Power from Above through Prayer & Fasting

Slide15Historical and Doctrinal Formation of Holiness Teachings and Praxis among Bulgarian Pentecostals (Research presentation prepared for the Society of Pentecostal Studies, Seattle, 2013 – Lakeland, 2015, thesis in partial fulfillment of the degree of D. Phil., Trinity College)

If early Bulgarian Pentecostalism has indeed rediscovered and restored any of the characteristics of the First Century Church this would be the prayer of the early saints. Nothing happened without praying. It was a timeless prayer as they wept all day and welled through the night.

Fasting was an indispensable part of this search for power from above. Sometimes the Spirit would lead the whole congregation into a fast, other times chain fasting would take place for weeks and months. Fasting before a Communion service was mandatory for all.

The search for power from God through prayer and fasting was no longer the strategic platform of the Congregational organization or the systematic teaching of the Methodist church. It was distinctly Pentecostal and not quite fitting the rational of the Wesleyan Quadrilateral. In the Bulgarian context, the Pentecostal experience was far better described by the triangular formula of prayer, power and persecution. And believers sought the power of God in anyway possible: through personal humbling and chain fasts, through grace alone or through rules for all, through the voice of the Scripture and the voice of the Spirit. Every word was accompanied with a sensible presence and the reality of the spiritual gifts.