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Why Do We Fast? (Prayer and Fasting, Part 3)

Today is the 3rd “fast day” for the Summit Church. If you’re a part of our church family, I hope you’ll join us! Here is a prayer guide to help you.

This is a blog post from 2006 that give some thoughts on fasting.

Why do we fast? Here’s a thought:

Scripture says that when our prayers aren’t answered, it’s quite often that our motives aren’t pure (James 4:1-6). We feel like we need the anwswer to our prayer in order to be happy, rather than being satisfied in Christ. We are spiritual adulterers, seeking to find in some other thing what God has told us to find in Him.

You see, we quickly turn every good thing on earth into an idol. We designate some THING as essential to our happiness: money, the approval of others, success (even, and perhaps especially, ministry success), etc.

Quite often God will take those blessings from our lives to remind us that we can be satisfied in our relationship to Him even if we have none of them. This “suffering” is not punishment, but training in obedience to the first commandment.

Fasting is a way of suffering like that ‘voluntarily.’ Fasting trains us to know we need God more than His gifts.

When our motives are purified, then, as James says, your prayers become much more powerful. When you don’t need the answer to your prayer to be happy, and your ultimate motive is the glory of God, then God loves to give things to you. God is a Father who loves to give gifts to His children. Loves to. Just watch how He interacts with people in the Gospel of Luke. The recurring biblical question is our motives. As the Puritans used to say, “One pure motive in prayer is worth more than many words.”

So, today, fast, pray and ASK! Let’s ask that God do something in Durham, Raleigh and Chapel Hill that will blow our minds. And let your fast remind you that we don’t need to ask for our benefit-i.e. we don’t need success in order to validate us before God, because we have all the validation we could ever need or want in Christ-we are asking for the sake of God’s name in this area. (Isa 59:1-2).

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J.D. Greear, Ph.D., is the President of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastors the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, NC. Tagged by Outreach magazine as one of the fastest growing churches in America, the Summit has grown in the past 8 years from 400 to over 5,000 each weekend. The Summit Church is deeply involved in global church planting, having undertaken the mission to plant 1000 churches in the next 40 years. J.D. has authored Breaking the Islam Code and the upcoming Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary.