“The most incredible thing about miracles is that they happen.” G. K. Chesterton
The power of prayer and fasting has a rich history. These are a sample of miracles attributed to intervention of prayer and fasting.
Jews had a difficult time when King Nebuchadnezzar first came to Babylon Daniel prayed and fasted.
Result: The heart of King Nebuchadnezzar was changed positively procuring favor and promotion for the Jews. (Note: this is a simplified version of how the king’s attitude changed.)
Jehoshaphat received word that there would be an invasion from the East. (2 Chron 20) Jehoshaphat called for everyone to pray and fast for divine intervention.
Result: There was no need for Jehoshaphat and his people to use any military force as the enemies destroyed themselves.
Ezra was leading a company of returning exiles back to Jerusalem through hostile territory filled with savage tribes and bandits. There were sacred vessels that needed to be protected along with many women and children. (Ezra 8) Ezra called on the entire group to fast and pray, depending only on divine intervention.
Result: The returning band of exiles completed their long and dangerous journey in perfect peace and safety.
Esther and her maidens gathered in the city of Shushen and together with the citizens, fasted and prayed for three days and three nights.
Result: The Persian empire completed changed in favor of the Jews. The enemies of the Jews suffered defeat. Instead of destruction, the Jews experienced favor, peace and prosperity.
God sent Jonah to the city of Nineveh to warn them to change their evil ways or God would destroy them. (Jonah 3) The entire city of people repented, prayed and fasted.
Result: God did not destroy Nineveh
Joachim and Anne prayed and fasted for 40 days.
Result: Joachim and Anne conceived a child (The Virgin Mary)
Pastor John Robinson called for a day of prayer, fasting and humiliation using the text from Ezra 8:21
Result: Sea travel in those days was very dangerous. The pilgrims, however, had a safe journey.
After planting corn crop William Bradford, governor, asked the pilgrims to set aside a day of prayer, fasting and humiliation for rain.
Result: A gentle rain shower saved the corn crop.
King Charles threatened to take away the Massachusetts Charter if the colony refused to regulate or replace their ministers with Episcopal clergy. When the colony voted unanimously not to comply, the king flew into a rage and vowed to send Colonel “Bloody” Kirk and 5000 troops to crush the opposition. A leading minister by the name of Increase Mather heard the news, so he thrust himself up in his study and spent the day on his knees fasting and praying about the colony’s plight.
Result: Charles died of apoplexy. His brother became king and the bloody colonel would not be coming. Charles’ death was traced back to the day Mather spent in fasting and prayer.
King George II of England called for a day of solemn prayer and fasting because of a threatened invasion by the French
Result: Invasion didn’t happen.
President John Adams, proclaimed a day of fast and abstinence on May 9, 1798, Washington, DC
Result: War was averted.
President James Madison proclaimed that a day of fast and abstinence be held on January 12, 1815 for an end to the War of 1812.
Result: On January 8th, the last battle was fought in New Orleans and victory came for the USA, then peace followed. Congress suggested January 12th be a day of prayer and fasting in thanksgiving for an end to the war.
President Abraham Lincoln, August, 1864, Washington proclaimed a national day of prayer and fasting for the end of the war.
Result: Tide turned for the North and the end of the Civil War. (Note: Abraham Lincoln proclaimed numerous days of prayer and fasting)
Germany overran Holland and attacked Belgium, driving the opposing French, English and Belgian forces to the sea. The Germans pursued the French and English across the French frontier with an air, tank and infantry “blitzkrieg,” trapping nearly 400,000 Allied forces at Dunkirk.
King George called for a national day of prayer and fasting in Britain and France for the hopelessly stranded British and French troops. Archbishop of Canterbury led prayers from Westminster Abbey. Shocked at the plight of their soldiers, the British people stopped everything to pray and fast.
Result: Hitler (for an unexplained reason) halted the advance of his dreaded panzer division for three days. The normally blustery English Channel remained calm while England evacuated the troops. 340,000 Allied troops were rescued in nine days.
In response to Our Lady of Fatima’s message to pray and fast, eight Jesuit German priests fasted and prayed the rosary daily before Atomic bomb hit.
Result: Their parish house was only eight houses away from the center of an atomic bomb blast. Although everyone within a one mile radius of the blast was either killed instantly or died soon after from radiation poisoning, not one of the priests suffered more than a scratch, and none of them experienced any after-effects of radiation. Their house was the only building left standing. Doctors kept track of them for years and none of the priests ever suffered any ill effects.
When he heard that Stalin planned a systematic purge of Russian Jews, Protestant Minister and Missionary Derek Prince and his group in London, England fasted and prayed for one day on behalf of Russian Jews.
Result: Within two weeks, Stalin died. Russia’s new leader, Khrushchev, denounced Stalin and the purge never happened.
Chief Rabbi of Israel proclaimed a day of prayer and fasting in 1967 for an end of the war.
Result: Israel won the war and regained control over Jerusalem.
South Korean Bishops hold day of prayer and fasting to prevent war with North, June 22nd.
Result: War was averted.
(Image by Ksiom, Wikimedia Commons)
Pope Francis called for day of prayer and fasting for Syria and called for reconciliation and dialogue in Syria
Result: Syria’s Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, leader of the country’s Sunni Muslims, approached the papal nuncio in Damascus, Syria, with a request to attend the Rome vigil. The mufti has called on his followers to pray for peace, “in communion and simultaneously with the Pope.”