Fasting and Praying:
A couple of days back we embarked on a day of fasting and praying at C4. If you are still wondering why we fast and pray, see below some questions and answers that could help understand better why we fast and pray.
What is it that we are doing when we are praying?
• The obvious thing that we do is that we are talking to God. This however has implications in that we are making a statement to intentionally be in God’s presence and to trust him. When we pray we make it clear that we want to be in God’s presence and that we are trusting God in whatever we are praying about.
• Secondly, is that we are following God at his word. Jesus instructed his disciples to pray -Matt 26:41; Luke 18:1; Eph. 6:18 – these are verses that remind us of the importance and instruction to prayer. So when we pray we are doing what he has asked of us.
Why is it important for us to pray together as a church?
• We are following the example of Jesus and his disciples and that of the early church, who met regularly to pray and read God’s word. If you read the book of Acts and the gospels, you will be able to pick out how Christ and his disciples prayed together and also how the early church met regularly to pray and read God’s word.
• We are reminded of his Lordship. We are reminded that we need to depend on God for all things. When we pray, we remove ourselves from the center and becomes about God. We are reminded of our dependency on God.
• To encourage one another. In our community of believers, when we hear each other’s prayer requests and when we pray for one another, we encourage each other and this is a way of building each other up in the Lord.
• We are building our relationship with God. God speaks to us through his word and we to him through prayer and we affirm his promises in our prayers.
• To share in the inexpressible joy of being in God’s presence, the joy of knowing God.
If God knows already what we will pray for why then should we pray?
• Firstly we have to agree that God is all knowing and all-powerful and he can do what he wants with his creation. With that said, this should not deter us from praying. Prayer affirms our trust in God and when we pray we trust that what he has planned for our lives, his will and purposes are true to his character and what he has promised he will do, he will.
• Prayer is not for God’s benefit, but it is for us. It creates intimacy with God, when we share our worries, cares, joys, doubts and fears before with him. We have an opportunity to tell him of our deepest challenges and fears and wee trust him to bring us through them. This reinforces our dependency on him and builds our trust of Him.
What is fasting?
• The dictionary definition for Fasting – abstaining from all food and drink, especially as a religious observance. Basically it is go without eating or drinking. But anyone can do this anyone can stop eating for a day and call it fasting. Fasting requires discipline and has a spiritual benefit to it. We fast so that we can grow our relationship with God. We long to grow closer to him and to know him better and we fast and pray, we allow ourselves to focus on him and draw to him.
Why should we fast?
• There are many reasons that can be listed for fasting…but ultimately:
• We fast and pray so that we might grow closer to God. We fast to regain and renew our zeal for God. Fasting draws us into a closer relationship with God and allows us to focus on his will.
• Our reasons for fasting are also for our own humility. By denying ourselves for a time, we give ourselves that chance to rely more on God.
• Fasting is not about changing God to do as we wish – we don’t strong arm God into doing what we want him to do for us. It’s about changing us – our attitudes, our behaviour, our view of God and who we are in relation to him.
We hope this has helped you in terms of understanding what fasting is and why we pray and fast together as a church.