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Summary: So what does the Bible say about fasting? Is this something that Christians should be practicing? What does the Bible say?

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Hungering for God: Fasting and Prayer Preparation – Part I

Chuck Brooks, Pastor-Teacher, GraceWay Church December 27, 2015

Our church has been fasting and praying for 21 days at the beginning of the year for the last eight years. 2016 marks our ninth year of fasting.

In September of 2006, GraceWay Church was the result of two churches merging into one. A church from the eastside of Baltimore called Foundations of the Christian Faith Church joined a group of believers who called themselves New Vision Bible Fellowship Church.

In April of 2007 a group of people left to start their own church and in October of the same year the pastor from the eastside church decided to leave and restart his church.

Needless to say this was devastating for those of us that remained. Most of the people who left GraceWay Church were the leaders and the givers…this left a handful of broken and discouraged people remained to pick up the pieces.

One of the first things God called us to do was to repent of anything that may have contributed to the church splits and to start 2008 with 21 days of consecrating ourselves to the Lord coupled with prayer and fasting.

It hasn’t been easy but God saved our church and since that time has proved Himself to be faithful over and over again! And so, since 2008, we have been praying and fasting at the beginning of each year for 21 days.

If you are new to fasting, you might be asking yourself the question,

“Isn’t “fasting” something that is only done by the Muslims during Ramadan and the Hindus and Buddhists each new moon or full moon?

Isn’t that something that only activists like Gandhi, Dick Gregory and other civil rights leaders do when they campaign for some kind of social change?”

GraceWay Church is a “Bible church” and we always try to run everything by “the Book”. In other words, we test everything by what the Bible says. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instruction for right living.”

So what does the Bible say about fasting? Is this something that Christians should be practicing? What does the Bible say?

In today’s message we are going to look at five things about fasting:

1. Prayer and fasting was considered routine by those who followed God.

2. Prayer and fasting refines the ache in our hearts for the Lord Jesus

3. Prayer and fasting will break through the barrier of a self-absorbed life.

4. Fasting and prayer help us to remember significant encounters with God

5. Fasting and prayer raises to the surface the things most unlike Jesus

1. Prayer and fasting was considered routine by those who followed God.

During Jesus’ earthly ministry, there were three things the disciples did that were considered as key signs of a pious person. These things were considered the three great pillars on which one who followed God made sure he performed: Prayer, Giving and Fasting.

In Matthew 6, we find that Jesus had no problems with these practices; it was the attitude of those practicing them that Jesus was concerned with. Thus He warns them against doing them with selfish motives in mind.

1 "Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. 2 "Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

5 "And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

16 "And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

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