My Lent Testimony
Every year, I try to participate in the activities of the lent period but I am usually unable to do so completely and give up shortly after I start. But this year, I was determined to take lent very seriously and participate in the activities until the very end. So even though I had been fasting for at least two weeks prior to lent, seeking God for answers about some personal stuff, I decided to do a full fast for the entire 40 days lent period. Yes, I fasted everyday until 6pm; sometimes with water, and other times without water. It was tough at times, the temptations flew in from all angles to satisfy the flesh. I fell a few times but I got up again and moved on because I was determined and was living in grace, which was sufficient. I was attacked spiritually and survived. In the end, God’s glory shone and I have no doubt in my heart that I need to share my testimony of lent this year with you.
Now for those who do not know what lent is about, permit me to explain. Lent is a 40-day period in the Christian calendar, just before Easter, where Christians are expected to fast and pray and be charitable before Easter. It begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday, or Maundy Thursday depending on whether or not you are Catholic. During the lent period Christians wait on God; they seek God and draw closer to God. There are many Biblical references for lent but the most pertinent of them all is that which Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights before beginning His ministry on earth. In Matthew 4, we are told that Jesus was led into the wilderness where He fasted for 40 days and 40 nights; after which He was tempted by the tempter (Satan) and when He overcame Satan’s temptation, angels came and ministered to Him and He begun His ministry thereafter. So during the 40 days lent period, we fast and wait on God to give us the strength and grace to overcome temptation.
This year, lent begun on 10 February 2016. I was in Kumasi at that time and was determined to go to the Methodist Church (Wesley Cathedral) for the Ash Wednesday service. And I did. I committed myself – spirit, soul and body – to the Lord and asked for strength during the lent period. I put up a post on my Facebook page saying “Today is #AshWednesday and the beginning of #Lent. Let’s make it a point to draw closer to our Heavenly Father during this period.”
I was desirous of spiritual gifts and in particular, to speak in the language of the Spirit – tongues. I did not know what gifts God had blessed me with to do His work. On Friday, 12 February 2016, I noticed that a colleague at work who was also a very good friend was limping and was in terrible pain. I asked him what was wrong with his right leg and he explained that he had a skiing accident whilst on holiday and that he had been to the hospital and the x-rays showed that he had torn some ligaments and that he needed surgery. I told him he did not need surgery and that I would visit him the next day (Saturday) and pray with him.
On the Saturday (13 February 2016), after a few rounds during the day, I visited my friend at night, around 10pm. I had company, and when we arrived at my friend’s house, we noticed that he could barely walk and needed to use crutches. We put on some music and started to worship God. We sang praises to God and prayed. We felt the presence of the Holy Spirit and He led us in prayer. We asked God for healing for my friend. We felt the Spirit move, causing my friend to scream. We put our hands around his knee that was hurting and amidst his screams, declared healing by the stripes of Jesus Christ. The screams stopped and he began to walk freely, as if he had never had such severe pain in his knee. We praised God and thanked Him for His mercies and grace.
In the process of praising our Heavenly Father, the Spirit took over my body and I began to prophesy into the life of my friend. I had no control over what was coming out of my mouth. The words I spoke came from within me, from inside my stomach. I could hear the Spirit speak. You would normally hear people tell such stories but I experienced it myself and it was amazing. Some of the prophecies that came to my friend have come to pass and I thank God. We then anointed his house and left.
On Monday, 15 February 2016, my daily devotion was titled “The Great Creator-Healer” and it talked about a man who had been involved in a similar skiing accident and had been healed. I took a photo of the page and sent it to my friend. On Tuesday, 16 February 2016, he went to the hospital and the doctor confirmed that he did not need any surgery. His joy knew no bounds. So did mine. Glory be to God!
Now I was more excited about what God wanted me to do for Him. I started reading His Word more, listening to podcasts (Dag Heward-Mills, TD Jakes, Kenneth Hagin, Benny Hinn, Reinhard Bonke, and many others). I was thirsty for the Word of God. I read books and the Bible frequently, and discussed revelations with friends and loved ones. And I still desired to speak in the language of the Spirit.
