In his excellent book, The Hidden Power of Prayer and Fasting, Mahesh Chavda tells one of the most moving stories about helping a broken child through prayer and fasting. This story is another example of the power of fasting and prayer to release captives from the power of darkness. At the time, Mahesh was working at a hospital for mentally handicapped children in Lubbock, Texas. Here’s his story:

I’ll never forget the day I met a 16-year-old boy whom I’ll call “Stevie”. Stevie was a victim of Down’s Syndrome, a moderate to severe form of mental retardation often characterized by reduced mental capacity and certain physical deformities. Steve was afflicted with something even worse. He was a self-mutilator who was driven to cry out and beat himself in the face constantly.

The staff psychologist at the school had secured permission from state officials in Austin, Texas to administer electric shock therapy to Stevie for a six-month period… administering electric shocks any time he beat himself. He just got worse and worse instead of better. By the time I was there, his face felt like dry alligator skin because he beat himself continuously.

Finally, the attendants tied Stevie’s hands in splints so that he couldn’t bend his arms to reach his face. The only problem was that the other children in his dormitory ward developed a new game once they figured out that Stevie’s hands were bound at his sides. They liked to run up behind him and push him so hard that he would lose his balance and fall down. Since Stevie could no longer instinctively shield his face with his arms because of the splints, every time the kids on the ward played their game and pushed him, Stevie would land facedown on the floor without any way to protect himself or soften the landing. Most of the time we would find him with blood streaming from his nose, lips, and mouth. Whenever I would come, Stevie could sense God’s love coming from me and he would put his head on my shoulder and just weep.

Finally I said, “Lord, You told me that You sent me here to love these children. What is the answer for Stevie?” Very clearly I heard the voice of the Holy Spirit say, “This kind goes not out but by prayer and fasting.” Although this may be a very familiar scripture to you, it sounded totally foreign to me. I had attended a Bible university for four years and had earned my Bachelor’s Degree there, but I didn’t even know that the Spirit was quoting a scripture passage to me from Matthew 17:21!

Another thing I’d failed to learn during my four years of Bible school training was the subject of fasting. I said, “Fasting – doesn’t that mean no food and no water?” So I didn’t eat and didn’t drink water or Coke or anything else for that matter. I was also unaware of the fact that when you do without water, your priorities will change. By the third day of my fast without water, I began to get jealous every time I heard someone washing their hands in a bathroom sink!

On the fourth day the Lord spoke to me and said, “You can drink,” so I started drinking water. But I did not break the fast until the fourteenth day and the Lord said, “Now pray for Stevie.” When I arrived for my shift at the school that day, I took Stevie into my little office cubicle and said, “Stevie, I know your mind may not understand what I’m saying, but your spirit is eternal. I want to tell you that I am a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. I’ve come to preach good news to you. I want you to know that Jesus Christ came to set the captives free.”

Then I said, “In the name of Jesus, you evil spirit of mutilation, you let him go now in the name of Jesus.” Suddenly Stevie’s body was flung about eight feet away from me and hit the other wall of the cubicle! When Stevie hit the wall, his body was elevated about three feet above the floor, and then he slid down to the floor and let out a long sigh. Immediately, I smelled an incredibly foul smell of rotten eggs and burning sulfur in the room, which gradually faded away.

I quickly went to Stevie, cradled him in my arms, and removed his splints while he watched with wide eyes. Then Stevie began to bend his arms and gently feel his face. I watched him softly touch his eyes, his nose, and his ears; then he started sobbing. He had realized that for the first time he was not being driven to beat himself. He was gently touching his face and he had been delivered! In that unforgettable moment, the Lord revealed to me what a powerful weapon He has given to us to pull down strongholds and set the captives free. Within a few months, all the scabs had fallen off of Stevie’s face. He had begun to heal because he had stopped beating himself.

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