Prayer and fasting for the believer is considered a normal expression of healthy spiritual living. Jesus fasted and prayed, and directed others to do so (Luke 4:1-2; Matthew 6:1-8), knowing that the presence and power of the Holy Spirit is intensified as a result. Jesus was “full of the Holy Spirit” when he began His forty day fast, but returned “in the power of the Holy Spirit” subsequent to fasting (Luke 4:14).
What or who changed? It certainly wasn’t God! Man changes during a fast, not the Almighty (Malachi 3:8). Fasting is not about getting God’s attention; He is always thinking about you, He even keeps track of each hair on your head, and rest assured that He not only loves you but He likes you. Prayer and fasting turns your attention to God!
Prayer and fasting then are not some gimmick, method, technique, ritual, or rite; rather, they are the spiritual disciplines that unlock God’s power and purpose in your life.
How are we doing this as a church in 2019?
- We will have 3 evenings of Prayer and Worship at the church each Wednesday during this time on January 9th, 16th, and 23rd at 7pm.
- We’re suggesting a strategic prayer time daily at noon (lunchtime) for 21 days, beginning Monday the 7th. We can join together “in spirit” at that time. The church will be open for prayer in the Auditorium from 12-1pm, Monday through Friday.
- The focus for prayer each of those 21 days are as follows:
Days 1-3—Gratitude and thankfulness to our Heavenly Father.
Days 4-5—Repentance and forgiveness, both personally and corporately.
Days 6-7—Inviting Heaven, God’s Kingdom, to reign in your life and our world.
Days 8-9—Ask God for the provision you need in your life, for His provision for our families, our church, and our community.
Days 10-11—Relationships with family and friends.
Days 12-13—Strength to stand for God’s ways.
Days 14-15—Warfare against the enemy’s intentions, and demonic oppression.
Days 16-17—Prayer for the worldwide Church, persecuted Christians, and oppressed people groups.
Days 18-19—Prayer for our leaders locally, statewide, nationally, and especially for our new President and his administration.
Days 20-21—Celebration and praise for our great and wonderful God.
What is fasting?
- It is not starving or dieting. It is not just for the “super” committed, or only on special occasions.
- It is simply refraining from food for a spiritual purpose.
- Fasting is a normal, usual and expected part of the life of the believer.
- Prayer and fasting were practiced by almost all the significant Biblical figures, not the least of which is Christ Himself. Jesus fasted 40 days, as did Moses, Elijah, and Joshua, Daniel did a partial fast for both 10 days, and then later 21 days, Paul fasted at least 14 days, and Peter fasted 3 days.
What are the benefits?
- Amazing spiritual sensitivity is normally associated with fasting and prayer. As your appetite is subdued, your spirit becomes more acute.
- Breakthrough in areas previously impregnable to your best efforts can be expected (Matthew 17:14-20).
- Prayer and fasting makes God’s will more plain in your life. Are you facing an important decision? This is a great time to turn your full attention to God.
- As in the case of Queen Esther, a call and commitment to prayer and fasting may spare you a great agony (Esther 4-7).
- It is a powerful spiritual weapon. Satan does not know what to do when you do something different, biblically powerful, and eliminate one of his access points of influence (your appetite).
How should I fast?
- Full fast—abstinence from food for a specified number of days; so your only intake is liquids including fruit and vegetable juices.
- Partial fast—restriction in diet, as opposed to complete abstinence for a specified number of days.
- A modified fast featuring a shorter period of complete fasting perhaps for 1-3 or more days followed by a “Daniel fast” (the Daniel fast eliminated meat, bread, and sweets).
- A strategic fast of certain foods or activities (like social media or watching TV), which will accomplish the purpose of heightening your sensitivity to the Lord.
IMPORTANT: any change in your diet should be reviewed with your doctor before beginning.
What is the duration?
There is no “right” length of time, but we are inviting you to consider some form of involvement for 21 days.
What if I am not able to fast food?
You should always consult your doctor before any lifestyle change, and if fasting is not healthy for you, then consider giving up the television, movies, or other recreational activities for a brief period. The critical factor would be to make a sacrifice that turns your attention to your Heavenly Father.
A couple tips:
- Before you begin fasting, start tapering down on your food intake.
- Drink plenty of water everyday.
- Start with a time frame and chosen fast to which you can commit; don’t try to set the world record for a fast your first time.
End of the Fast—January 26 and 27
Let’s break the fast together as we praise God, end 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting, and celebrate our 14-year anniversary at all of our Saturday and Sunday services the weekend of January 26 & 27!
101 Reasons to Fast, Bob Rodgers, Louisville Kentucky, 1995
God’s Chosen Fast, Arthur Wallis, Christian Literature Crusade, 1980
Fasting, Jentzen Franklin, Gainesville, GA 2004
The Daniel Fast Made Delicious: The simple fruit and vegetable fast that will nourish your body and soul, John & Ann Marie Cavazos
www.fastingchurches.com (Jentzen Franklin’s website with teachings, etc.)
Rick Warren’s website, http://danielplan.com
Church of the Highlands’ Prayer Guide, https://21days.churchofthehighlands.com/files/prayer-journal-2019.pdf
Church of the Highlands’ Prayer Guide for Kids, https://21days.churchofthehighlands.com/files/kids-prayer-guide.pdf