Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Place for Fasting in Prayer

READ MATTHEW 6:16-21

As we approach the dedication of our new Worship Center this weekend, we are going to be praying and fasting this Friday for a fresh touch from God on our church body. As we were encouraged to set this time aside for fasting, I asked myself why the practice of 'fasting' was so foreign in our culture of worshippers.

Over the next several days, I want to focus on many different attributes of prayer and find out what God desires from us as we commune with Him and also how that may change the way we pray from this point forward.

Jesus’ words about fasting represent His invitation to a deeper experience with God. As we place our body’s physical desires under the Spirit’s control, we let go of our grip on the material in order to embrace the spiritual. Reasons for fasting include:

Cleansing from Sin. When we let down our spiritual guard, we start thinking as the world does, protecting our rights instead of dying to self or seeking to accumulate more rather than sacrificing. Through these lapses, ungodly attitudes and habits can quietly take up residence in us, and we hardly notice. But God sees; they hinder our fellowship with Him, limit the effectiveness of our service, and erode our joy. Prayer combined with abstinence will give God our undivided attention to address areas of sin. We, in turn, will find them grievous and be eager to let them go.

Guidance. God is willing to give us clear direction but, for some things, fasting as well as prayer is required. Through it we gain the cleansed mind needed to hear what He is saying and a submitted spirit ready to accept His instructions.

Protection. Through fasting, we gain insight into God’s ways and receive help in identifying unhealthy or dangerous situations. As we submit to His authority and confess our need for protection, His Spirit will give us discernment to make wiser decisions and avoid unnecessary pitfalls. Abstinence together with prayer can also bring heightened spiritual awareness and more intimate communion with the Lord. Aren’t these the deepest desires of our heart?

If God leads you to join us in fasting and praying this Friday, I would encourage you to do so.

1 comment:

  1. This morning I was doing some research for work and somehow stumbled across this blog. It's funny because fasting is one of those spiritual disciplines I just don't quite understand or know how to do in a "spiritual" way. It so often just feels like dieting or something solely physical without much spiritual significance. I know our Lord though fasted and Scriptures teach us that we are to fast. Thanks for highlighting some of the reasons we are to fast. Perhaps it's just one of those things I need to do out of obedience even though I may not completely understand it. Blessings!

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