What is the purpose of Fasting and Prayer?

Discussion in 'Spiritual Warfare' started by tjm3383, Jun 19, 2010.

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  1. tjm3383

    tjm3383 Puritan Board Freshman

    I recently recieved a newsletter from MTW on their missionaries in Peru (see attached) calling on the church to fast and pray on June 24th. I posted this too facebook for people to prayfully consider. I recieved mostly positive feedback but one seemed to take exception to the idea that fasting would be of benefit to the one doing the fasting and those whom the prayers were directed towards. I'm considering a fast on this date for the persecuted church (and specifically the situation in Peru) however I would like some feedback on the benefit of fasting. Is it simply an exercise to show us what it is like to be less fortunate? or is their more to it?
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2010
  2. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritan Board Doctor

    There are many, many references to fasting in Scripture. Both Old and New Testaments. E.g.

    The Westminster Confession of Faith summarizes the doctrine of scripture to include a regulated part of worship:

    If you read "Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life," by Donald Whitney, it is described as one of the basic disciplines of Christian life. http://www.christianbook.com/spirit...an-life/donald-whitney/9781576830277/pd/30275

    While there is no ritual to it biblically, it is of great use to the Christian, along with prayer and meditating upon God's Word. It helps one focus on God, minimize distraction, and I think even subdue the flesh, in a sense at least.

    It seems that as prayer, it can be done privately (as individual or even in a family) or publicly (corporately)- there is a place for both.
  3. JennyG

    JennyG Puritan Board Graduate

    In Scripture it seems to be presented as a way of adding weight to intercessory prayer - as when Esther fasted with all her maidens.
    So to fast for the persecuted church would be a Biblical thing to do.
  4. tjm3383

    tjm3383 Puritan Board Freshman

    That is my thought as well Jenny. Scripture does not limit fasting to simply an excercise that helps you relate to the less fortunate.
  5. JennyG

    JennyG Puritan Board Graduate

    I agree, in fact I wonder whether even if it does so help, that isn't more or less of a by-product.
  6. tjm3383

    tjm3383 Puritan Board Freshman

    Hey Scott, thanks for the comment!
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