Three Biblical Reasons to Fast

  • 21 February 2015
  • Randy Wollf

Man looking at hamburger - fastingThroughout Scripture, we see examples of individuals and groups who engaged in fasting. Even though fasting today often includes refraining from activities besides eating (e.g. fasting from technology), the main type of fasting describing in the Bible involved abstaining from food. This does not diminish the importance of other types of fasting, but simply puts the following three biblical reasons to fast in their proper context.

Fasting Sometimes Accompanies Repentance

Because fasting is a time of denying ourselves and focusing more on God, we are often more open to the work of the Holy Spirit during times of fasting. This is one reason why people fast from something during the Lent season.

In Scripture, we see that the Israelites confessed their sins at Mizpah as they fasted (1 Sam. 7:6). Later on in their history, the Israelites fasted as they confessed their sin of marrying foreigners (Neh. 9:1-2). Daniel fasted as he confessed the sins of his people (Dan. 9:1-6).

Fasting sometimes precedes repentance, which opens us up to the Spirit’s work. However, fasting may also come after repentance, as we see in King Ahab’s life when he fasted after becoming aware of his sin (1 Kings 21:27). In this case, fasting is a response to the Spirit’s convicting work.

Fasting Sometimes Accompanies Urgent Prayer

Four Strategies for Growing Your Small Group

  • 9 January 2015
  • Randy Wollf

Small group Bible study
A study on small groups entitled, Small Groups - Big Impact: Connecting People to God and One Another in Thriving Groups (2011) by Jim Egli and Dwight Marable, discovered that groups that see people accept Christ, increase in size, and multiply into additional groups have four things in common. These groups have small group leaders who model and facilitate prayer, outreach, care and the empowerment of group members.


The study found that 83% of groups that had a leader who modelled and facilitated prayer saw someone come to Christ in the past nine months (versus 19% of groups that did not have a praying leader). Praying leaders spend time with God. They actively pray for group members and group meetings. They pray for unsaved people in their lives and in the lives of others within the group. As the leader and others in the group engage in a lifestyle of prayer, people sense God’s presence in the group. Life change happens. People get saved. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that kind of group?


When group leaders and their groups have an outreach focus, they are much more likely to see people come to Christ. The study found that 90% of groups with this kind of focus saw someone come to Christ in the last six months (versus 11% of groups without this outreach emphasis). In the book, Egli and Marable talk about the five I’s of reaching out: 

    • Investment - Members spend time with friends in order to share Christ
    • Invitation – Leaders encourage members to invite others
    • Intention - Outreach is a stated purpose of the group
    • Intercession – Group members pray during their meetings for unsaved friend 
    • Imitation - Leaders model relational outreach

If we want to grow our small groups, outreach needs to be an important part of group life.


A strong caring orientation is another key strategy for growing our small groups. The study showed that 44% of caring groups added at least four new members since starting (versus 18% without this emphasis). Caring groups spend time with one another outside of group meetings. They pray for each other, support each other and have fun together. Group members function like a family.

God Answers Prayer

  • 16 November 2013
  • Randy Wollf

Man holding stomach with quote, "It felt like someone was twisting a knife in my stomach."I was lying in a Filipino hospital with excruciating pain. It felt like someone was twisting a knife in my stomach. The doctor’s first priority was to rehydrate me, as I had gone through a serious bout of dysentery. They did a series of tests, but could not determine the cause of my pain. After a day, the pain went away. Not knowing what else to do, the doctors released me from the hospital. As I l walked out the hospital exit, the pain came back.

I decided to go back to the missions guesthouse where we as a short-term missions team had been staying. As the “knife” work continued, I asked my teammates to pray for me. They prayed for God’s healing. The pain gradually subsided and by the next morning, it was gone for good. I have no doubt that God answered prayer by healing me.

The early Christians certainly knew about the power of prayer. After the Jewish leaders had commanded Peter and John to stop speaking about Jesus  (Acts 4:18-31), they went to their own people and together, they prayed. How did God respond to their prayers? “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly” (v. 31).

God’s power not only shook the building , but also moved the people to speak the Word of God boldly. All of this came after the people prayed together.

I am convinced that prayer is our primary way of moving the hand of God. He doesn’t always say yes to our prayers, but how will He answer at all, unless we ask.