of Prayer & Fasting
O God, you are my God,
and I long for you.
My whole being desires you;
like a dry, worn-out, and waterless land,
my soul is thirsty for you.
2 Let me see you in the sanctuary;
let me see how mighty and glorious you are.
3 Your constant love is better than life itself,
and so I will praise you.
4 I will give you thanks as long as I live;
I will raise my hands to you in prayer.
5 My soul will feast and be satisfied,
and I will sing glad songs of praise to you.
What Is Fasting?
As a church, we fast at the beginning of every year. We believe it is critical to give God the first of our year to seek his voice and his direction for our lives, our families, our churches, and our country.
Biblical fasting is simply taking a short period of time too disconnect from the world to get more connected to God and what he is speaking. We do this through prayer and fasting. Fasting is abstaining from something physical such as food, caffeine, sugar, social media, Television, video games, etc (anything that might be hard to give up for a time) And prayer is where we take that extra time to connect to God, His voice, His presence, and His strength.
The Heart Of Fasting
In the Old Covenant, fasting was a time of where people begged God for His mercy & presence. When Jesus came to earth, and made a way for us to be saved and be filled with His Spirit, everything changed. We now have God with us all the time, and we have his love and grace that covers our every flaw. Therefore, fasting is no longer a begging for mercy or for God to come, but rather a time to rejoice, press in to the Spirit Who is with us, and to silence the pull of the world and our flesh, so we can hear Gods voice speaking clearly to our hearts.
We don't fast to be seen or to appear "spiritual" (Matthew 6:18)
We don't fast to be justified or earn Gods favor. (Luke 18:9-14)
We don't fast to get something from God by pleading with Him, but rather we fast to be more receptive to what He wants to do in and through us. (1 Corinthians 8:8)
We do not fast to suffer & feel miserable. Remove the idea that somehow God will bless your more, as you feel more miserable.
We fast to draw near to God, and spend time in His presence.
We fast to reveal areas in our hearts God wants us to change. Repentance.
We fast For spiritual strength against an enemy attack.
We fast to grow a spiritual hunger for God
We fast to weaken our flesh and strengthen our spirit.
To break free from bondage, addiction, the flesh, spiritual strongholds & mindsets that hold us back.
We fast to grow our faith and trust in God to do a miracle in our lives. (Matthew 17:19-21)
Examples Of Fasting
Jesus fasted to acknowledge His dependence and to gain spiritual strength through reliance on the Holy Spirit and God’s Word. He did this before He began His public ministry (Luke 4:1-2).
Jesus didn't command fasting as a law, but he did expect His disciples to pray and fast regularly as a vital part of spiritual growth. Just like our body needs food and water to stay alive, so our spirit needs prayer, fasting, and feasting on the Word of God, to stay healthy. (Matthew 6:16).
Nehemiah fasted for confession, repentance and favor in the sight of the king to get permission to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 1:4).
David humbled himself, asking God to intervene because of injustice (Psalm 35:13). In 2 Samuel 12:17-23, he fasted for healing and miraculous intervention.
The early church fasted while worshiping and committing their ministry to the Lord. They also sought the Lord through fasting for guidance and confirmation during the appointment of elders (Acts 13:2, 14:23).
2021 PRAYER GUIDE
Every night for 21 days, people will be gathering at the church for prayer at 6pm. Each night we will focus on a specific topic.
Unity of the body
*growing in grace – unity in the church
*maturity of faith - social reactions and connection
Prayer for the fullness of the ministry of the Holy Spirit
*fruit of the Spirit
*gifts of the Spirit
*life of the Spirit
*mind of the Spirit
*The Word of God would penetrate hearts unto salvation
*Repentance with fruit following
Healthy, vibrant prayer ministry
*greater desire for earnest and fervent prayer
*a move of the hearts of people with a passion for prayer
Filling of the church numerically and spiritually
*growing from salvation to maturity
Ministry of the Word, worship, and other church ministries
*everyone functioning in their gifts
*contentedness in our function
*knowing the word
Praise before the battle
*giving the sacrifice of praise
*being a people of worship
*living above the natural
*clothed with God’s armor
Fasting requires reasonable precautions. If you have any health concerns, please consult your physician prior to beginning your fast, especially if you are taking any medications, have a chronic condition, or are pregnant or nursing a baby.