On Friday, 19 February 2016, I attended an all-night organised by a few friends from fellowship. One of the men of God present at the all-night talked about how it is important to pray in the language of the Spirit when you receive the Holy Ghost’s baptism. One scripture that he referred to, that touched my heart was, 1 Corinthians 14:14-15, which states that “For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.”
I prayed that I may receive the gift of speaking in the language of the Spirit so when the call was made for those who desired that gift, I quickly stepped forward (I believe I was one of the first people who did). The main organiser of the all-night, a young medical doctor who is also a pastor, and who happens to be a friend, stepped forward to pray for me. He placed his hand on my stomach and encouraged me to keep repeating “Thank you, Jesus.” After saying “Thank You Jesus” for about two minutes, I felt something moving up from within my stomach to my lips. Anytime I would try to utter what came to my lips, I would end up mumbling. But I did not give up. Eventually, a word came out. It sounded middle-eastern/Arabic. I continued to say the word as I feared that if I stopped, I would forget it. I went back to my standing position and continued to utter the strange word that had become part of my vocabulary. I did not know what it meant. I just knew my spirit was excited about it.
Another man of God came and ministered and during his ministration, he called me to the centre (we were standing in a circle) and called my doctor/pastor friend and told him that God had asked him to pray for me to receive the gifts that he (the man of God) had. As we prayed, the Holy Spirit came over me and I fell to the ground. Hitherto, I did not believe in people falling to the ground when touched by men of God and thought they just could not control themselves. But I fell. And when I regained control of myself, all I could do was cry. I cried like a baby and got up and returned to my standing position, again.
As I stood there, I continued to weep. I had never wept so much in my life. I was not sad but extremely happy. I could hear the Holy Spirit speaking to me confirming things He had told a few weeks ago. He reminded me of Matthew 6:33, which states, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” During a weekend retreat to pray about my future partner, the Holy Spirit had told me to draw closer to God and love Him with all my heart. I wanted answers from God about what to do about the person I would marry and all He told me was “draw closer to me.” “Like really, God?” I asked. But I trusted and obeyed. Today, Matthew 6:33 is one of the pillar verses in my life.
So as I stood there and cried, the Holy Spirit reminded me of that night when He told me to draw close to God and replayed exactly what He had told me and what was happening to me at the all-night. That made me weep even more and uncontrollably. Now my friend, who had invited me, not knowing what to think, turned around and hugged me as I continued to weep. I then heard the Holy Spirit speak to me in the most clearest of voices saying that He has given me my future partner because of what I am going to do for God. Oh yes, the crying continued even more. Other prophecies came forth that night but those are for another story. I continued to pray and received a second word in the language of the Spirit. I now uttered the two words so that I did not forget them.
On Sunday, 21 February 2016, I was invited to church other than mine and after the service, I met the man of God. He invited me to his house for a chat the next day (Monday). On Monday, 22 February 2016, I visited the man of God after work and had a chat with him. He told me a number of things including a second attack on my health, which attack will leave me very weak. I did not think the attack would be any time soon. I thanked him and left his house. We stayed in touch and communicated in the following days. I enjoyed his church and the word he preached and so I attended a few more times.
I continued to seek God, listening to sermons and reading the Word even more. I was thirsty to know God more. There seemed to be so much to know. I never passed the chance to minister unto someone and explain the Word and how exciting the living Word of God was. I prayed for friends who were sick and afflicted. There was one time, the devil tried to bring me shame with a running stomach and prevent me from traveling to Sunyani to work. I received directions from the Holy Spirit to bless a bottle of water and drink the entire bottle, believing it to be the blood of Jesus that healeth. I did and the running stomach ceased immediately to enable me go about my duties. The devil tried to plant doubt in my heart telling me to carry a tissue with me in case of an emergency or buy imodium. But I resisted those thoughts and ideas and trusted the blood of Jesus (the bottle of water) and it worked. I was saved from car accidents among others.
