Prayer is the heartbeat of life with God.
It should be woven into the fabric of our daily routine, our weekly schedule. It is here we get to enjoy the Father’s company, rest and be renewed. Prayer is our opportunity to interact with the Creator God and participate in his work of bringing redemption to earth. However, for many of us prayer has become difficult and we may even find it an impossible task to sit in the presence of God for more than a few short minutes.
Our hope is over the 21 days you will be inspired and experience a new relational depth with your creator through prayer and fasting.
The goal of fasting is to draw nearer to God.
Biblical fasting is a willing abstinence from food for a set period of time. The intent is not to simply be hungry, but to focus our body, mind and soul on God. From the Old Testament through the life of Jesus and into thousands of years of Church history, fasting has been considered a core practice for all those who are Christ followers across globe.
Today, we live in a culture of excess. We over consume food, entertainment and luxury while addiction and brokenness runs rampant. For so many of us, the desires of our body have come to hold power over us. In the battle with our “flesh,” we have become its slave, not its master. Fasting is the first step towards freedom from this bondage as we give the Holy Spirit access and space to change and shape our desires and habits.
Biblically and historically, fasting and prayer are uniquely connected.
Fasting is nearly always paired with prayer (2 Samuel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Ester, Psalms, Daniel, Luke, Matthew, Acts) and we repeatedly see it aid and amplify the prayers of the people of God.
Over the next 21 days, we encourage you to step into both practices, prayer and fasting, and watch as God moves in you, our church and in his kingdom!
If fasting sounds odd to you, don’t worry, you’re not alone! This is a practice new to many of us, and we learn together. This practice is about freedom in Christ, not legalism. In fact, fasting is never mandated in the New Testament. Instead, it is something we are invited into by God. It is a spiritual practice that Jesus found important enough to incorporate into his own life (Matthew 4). It is freedom from our disordered desires and flesh. It’s a surrendering of ourselves to God, and then it is God who does the work.
Dallas Willard says it this way:
“This discipline teaches us a lot about ourselves very quickly. It will certainly prove humiliating to us, as it reveals to us how much our peace depends upon the pleasures of eating. It may also bring to mind how we are using food pleasure to assuage the discomforts caused in our bodies by faithless and unwise living and attitudes – lack of self-worth, meaningless work, purposeless existence, or lack of rest or exercise…If nothing else though, it will certainly demonstrate how powerful and clever our body is in getting it’s own way against our strongest resolves.”
(we recommend: one – two days a week)
In this type of fast, you abstain from food for 2-3 meals a day while drinking only liquids, typically water with light juices as an option (often people will skip breakfast and lunch, and break their fast by eating dinner). There is not a wrong way to do this fast. The heart of this practice is simply to make a conscience decision to abstain from food for a number of meals you choose.
(we recommend: the entire 21 days)
This type of fast involves removing certain elements from your diet. One example of a selective fast is the Daniel Fast, during which you remove meat, sweets, and bread from your diet and consume water and juice for fluids and fruits and vegetables for food. Based on dietary restrictions and individual needs, the selective fast may be a better option than the complete fast.
Partial or Intermittent Fast
(we recommend: 2-3 days a week)
This fast is sometimes called the “Jewish Fast” and involves abstaining from eating any type of food in the morning and afternoon. This can either correlate to specific times of the day, such as 6:00am to 3:00pm, or skipping breakfast and lunch each day.
(we recommend: the entire 21 days)
If you have health issues that prevent you from fasting food, there are other ways to refocus certain areas of your life that are out of balance. You might choose to stop using social media or watching television for the duration of the “fast” and use that time to pray or serve.