As you prepare to fast, it is important to choose a fasting plan that works for you. While this section provides some general information about different types of fasts, as well as some suggestions on how to create your own fasting plan, it is important to mention that there is nothing more inherently spiritual about one type of fast as opposed to another. These are simply guidelines and suggestions on different things you can do.
Do not let what you eat or do not eat become the focus of your fast. Keep your focus on the main thing, which is drawing closer to God. Remember, this is a time to disconnect enough from your regular patterns and habits in order to connect more closely with God. Here are a few tips to keep in mind before get- ting started:
Start Where You Are
We are all at different places in our walk with God. Likewise our jobs, daily schedules, and health conditions are all different and place various levels of demands on our energy. So most importantly, whether you’ve fasted before or this is your first time, start where you are. Your personal fast should present a level of challenge to it, but it’s very important to know your own body, know your options and, most importantly, seek God in prayer and follow what the Holy Spirit leads you to do.
Remember, the goal of fasting is not just to go without food. The goal is to draw nearer to God.
Find Your Fast Zone
When most people start fasting, there is typically some level of discomfort. However, it is possible to get used to the fasting routine pretty quickly. Quite simply, you must learn to fast in a way that works for you. While any true fast does involve abstinence from food or at least certain types of food, typically different fasting combinations work better for different people. The goal to having a successful fast is all about finding what we like to call your Fast Zone, and that is different for everybody and can change depending on the season you are in.
The best way to describe your Fast Zone is that it’s the place where you feel light and spiritually in tune. Your mind is easily focused on God and spiritual things. You have an increased spiritual energy—you can feel the fast working. Just like runners know what their target heart rate is to see the benefits of their physical training, the Fast Zone is similar in a spiritual sense.
Finding your Fast Zone helps you choose both the type and length of fast. Let’s say you choose to go on a Daniel fast (only fruits and vegetables). Should you eat beans? If you can eat beans and stay in your Fast Zone, go ahead. But for some people eating beans takes them out of the zone. Should you eat peanut butter? Probably not. Peanut butter is more of an indulgence, and not many people can stay in a Fast Zone while enjoying indulgences.
Should you completely cut out caffeine? It depends. The great thing is, when you fast, your body automatically craves less caffeine. If you can stay in your Fast Zone with a little caffeine, great. If you are going on a longer fast and want to cut it out of your diet completely, that’s great too. But ease yourself off and make it your goal to be completely caffeine free about two-thirds of the way into your fast.
If you drink coffee regularly, one of the worst mistakes you can make is to fast for one to three days and cut caffeine out abruptly and completely. Please don’t do that, or you will spend this time grumpy and in withdrawal instead of enjoying God’s presence.
There isn’t one approach that works the same for everyone. Follow the Holy Spirit, mix it up, find what works for you, and stay in your Fast Zone!
Some people can’t stay in a Fast Zone eating any type of solid food, so they pre- fer all liquids. With today’s protein drinks and juicing machines, it is so easy to get a healthy dose of all your nutritional needs even while taking in only liquids. Certain people can’t do anything other than drink only water. If they eat a salad or drink a glass of juice, they get out of their zone. Or if they allow themselves to eat cantaloupe, they will end up eating twenty cantaloupes a day!
Spend Time With God
We really want to encourage you to look daily for opportunities to seek God. As you fast a meal or activity during the day, give that time to God. Spend quiet times with Him in prayer. Disconnect from the world and connect with Him in worship. Read and meditate on His word. Focus on His goodness and greatness.
