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Prayer Articles

The Mystique of Fasting

by Hylda M. Pike

(Hylda M. Pike, conservative activist and intercessor, is the mother of Rev. Ted Pike)

Puritan England in the 1660's reeled as the pendulum of their national morality swung toward demonic vices with the return of Charles II from France. Oliver Cromwell had died, and the open Bible of the Puritans was being mocked by the house of Stuart after its exile in wicked France.

Frivolity and drunkenness took over the kingly palaces, where so short a time before daily Bible reading and prayers had permeated government proceedings. Prostitutes bounced on the kingly knee. The freedom of religious faith our forefathers dearly bought was fast eroding away.

No one suffered more keenly than the Quakers. Twelve thousand of them lay in foul dungeons, wasting in want and privation, dying from typhus.

God's answer to this Satanic crisis in England was the "mystique of fasting." He laid upon the shoulders of a national prophet, George Fox, a burden so heavy that Fox could not remain upon his horse. That spring day in 1670 Fox was riding from London where he had visited Quakers in prison. Approaching Rochester, a "great weight and oppression" fell upon his spirit, he later related. He could not bear to ride, and got to a Friend's house only with great difficulty.

Taking to his bed, hardly able to eat or sleep, George Fox was so burdened with the evil spirits that his strength ebbed away. Finally he became both deaf and blind.

In that condition of total travail, without any of the distractions that come with sound and sight, George Fox, spiritual giant, wrestled the principalities and powers that held England in their diabolical grip. Although he could not see or hear the people who came into his bed-chamber, he could "discern the spirits" and he forbade entrance to anyone of a light or frivolous spirit.

Several of the Quaker doctors came to see Fox as the alarming news spread throughout the Friends meetings that their beloved leader was close to death. These physicians tried to force strengthening medicine upon him, but he would have none of it. Moved to the widow Fry's house, he lay all that winter "warring with the evil spirits of the world and could not endure the smell of any flesh meat."

"It was a cruel, bloody, persecuting time...wicked Informers set to work so that a Friend could hardly speak a few words in a private family," he wrote later.

But in the highest councils of English government, George Fox's mighty fast, which had been laid upon him by the Holy Spirit and kept there, was moving political events in an amazing manner.

None other than King Charles himself was plotting a startling turn of official attitude toward religious toleration. His secret goal was to force Protestant England to go to war against the Dutch who were fighting his Catholic friends, the French. To secure funds for fighting that war he must at least go through the motions of currying favor with his Protestant cabinet and Parliament by granting their deepest desire...religious toleration for his subjects.

With one stroke of his pen in 1672, by virtue of his ecclesiastical authority, King Charles ended the prison nightmare for many thousands of suffering Christians. He drew up a far-reaching Declaration of Indulgence, to the astonishment of all, and signed it.

George Fox's life-and-death fast during those two crucial years of 1670-1671 forced the King's hand to turn rusty prison keys in jails all over England. Ministers of the Gospel climbed out of cells where they had been banished for years. Chapels were reopened. Jails were emptied.

A certain Baptist minister, John Bunyan, stepped out of his cell clutching prison writings which would rank next to the Bible in the centuries to come.

Now we, also, in 2002, live in a "cruel, bloody, persecuting time," when demonic powers promoting brazen evils threaten to take over our land. George Fox's victory in the political arena graphically illustrates for us the Divine Imperative: "This kind goeth not out but by fasting and prayer."

Such prayer and service coming from a position of sacrifice is costly but powerful. It is demanding, too, for we must come to God with clean hands and a pure heart. "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me," the Psalmist wrote.

Perhaps familiarity has dimmed our eyes to what demon possession really is in modern times. The rule of thumb might be: is this political movement devilishly cruel, delighting in inflicting pain and terror on the human race? Is it weirdly unnatural, violating all normal human instincts? Is it, like liberalism, totally blind and deaf to logic and reason, stubbornly suicidal? Then it is plain to see that in resisting Secular Humanism, sexual perversion, or anti-family forces today, we are fighting in Satan's arena.

There is a Power coming against us which flesh and blood cannot overwhelm by itself. We are helpless in this hour without divine intervention.

How many times have I returned from a tense homosexual-packed legislative hearing room or TV studio to collapse in exhaustion and weakness, ill from the radioactive presence of evil I felt there. Because we work with children, I have always gone to testify in grief and anger and prayer, asking God to help me expose to our leaders a most dangerous Big Lie: that homosexuals do not "molest" children. The grim truth, according to police authorities, is that across America today the homosexual market for young boys is so insatiable the Mafia is into the traffic of supplying them. Can this sexual barbarism be called anything but demonic?

My husband, Rev. Claude Pike, and I are always grateful to God that He invaded our ministerial career back in 1949 to give us a deep groaning concern for our nation. Along with it through the years came, in George Fox style, some mighty struggles and fasts. We learned early that a price must be paid in blood.

When leading the desperate but successful struggle to defeat liberal Oregon's powerful homosexual lobby in 1977, we were grateful for the spiritual undergirding and protection past years of fasting and prayer gave us.

Likewise in 1979, resuscitating the discarded state child pornography bill which was shafted by liberal solons, we needed spiritual strength to back us up in the struggle.

In the the 21st century, who can tell what can happen when desperate people of God in these desperate times make a desperate appeal to Almighty God?

 

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