Prayer and Fasting

February 3 - 15, 2020

It’s the beginning of a new decade and as a church we have faith to see God move
in fresh and extraordinary ways. We believe that God has more for us, and we are convinced that we will tap into that more when the church (which is us) makes a commitment to prayer, fasting and seeking Jesus.

WHAT IS FASTING

There are two main principles related to biblical prayer and fasting:

1) Going without food

2) A focused season of prayer

Fasting is the laying aside of food for a period of time when the believer is seeking to experience God on a deeper level.
Prayer connects us to God and fasting disconnects us from the world.

WHY FAST

JESUS TAUGHT US TO Jesus fasted knowing that there were supernatural things that could not be released any other way. Jesus made it clear that fasting, like prayer and giving, is a normal part of Christian life.

HELP IN TIMES OF WEAKNESS God draws towards those who humbly and honestly admit how desperately they need Him. Our weakness makes room for His power. “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness’… For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

TO INCREASE GOD’S MANIFEST POWER IN OUR LIVES Fasting is a re-directing of our physical appetite towards God and His Word. “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26

IT RELEASES BREAKTHROUGH POWER In Matthew 17, we read of the demon-possessed boy. The disciples asked Jesus, “Why could WE not cast him out?” Jesus replies in verse 21, “this kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”

TO ADVANCE GOD’S KINGDOM In the Bible, God’s people spent time in fasting and prayer before a major advance of God’s Kingdom. When Jesus was led up into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tempted by the devil, He entered into a season of prayer and fasting.

TO EXPRESS OUR DEPENDENCY UPON GOD Choosing to go without food for the purpose of seeking God is a very practical way to humble ourselves before God. “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up” James 4:10

TYPES OF FAST

Deciding the type of fast you go on is between you and God. You could go on a full fast in which you only drink liquids, or you may desire to fast like Daniel, who abstained from sweets and meats, and the only liquid he drank was water.

It is important that the fast you choose will physically challenge you, but is also realistic based on your fasting experience, physical and medical needs. Remember to replace that time with prayer and Bible study.

FULL FAST A full fast means refraining from eating all food. Most people still drink water or juice during a full fast. When Jesus fasted in the desert, the Bible says, “After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.” This verse does not mention Jesus being thirsty. It is important to keep your liquids up during your fast.

PARTIAL FAST This type of fast generally refers to omitting a specific meal from your diet or refraining from food between certain times of the day, for example from 6:00am to 3:00pm.

DANIEL FAST There are two anchoring scriptures for the Daniel Fast. In Daniel 1 the Prophet ate only vegetables (that would have included fruits) and drank only water. So from these scriptures we get two of the guidelines for the fast: Only fruits and vegetables, only water for a beverage, and no delicacies or sweets.

Remember

If you’ve never done a fast before, take it slow. Perhaps don’t start with a full fast, but rather a partial fast. Whatever you fast, at the end of the day what matters more than any practice is the heart motive behind it.

In the Bible fasting always involved going without food, but if you can’t fast food for some reason - maybe you’re diabetic or pregnant - or you really feel led to fast something else that you think takes your attention away from God (like TV or social media) then you can fast that. But there is something about fasting food that really affects us physically and spiritually.