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Days of Prayer and Fasting: What and Why?

The Session at Grace has called for a day of prayer and fasting for this Friday, November 30, in order to devote time to pray for the financial, leadership, and spiritual needs of our church. You may be wondering what it means to fast and why our church is being called to do this. This post is meant to help answer those questions and give you some guidance.

 What Is Fasting?

Fasting involves abstaining from food for a specific time in order to devote that time and energy to prayer and meditation. It’s a spiritual practice for Christians that comes from a deep yearning for God to respond to specific events and circumstances. This biblical and spiritual practice of fasting is modeled for us in the Old Testament in Ezra 8:23 and in Joel 1:14, by the early church in Acts 13:1-3, and by Jesus Himself when he fasted for 40 days before facing temptation in Matthew 4:1-11.

Fasting is not just abstaining from food in order to devote time to prayer – it is much more than that. It is about posturing all of oneself - your emotions, your spirit, even your natural response to satisfy your physical hunger - towards God because you desperately yearn for more of Him and for Him to respond to certain events.  In his book on fasting, Scot McKnight defines fasting this way: “fasting is the natural inevitable response of a person to a grievous or sacred moment in life.” When we fast, we give up food and all of the time and natural energy that we normally use to satisfy our physical hunger to devote that time and energy to the spiritual yearnings in our relationship with God. John Piper says that, “We are always driven to fast because we hunger for something more than food. That is the meaning of fasting: it cries out, "This I want more than the pleasure of food!"” Fasting is something that Christians do when they are hungering, yearning for something deeply in their relationship with God. It is not about “getting something” from God, but simply a spiritual response to certain events and circumstances. If we receive something after or during the fast, it is because God has used the yearning in our heart (expressed through the fast) in order to grace us with more of his presence.

 “Fasting is the natural inevitable response of a person to a grievous or sacred moment in life.” -Scot McKnight


 Why Are We Fasting?

The Elders of Grace have called our church family to fast this Friday because we are yearning for God to respond to the circumstances facing our church. Grace is truly facing both a grievous and a sacred moment: we are troubled with debt, a current budget deficit, a $2,100,000 mortgage, and are unable to pay our staff fairly. We are also hungering for more discipleship, spiritual growth, and evangelistic outreach to our community. We groan with the desire for God to lead us out from this place!

If we are to grow as a church, we believe it must start by humbling ourselves before God. At the same time, we believe that God stands ready to grace us with more of His presence and to lead our church family in the way it should go. We have faith that God will hear our prayers and respond to our yearnings (1 Peter 3:12).

 Please Join Us

Join us at 6:00pm on Friday, April 12 and Friday, July 12 as we pray for our church as a community. Please also consider privately fasting and praying for our church throughout the day. Pray that God would meet our financial needs, that He would provide leadership and vision for our church, and that He would meet all of our spiritual needs. Pray, above all, that God would be glorified through our church and that we would follow Him wherever He leads us.