The Purpose of Fasting, Part 8

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It would not be right for me to fail to mention those who have helped me in this journey. It was Bob Benson, Sr. and Michael W. Benson, through their devotional book “Disciples for the Inner Life,” that helped guide me by pointing me to the different scripture passages and the various excerpts and quotes. With that said, here are my conclusions…

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There is nowhere in Scripture, no commandment that says we must fast; at least none that I know of. So then, does fasting make a person more spiritual? No. I do not think so. What then is the purpose of fasting? The purpose of fasting, as far as I have gathered, is to pray.

If you look at fasting throughout Scripture you will find it is always associated with prayer. Esther and Mordeccai and all their people fasted and prayed for 3 days before Esther boldly approached the king. Jesus fasted and prayed for 40 days in the wilderness before embarking on his mission, his ministry.

But still, why fast and pray?

To be sure, we can certainly pray just as intensely and meaningfully about something or someone without fasting, but what fasting does is drive us to our knees so that our prayers become more frequent. When fasting, you will get hungry, and that hunger will not leave. And when you feel this hunger you can either open the fridge or grab something from the cupboard, or, you can fall on your knees and pray. When you begin praying, you can certainly pray for God to remove your hunger, but do so quickly and move on, for you are still thinking of food. When you start praying, instead, for whatever has been laid on heavily on your heart, be it a major decision in your life or another person or what have you, you will not cease to be hungry. You will, though, forget about your hunger. The hunger we get from fasting has a way of reminding us constantly why we are fasting, keeping the reason always on our mind. Further, it has a way, unlike any other, of forcing us and driving us to prayer—like nothing else can. Perhaps that is the only purpose, the only point, to fasting. But it is enough.

One final note about fasting. When you are done, do not stop praying. Once you have ended your fast, it is easy to move on with your life, to think since you are done fasting you are done praying. But unless your prayer was answered while fasting, don’t stop praying. As Paul says in Ephesians 6:18 “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”


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