I attended another all-night and desiring more gifts, received two more words in the language of the Spirit, making the words in the language of the Spirit that I speak, four. On another occasion, I parked my car to attend a meeting. When I got out of the car, a healthy-looking man asked me for money to buy food. I said I did not have money to give to him. I crossed the street and immediately felt convicted by the Holy Spirit. I took out GHS20 from my wallet, blessed it and crossed the street to give to him. He was not expecting me. Immediately, he noticed what I had put in his hand, he thanked me and blessed me. I felt fulfilled and crossed the street to attend my meeting.
As lent drew closer to the end, the devil tried to attack me again. On Monday, 14 March 2016, I started coughing while I was at work. It was nothing serious; very negligible. When I got home in the evening, I coughed slightly. I had a Bible study session with my beloved over the telephone and then had our regular midnight prayers. She was concerned about the cough so we said prayers for my health. After praying for about two hours, we said goodnight to each other.
I shut my eyes to sleep. It was if I was asleep but I was not asleep; as if I was in some sort of trance. I felt so feverish, and shook terribly as I watched what was happening. My head was pounding and my body was shaking. Then I saw men of God, some I identified, others I did not, and they were all praying seriously as though to stop something from happening. I saw my medical doctor/pastor friend (the one who organises the all-night) leading the men of God in prayers, praying for me. After a while, I felt it was over and woke up. I was sweating profusely and had to use the bathroom “to pay some water bills.” I returned to bed to sleep but I could not sleep. My temperature was high, my head was pounding, I was sweating, I was using the bathroom a lot. In summary, I struggled the entire night. I woke up extremely weak and drained.
Around 3am, I sent my doctor a message to tell her what was happening to me. God has used her in the past to prevent the work of the devil against my life and yes, I text her at anytime and she always responds. I took my pressure and sent her the reading. She asked me to come by the clinic in the morning. I called in sick at work and was taken to the hospital. After a few tests, I was put on a drip and admitted until I regained a little strength. I was given some days off to rest. I then returned home, feeling feverish, without any appetite, etc.
I sent a message to my friend who had invited me to church on Sunday, 21 February 2016, telling her I had been admitted at the hospital but discharged the same day. She then told me that the man of God had asked about me that morning and she had told him that I was fine. She asked me to call the man of God and I did. When he picked up his phone, his first words were “you are weak, right?” And I said, “yes.” He then asked me to come to the church because they were there watching a movie.
So my beloved, who had come to make me soup, drove me to the church and we spoke to the man of God. He gave me a prophetic direction that God had given to him to give to me. I followed it and believed the healing power of God. I soon regained my strength. I noticed the power of God at work through the prophetic direction. On Sunday, 20 March 2016, I went to the man of God’s house in the evening and he, together with his other pastors and my beloved, prayed for my complete healing. He gave me the final prophetic direction, which I adhered to and believed, based on the Word of God.
When I fell sick, I took a break from fasting during lent to be able to take the medication I had been prescribed. I resumed fasting for Passion Week, with my full strength by the grace of God. On Maundy Thursday (24 March 2016), I went to church for the last supper and the washing of feet. I did not have my feet washed but partook in the last supper. On Good Friday, I was in church for the seven words on the cross, and was touched by the Word. In the evening, I went to the man of God’s church (the one I had gone to on 21 February 2016) to worship God.
When I woke up on Holy Saturday, I reflected on my lent period, and I realised that God had been so good to me. I knew I had been walking in grace and enjoying the mercies of God. I was renewed in my spirit and ready to do the work of God and all the other work He had blessed me with, in law and in politics. I felt very deeply in my spirit to share my testimony during lent so that others including unbelieving believers (credit to the man of God) will be inspired to submit to the Heavenly Father’s will for their lives. I live in joy and peace, and cannot wait for an opportunity to share the good news and God’s Word with people.
All I ask for is continuous grace, which is free, to continue to do His will, absolutely. My desire is to serve Him more and more. I also hope that the Holy Spirit will visit you and give you an encounter as He gave me and continues to give me. God bless you!
Written by Kow Essuman, Esq.
The author is a barrister; qualified to practise law in England and Wales, New York and Ghana. He is also a Global Shaper (Accra Hub) of the World Economic Forum and a firm believer in the gospel of Jesus Christ.