Begin & Break The Fast Well
Depending on the type of fast you choose, it is very important to prepare your body ahead of time before beginning the fast. Take a week or so to transition into your fast; otherwise, you could get sick. For example, if you would like to go on a fruits and vegetables or juice fast, start eliminating meat, white grains, and refined sugars from your diet the week before. Also start to cut back quite a bit on dairy products and some of your caffeine intake.
The same principle applies to breaking your fast. When your fast is over, add foods back in very gradually. Please don’t break your fast with a greasy cheese- burger! Because your body is so cleansed and detoxified, you will most likely get sick if you do that.
There are also several supplements you can take that will help support the detox process during your fast. Your health-food store can give you recommendations.
TYPES OF FASTS
Specific Food Or Activity Fast
In this type of fast you omit a specific item(s) from your meal plan. For example, you may choose to eliminate all red meat, processed or fast food, or sweets. Most people can incorporate this type of fast relatively easily. It can also prove to be a great solution for people with specific dietary needs or medical conditions that may cause certain limitations.
While fasting typically refers to refraining from specific food items, you may also find it extremely beneficial to fast from a regular activity or habit. This might include things such as television, social media, and the like. Prayer and fasting are not just about connecting to God but also about disconnecting from the world. Try to tune out some of the regular distractions from your day as much as possible. Replace that time with things that will nourish you spiritually.
The Daniel fast is a great model to follow and one that is extremely effective for spiritual focus, bodily discipline, and purification of the body and soul. It is probably one of the most commonly referred-to fasts; however, within the Daniel fast there is room for broad interpretation.
In the book of Daniel we find two different times where the prophet Daniel fasted. Daniel 1 states that he only ate vegetables and water, and in Daniel 10, while the passage does not give a specific list of foods that Daniel ate, it does state that he ate no rich (or choice) foods, as well as no meat or wine. So based on these two verses, we can see that either of these, or combinations of the two, constitute a Daniel fast.
Again, it is important to mention that there is nothing inherently spiritual about one type of fast as opposed to another. The foundation of the Daniel fast is fruits and vegetables. Some starchy vegetables and dairy could be included, but that depends on the individual. Your goal should be to seek God in prayer about this and follow what the Holy Spirit leads you to do. Just remember: find your personal Fast Zone.
A juice fast is simply consuming vegetable and fruit juices and water instead of solid food. Many people include whey protein in their liquid plan as well. This is one of the most popular and effective fasts. Even if you choose not to make your entire fast liquids-only, substituting one or two meals for liquids is a great alternative.
A water-only fast is the normal fast referred to in the Bible. This is how Jesus and the New Testament church fasted. A water fast is just that—no eating of any food or drinking of any liquids except water. Periodic water fasts can be very beneficial, but extreme precautions should be taken. For some people it is hard to perform effectively at their jobs and have energy for their families while drinking only water. We recommend consulting your physician first, and water fasting only for a day or two unless you can get away or your job allows you to really disconnect so you can give your best energy to the fast. Remember, when Jesus went on His forty-day fast, He went by Himself out into the wilderness. Having said all that, there are some people who can water fast and work, and they function fine without much fatigue and are able to work well. You are blessed if you are one of these people.
Total Fast (Strongly Discourage)
A total fast is where nothing—neither liquid, solid food, nor even water—is consumed for a very short period of time. There are examples of this type of fast in the Bible. It was an Old Covenant type of fast associated with mourning, or deep grief, such as when David engaged in a total fast for a week, hoping that God would spare the child he had with Bathsheba
(2 Samuel 12).
Under the New Covenant, we do not fast to mourn or to seek forgiveness. God has already forgiven us, and we are commanded to celebrate Jesus because He is alive. Plus, complete abstinence of food and water can be very dangerous to our health. Attempting to go without water for any period of time can be extremely harmful to the body.
We strongly discourage the total fast.