Prayer is connecting with the Triune God. Fasting is disconnecting from the world. Both come together to say, “I want the Holy Spirit to reclaim my life and my church.”
Prayer is a conversation with God, both in speaking to him in adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication/requests. The Psalms provide some great templates in these areas, as well as laments and imprecatory prayers. The desire of all of these Psalms is to express what’s happening in their souls to praise Him for His good gifts, or to ask Him about areas that we do not understand and bring about fear.
This is where fasting can come in. Social media, substances, entertainment, and a number of other things can distract us from dealing with the issues in our heart. Fasting keeps us from self-medicating and, instead, running to the Great Physician as He reclaims the Holy Spirit in our lives. This is personally.
We also pray and fast as a corporate body, as a church. Why? Churches can drift easily into clubs that reflect personal preferences rather than seeking the preferences of the Person of Christ. Thom Rainer recently asked:
Does your church have sacred cows? You know those things in your church that members have traded their love and affection for Jesus in exchange for love and affection for pews or programs. Never put your hope and trust in things that are temporal!
And this last phrase is why we fast: We are disconnecting from putting our hope and trust in things that are temporal!
It’s easy for us to love and have affection for those things we see. Our programs and ways of doing things become the things on which we rely. The Holy Spirit, however, exists to connect us to Jesus and to give us wisdom to move forward personally and as a church.
So if you plan on participating in a season of praying and fasting, identify those areas in your life that need strengthening. You can do this by:
- Reading 1 Corinthians 12 about what it means to be a part of the body of Christ.
- Read Galatians 5:16-23, taking inventory of those matters that are the fruit of the flesh (5:16-21) or the fruit of the Spirit (5:22-23).
- Look at those things in your life that you feel you really have to have, and decide to pull back or completely fast from. The idea is that the only part of our lives that we really cannot do without is Jesus.
So praying and fasting is all about reinforcing that Jesus is enough. That’s the role of the Holy Spirit is to bring Christ’s people and Christ’s church: to bring everything under the lordship of Jesus.
What ideas do you have when it comes to fast? Food? Tech? Let me know. The goal is to be in one accord under Christ. Let’s strive for this.