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Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough Lesson 4: The Samuel Fast Elmer Towns
1 Samuel  7: 1 - 8

Not many took notice when Jeremiah Lanphier began advertising a noon prayer meeting in the North Dutch Reformed Church in Manhattan for September 23, 1857. Only six people attended. A week later, that number grew to fourteen. Within a month, people decided to meet for prayer every day. By February 1858, every church and public building in downtown New York was filled at noon as business people gathered together to pray. A spiritual awakening had begun that would eventually reach around the world.

Matthew Henry once wrote, "When God intends great mercy for His people, He first of all sets them praying." Times of fasting and prayer have always preceded "times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord." As we study the Samuel Fast together in this chapter, we will take a closer look at the unique relationship between fasting and revival.

Fasting and Revival
(Pages 61-63)

What were the marks of the great revival of 1859?

Towns describes "atmospheric revival" as "when people feel the presence of God." How would your life be different if that feeling were more common in your Christian experience?

How does the expression "times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord" (Acts 3:19) describe revival?

What role did the Samuel Fast have in a national revival in Israel?

Preparing to Fast for Revival
(Pages 63-66)

Towns writes, "Before revival comes we must recognize the source of our bondage to sin that hinders revival." Why do you sense a need for revival in your life?

What do you see in your church and community that suggest the need for revival?

How would a sense of Godís presence in your church and community make things different?

Who shares your sense of a need for revival in your community? When is the best time you could meet with this group to pray?

Are you willing to assume leadership in praying for revival in your community? Is there another leader in your community for whom you should be more faithfully praying?

Conducting the Samuel Fast
(Pages 66-74)

In this section of the chapter, Towns outlines six steps involved in conducting the Samuel Fast. These steps are common whether praying for revival in your family, church or community. As you fast for a spiritual awakening in your personal sphere of influence, use the questions to guide you through these steps.

Who should you invite to join in fasting and prayer for revival?

What sins do you need to deal with in your life to demonstrate your sincerity in praying for revival?

What hidden sins has God revealed to you during your fast?

What corporate sins need to be confessed by your prayer group?

During your fast, read accounts of the great revivals in Scripture listed on pages 70-72. What is God saying to you through these revival experiences recorded in Scripture?

Are you using the Samuel Fast as a legalistic tool to force God to send revival or as an expression of your personal brokenness before God?

After the Samuel Fast
(Pages 74-77)


How is Satan likely to respond to your involvement in the Samuel Fast?

How are relationships involved in fasting for revival?

What actions would God have you take in response to insights gained during the Samuel Fast?

What evidences are there that God has begun to work in a unique way in your life, family, church and community?

What special answers to prayer have you experienced through this fast to encourage you to remain faithful in prayer in the days to come?

Practicing the Samuel Fast
(Pages 77-79)

Why do you think the time has come to fast for revival? Describe the condition in your own life that motivates you to fast the Samuel Fast? What concerns in your church cause you to think revival is needed and desirable?

As you begin fasting, what will be the character of this fast? From what foods are you abstaining? When will you begin and end this fast? How often do you intend to repeat this fast?

Towns writes, "The Samuel Fast sometimes dictates that you not pray for revival, but for Godís instrument of revival - a godly leader through whom God can work." Who are the godly leaders God can use to bring revival in your community?

In addition to prayer, what other actions is God leading you to take to insure the coming of revival to your community?

There are many groups whose desire for revival is expressed in urging others to become involved in a significant fast for revival. The most credible of these groups are quick to urge Christians to begin with shorter fasts before engaging in a longer fast. As you look over your fasting plans, are you attempting too much? Would you be better off engaging in a series of shorter fasts than one longer fast? Have you asked God to guide you in the nature and duration of your fast for revival?

A Word of Prayer
Heavenly Father, In my own life, I sense a hunger and thirst for a deeper relationship with You. I am personally frustrated with my own spiritual impotence and long to see You work in a significant way in my life, my church, and my community. I believe You want to revive Your people so that a significant harvest of souls might be realized in these days. Lord, as I follow Your leading in my life and observe the Samuel Fast, reveal things in my life which hinder my relationship with You and stop You from working in and through my life. Grant me the grace to be receptive to Your word and submit to Your will for me as You make it known. In Jesus name I pray, amen.

Looking Ahead
People are creatures of habit. Some of our habits are good and commendable. Other habits are an ongoing source of embarrassment and frustration. Breaking bad habits is for many of us a major source of irritation. In the next chapter, we will consider the Elijah Fast for breaking negative mental and emotional habits. Prepare for your study by asking God to help you identify a specific habit in your life it is time to break.

If you have never really accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, would you do it right now? Do not delay or put it off. If you would like to receive Christ by faith, pray this simple prayer in your heart:

Dear Lord, I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I believe Jesus died for my sins on the cross, and rose again the third day. I repent of my sins. By faith I receive the Lord Jesus as my Savior. You promised to save me, and I believe You, because You are God and cannot lie. I believe right now that the Lord Jesus is my personal Savior, and that all my sins are forgiven through His precious blood. I thank You, dear Lord, for saving me. In Jesus name, Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, God heard you and saved you. I personally want to welcome you to the family of God. Please contact me at and tell us about your salvation experience so that we can rejoice with you.

For more information about the study guide Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough, please go to
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