Prayer and Fasting (1) - Why Fast?

In preparation for the launch of re:Generātion’s Wednesday afternoon on-campus Life Group at Clackamas Community College, the members of the CCC Life Group are going to spend the next two Wednesdays committing themselves (amidst the business of everyday life) to prayer and fasting. In line with that aim, I’d like to first invite the other members of re:Generātion’s launch team to join with us in this venture. Second, in order to guide this process, over the next few days, I’ll be devoting some blog-time to examining what fasting is and what role it ought to play in our life and mission.

The pattern of frontloading a new ministry endeavor with prayer and fasting is well established and reaches all the way back to Jesus himself who, prior to the start of his public ministry, fasted in the wilderness of Judea for forty days and forty nights (Matt. 4:1-2). This same pattern was also carried on by his disciples in the book of Acts as the gospel began to spread (Acts 13:3). While most Christians are familiar with the practice of fasting—which we’ll define as the voluntary act of abstaining from food or other substances for a set period of time—very few of us really understand what fasting is about. Though the question, “Why fast?” is simple, it’s often a hard one to answer.

There are, in essence, two basic reasons why, as followers of Christ, we should fast: the first is transformational and the second is missional. (There is also, of course, a third, even more basic reason: namely that Scripture, and in particular, Jesus himself, tells us to. For our purposes, however, we’ll simply concentrate on the first two, which, in actuality, inform and shape the rationale behind the third.)

Tomorrow we’ll look at the first purpose of fasting: transformation.


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