Do You Have a Fast Friend?

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(Photo: jamesclk/SXC.hu)

What if one simple act, one singular dedicated effort or sacrifice could better your life, your soul forever? What if that sacrifice took just an hour or two or even an entire day? Would you do it? Consider it worth it? What if that very sacrifice could sharpen your focus, open your heart and move the hand of God in others and your own life?

If what I ask has peaked your interest, know that I inquire because I have the answers to these questions based on personal experience. What I have to share has the ability to better your life forever once you make the choice to take the adventure.

Twelve years ago, my friend Wendy and I felt prompted to journey down the road of fasting and prayer together. Now, why, would two average women who love to talk and do typical "girl" stuff and who also really love food want to give it up for any period of time?

God whispered in the inner places of our being to draw closer to Him in a new way. Suddenly, we didn't want the status quo anymore. We believed, we studied, but in the hidden parts of our heart we knew there was more. We wanted to engage in the spiritual realm on a deeper level, one we had not yet experienced.

We wanted more … so much more.

So, one day a week, from Monday night after our family dinners, to Tuesday night before family dinner we would fast and pray.

We were ready. Ready for powerful changes, amazing answers to our requests and nothing short of miracles. What we got was instruction and a thorough look into the condition of our soul.

It was hard, to see what still existed in the corners of our minds and the recesses of our hearts. We found the thoughts, the unforgiveness, and the resistance to righteousness still alive and well. Big and little wrongs, judgments and critical spirits. Excessive self-awareness in danger of becoming narcissistic, fear, striving … almost too much to bear. However, we were not bombarded with this all at once.

Our God is very gentle, very kind; yet He is truth and truth was what He intended to show us. To condemn us? Never! To better us, to mature us, and prepare us to come before Him with those sincere, heartfelt requests we desired to have answers to? Yes, and He was, as scripture puts it, "doing a good work in us."

When we fasted and prayed, our senses were heightened. We focused on getting alone, in our own special designated locations to get quiet, to listen and speak once we had been spoken to.

On occasion we would speak first, but that was usually to worship and confess anything that had been revealed by our loving Lord. This spiritual discipline tuned our ears to hear the voice of God so that He could meticulously take the sin, the baggage, the past hurts and present trepidations and give us peace that He was there. He was in control and as we relinquished our very lives to Him, He would work his good and perfect will in us to much greater and richer places only found through Him.

As time went on, we had a growth spurt.

No longer did we dread the hours we couldn't eat, or binge the night before just so we were sure we had a reserve to live off of.

Crazy, but we actually thought and did that … remember, we have matured since then, so be kind!

Instead of hungering for food, we hungered for time alone with God, looking forward to his gentle correction and absolute drawing near to us in a way that filled us with peace, joy, hope and purpose. We were energized and eager to know more about Him, more about us and use what we learned to help encourage others to do the same.

One of the areas that God fine-tuned in our lives dealt with strengthening our faith for the tough times. This was valuable during times of job loss, illness, or relationship issues. Sometimes life's pain cuts so sharp that you can't even find the words to pray. That's when your fast friend can intercede for you, giving you peace that your concerns, if not from your own mouth, are still reaching God's throne with the same intensity that you would utter. The weight of value this carries for a hurting heart provides hope; the hope that eliminates stress that could lead to irreparable health damage.

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Cover art for "Fast Friends: The Amazing Power of Friendship, Fasting and Prayer," by Suzanne Niles and Wendy Simpson Little, Oct. 1, 2015.

Fasting is our chosen path, ordained by God and it has forever altered our very existence. How you ask? Our lives don't look the same, at all. We are different. We see people different, we see life different. We have new aspirations, new leading and guidance, new eyes to see ourselves and the future with. All because a God who loves us more than we could ever comprehend planted a seed in our heart of desire to draw closer to Him. Fasting and prayer were the tool, finely fashioned by the hand of God and lived out in the Bible by so very many of the faithful so that we could follow in their steps.

What about answers? Oh, yes, we got them.

Some were yes, some were no and some were hold on, I'm working. Some we are certain spared us and our loved ones from pain and sorrow we don't even know about, some answers are yet to come because God's timing is not ours.

One of the most memorable was in regards to Wendy's daughter, Sydney, who was born with Cerebral Palsy. When Sydney was four, the doctors estimated that she would need multiple surgeries until her growing ceased. As we fasted and prayed that God would overrule with no surgery needed, Sydney continued to grow and today is fourteen and has not needed a single one of those surgeries!

Fasting and prayer for us is lifestyle. We will fast and pray together, God willing, until our time in this world is done. And that "so much more" we were seeking? Well, it has exceeded our hopes and dreams and manifested in ways we would never have even conceived of.

If God could empower Wendy and me to live this way, He can most certainly do the same for you. Will you join us and dare to live life in the spiritual realm where you will meet with and know God in ways that you never thought possible?

If we could make the decision for you we would shout a sheer, unqualified yes! Will you dare to become everything God wants you to be and know Him, truly know Him? We hope so, because we can promise you will never ever regret it. We were made in God's image and created for more than what this world has to offer; so were you.

Fast Friends: The Amazing Power of Friendship, Fasting and Prayer was released October 1, 2015.

Suzanne Niles is the co-author of the new book "Fast Friends, The Amazing Power of Friendship, Fasting and Prayer." Find out more at www.fastfriendsbook.com.