On Sunday, January 7, we kick off 21 Days of fasting & prayer. We are encouraging everyone to fast one meal a week and spend that time in prayer. Other options are to fast an entire day or a few days, using those mealtimes to cry out to God for our church and our city. We are believing that our city will experience an “AWAKENING” in 2018 and the hope found in our Savior, Jesus Christ.
What is fasting all about?
Fasting is the voluntary act of abstaining from food for the purpose of drawing closer to Christ and growing in self-discipline, which is the essence of what it means to be a disciple of Christ. For many of us our stomach’s have become our god, that’s why fasting is so important to deny ourselves, learn to enjoy food as a gift and blessing and focus more on our savior.
Jesus Himself exemplified the discipline of fasting for us in His own earthly life. One of the most well-known examples is Jesus’ forty days of fasting in Matthew 4:1–11. When Jesus spoke to His disciples about fasting, He said, “when you fast,” as if it was simply expected to be done (Matthew 6:16–17). As an aside, anyone wanting to practice an extended period of fasting would be wise to first speak with their doctor about how to do so safely. Other Scriptures also include reports of fasting. In Nehemiah 9:1, we are told that the entire nation of Israel fasted. Esther 4:16 likewise records a national three-day fast. In the New Testament, Acts 13:2reports that a leadership decision regarding who should be sent out from the church at Antioch to plant another church was made after a period of seeking the Lord through fasting and worship. Fasting is a biblical practice that all of God’s people should engage in at some point each year.
What are some ways that we can fast?
Obviously we don’t expect everyone to fast every meal for all 21 days. Here are some practical ways for you to fast during these 21 days. There are basically 4 types of fasting: 1. Absolute Fast 2. Solid Food Fast 3. Partial Fast. 4. Fast something else
- Fast a certain food or drink: Maybe you drink a lot of soda, or eat a lot of candy. Give up some type of food or drink. Perhaps you want to give up meat and only eat vegetables during this fast. Or maybe you decide to give up all types of drink except for water while still eating food. Giving up something will make you more grateful for what you have and focus you on the blessings God gives.
- Fast one meal a week or one meal a day: Take a meal out of your week or day and give it up, during the time you would be eating spend that time in prayer.
- Fast one day a week: During the 21 days take a whole day out of each week and fast. Spend time in prayer during each of the meals on that day.
- Fast a few consecutive days: Consult your doctor before going beyond the 2-3 day mark. But giving up a few days in succession is one of the most challenging & self-discipline challenging things you will ever do. Be sure to use the time you would eat during those days to pray and allow your overall fast to bring greater focus onto Jesus.
- Soul fast: Consecration is a part of fasting where you give something up for God and use that time to pray and draw closer to God. Consider fasting things like social media, television, the internet, video games, cell phone, non-worship music.
Resources on fasting: