Fasting and Prayer 禁食与祷告



[Extracted from‘Living the Christian Year’ by Bobby Gross]

……    Even though we know fasting is found throughout the Bible, some of us have misgivings about the practice.We immediately picture ascetics going to great lengths to "mortify" their fleshin order to overcome temptationor to please God or to reach a mystical state.Fasting may strike us as a type of self-punishment that reflects a negative view of the body with its needs, appetites and capacities for pleasure. Or we may suspect in it an emphasis on works over against grace.

Yes,there can be distortions and abuses, but rightlyunderstood and practiced, fastingcan bring great dividends. Lynne Baab, in her book Fasting: Spiritual Freedom Beyond Our Appetitesprovidesthissimple definition: "Christian fasting is the voluntary denial ofsomethingfor a specific period of time for a spiritual purpose."In this respect fasting is much likesabbath-keeping: a restriction that creates spacefor God. In recent years many Christians have rediscovered fasting along with other ,long-neglected disciplines that can deepen and enrich us. After all, Jesus thought fasting important. In response to the devil's temptation to turn stones to bread, Jesus quotes Deuteronomy:

 [The Lord] humbled you by letting you hunger, then by feeding you with manna, with which neither you nor your ancestors were ac­quainted, in order to make you in from the mouth of the LORD. (Deut 8:3)

         Humbled by hunger, the Israelites in the wilderness and Jesus in the desert understood experientially their daily dependence on God for physical sustenance;more profoundly, they relied on God for the life that lies beyond biology, life for our souls, our selves."In him we live andmove and have our being,” affirms Paul (Acts 17:28). Hearing God's Word and doing God's will becomes food for us, teaches Jesus…..

          Fasting, then, is to deny ourselves food fora time in order to morevividly know Jesus as the source of oursustenance andbeing. It is to turnfrom the bread of the pantry to the bread oflife and in this humbler state to rediscover our deepest hungerand  remember  our truest food, Inthisway, fasting draws us closer to God…..


Fasting and Prayer Almost always fasting is linked to prayer in Scripture. Consider how fasting can enhance praying during Lent. First, it makes space for God, both in our hearts and in our schedules. It wanes us from our preoccupations and attunes us to God and his concerns. Fasting helps us listen to God. Practically we can convert the skipped meal times to prayer times. If we just put in an extra hour at our work desks, what have we gained?

Second, fasting in some mysterious way strengthens our prayers, both our faith in asking and our discernment in listening. It was during a time of fasting that the leaders at Antioch heard from God about setting apart Paul and Barnabas for missionary work. Fasting and prayer also preceded the day they were sent off (Acts 13:1-3). Throughout history Christians have attested to the power of fasting in connection with intercession, including prayers for healing.




[摘自’Living the Christian Year’pp.134-137Bobby Gross 著]




       因饥饿而变得谦逊,以色列人在旷野,耶稣在沙漠中的经验中理解到在日常肉体所需对神的依赖; 更深奥的是,他们所依靠神的是生命,那超越生物学的,我们的灵魂的生命,我们的自我.”我们生活,动作,存留,都在乎他。”保罗这么肯定的说。(使徒行传17:28)听神的话语并遵行神的旨意成为我们的食物,耶稣这么的教导。…