading God’s Word is a way of listening to Him. Now is a great time to be listening for what God has to say and fasting is the best way to do that."

–Kirk Noonan


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