As Gottliebin’s condition worsened, Blumhardt reached out to a friend in ministry (See yesterday’s devotional if you missed it). His friend pointed him to Matthew 17:21 where it says, “There is no means of casting out this sort but by prayer and fasting.” Awakened to a greater reality, Blumhardt wrote about his newfound understanding of fasting:
Insofar as fasting enhances the intensity of prayer and shows God the urgency of the person praying (in fact, it represents a continuous prayer without words), I believed it could prove effective, particularly since this was specific divine advice for the case at hand. I tried it, without telling anybody, and found it a tremendous help during the fight. It enabled me to be much calmer, firmer, and clearer in my speech. I no longer needed to be present for long stretches; I sensed that I could make my influence felt without even being there. And when I did come, I often noticed results within a few moments.
Armed with the power of fasting and prayer, Blumhardt continued fighting daily for Gottliebin’s life and freedom. Finally, in December of 1843, the enemy made his last stand and lost, shouting the words, “Jesus is the victor! Jesus is the victor!” Gottliebin was fully and permanently delivered and became a faithful children’s minister in Blumhardt’s parish.
After the fight was won, Möttlingen and the surrounding German area were thrust into a widespread movement of repentance. Men started coming to Blumhardt, voluntarily repenting of their sins and seeking forgiveness and salvation. So many people came that soon Blumhardt was busy from 6:00 AM to 11:30 PM everyday meeting with repentant sinners seeking salvation. One man known for his revelry and temper came to Blumhardt saying, “I am miserable! Last night I was in hell. I was told that the only way to get out again was to see the pastor.” That man gave his life to Jesus and so did hundreds more.
Physical healing soon followed. One man, who often fell to the ground because of rheumatism in his hip, experienced complete physical healing upon repentance. Word spread and people from all over the countryside came to Blumhardt for healing. All sorts of ailments were healed, including eye problems, tuberculosis, eczema, arthritis, and more. A person who was there at the time later said, “There were so many miracles that I can no longer recall the details. We felt the Lord’s nearness so tangibly that they seemed natural, and no one made a great deal of it.”
In writing to his friend, Blumhardt said of the awakening, “The relationship between the fight and the awakening is not such an outward one. If anything, the awakening was a fruit of the fight, won by it. Through battle and victory, satanic powers were broken. They can no longer work at all, or can work only feebly.”
What won the victory was the power of unrelenting prayer and fasting. After Blumhardt overcame the enemy through prayer and fasting, it was not long before repentance, salvation, and healing swept the nation of Germany. Blumhardt rediscovered Jesus’ pathway to power where Jesus went into the wilderness for 40 days of fasting, overcame the enemy, and came out “in the power of the Spirit” (Luke 4:14). This pathway to power is still the same today and is ours to pursue! Let us follow Jesus into the wilderness of fasting and prayer and come out in the power of the Spirit, having overcome the powers of darkness!