August 10, 2023 / by April Kinzinger
When Becky Shamess and I started Cornerstone Christian Academy in 1997, it didn’t take long for us to learn that the school would be built on our knees.
That is, prayer would take on a central part in determining what God wanted for this new work. And so we learned to pray big prayers for impossible things, telling the Lord that without His intervention on our behalf we were completely helpless.
Time and time again we saw God answer in incredible ways. The school began to grow very quickly and within just a few years we had expanded to three different locations. The staff still met to pray together every morning on their knees before leaving for our different sites. It became evident to us that we would have to relocate if we ever planned on being together in one place. And while we always had just enough money, there wasn’t any left over to dedicate to the purchase of land or the construction of a school.
I remember visiting with a businessman in Bloomington and discussing a possible location for a new school building. Where should we look? Should we renovate an older building or build new? Should we look on the east side of Bloomington or the north? During the discussion he reached into his desk and pulled out a plat book of McLean County. As he flipped through the pages, I saw yellow markings which highlighted the rural acreage that he himself owned in the county. He pointed to one of those highlighted squares and said, “How about this one?” It was a 40-acre piece of farmland that was located 7 miles east of Towanda Barnes Road. We rode out with him the next week to take a look at the land. I remember seeing how far away it was from Bloomington, even past a little town called Holder. But God had answered so many prayers for us in unusual ways, so Becky and I determined we would pray for three days about this land. And we would do one more thing: we would fast.
We were not new to fasting. We had fasted for 12 days before a crucial meeting with the McLean County board where we were asking for two variances needed in order to even start the school. We had also fasted as we prayed for desks, chairs, and other school furniture we could not afford to buy. Why is fasting important and why does God bless it? I believe it’s because when you fast you are declaring to God your complete helplessness and total dependence on Him. It’s exactly where He wants you to be.
Fasting is often talked about in scripture. Moses fasted for 40 days and 40 nights while he was up on Mount Sinai, Elijah fasted while escaping wicked Queen Jezebel, Ezra fasted over the sin of his people, and Queen Esther fasted for the safety of the Jews. We can read of fasting by Daniel, the apostle Paul, and certainly by Jesus himself. Perhaps my favorite fasting example in the Bible takes place in 2 Chronicles 20. Israel’s enemies the Moabites and Ammonites had come against King Jehoshaphat for battle. Verse three tells us that he was afraid and “set his face to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.” As people came from all over to seek the Lord together, Jehoshaphat prayed, pledging to trust God and saying, “…we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
That described our situation in the fall of 2000 as we walked the 40 acres so far east of town. We did not know what to do but wanted to keep our eyes on what God wanted for us. So we committed to pray and fast for three days asking God if that was the location He would want for us. Now understand, we didn’t have any money to even think about buying 40 acres! But God… nothing is impossible for him.
At the end of the three-day fast, we came together to talk about what God had shown us as we had prayed and read the word. While we were meeting the call came. The businessman in question had decided on his own that 7 miles east of Bloomington was probably a bit too far. And so he approached a farmer who owned 78 acres 4 miles closer and asked him if he was willing to sell his land. Believe it or not, the farmer agreed and the land was purchased. And on November 1, 2001, that businessman and his wife gave the land to Cornerstone. While we were blown away by the generosity of those donors, we came back to God with our hearts overflowing with gratefulness.
Does God reward fasting? I believe he does. John Piper says of fasting in his book, A Hunger for God: “…He rewards acts that confess human helplessness and that express hope in God, because these acts call attention to his glory.” We always wanted to point people to the greatness of our God. When we didn’t know what to do, He always did. As we kept our eyes on Him, He did the impossible. That’s why when you enter Cornerstone Christian Academy the first thing you see is a large mural with the verse from Psalm 118:23: “The Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.”
April Kinzinger is the retired cofounder of Cornerstone Christian Academy in Bloomington. She is married to Dave and they have two sons and six grandchildren. April spends her time speaking, teaching classes in theology, and leading Bible studies.
August OakLeaf Articles:
Joining Together for Revival by Pastor Scott Boerckel
Are We Forgetting Something? Prayer with Fasting by Dr. Jeff VanGoethem
Fasting: Power From Helplessness by April Kinzinger
Purpose-Filled Fasting by Pastor Traig Whittaker
Quotes About Fasting compiled by Rob Sizemore
5 Myths About Fasting by David Mathis