What is the point of praying for the church if God already has a vested interest in His church?
God will not infringe on our free will without our permission. This is true for ourselves but it is also true for others. Intercessory prayer for others gives God permission to move above and beyond what He would otherwise do. Our prayers are authorization for God to move. In Daniel chapter 9, you see God answered Daniel’s prayer in giving him prophetic revelation for not only his present church but also the church until the end of time.
What role does fasting play in the Christian experience?
It is important to remember that fasting gains no “points” with God. Fasting is not to impress God or to earn our acceptance with Him. Some people cannot fast for medical reasons. Nonetheless, fasting has great benefits. An important aspect to take note of in the Sermon on the Mount is that fasting is equated with giving and with prayer. Christ used the same wording when He spoke on these topics: “When you give alms” (Matt. 6:3); “And when you pray” (Matt. 6:5); “Moreover when you fast . . .” (Matt. 6:16). Notice Jesus does not say “if” you fast, but “when” you fast.
Fasting brings the physical nature into agreement with your spiritual desire by correlating the dependency on physical food with dependency on Christ. When fasting, one experiences a physical humbling that is correlated to a spiritual humbling before God. Fasting changes us, changes our attitude toward God and others.
Different types of fasting can involve the eating of simple food or no food. Ellen White states, “Now and onward till the close of time the people of God should be more earnest, more wide-awake. . . . They should set aside days for fasting and prayer. Entire abstinence from food may not be required, but they should eat sparingly of the most simple food” (Ellen G. White, Counsels on Diets and Foods, 188).