It’s one thing to know God— it’s another thing to open up your heart to God and allow him to speak to you in a deeper way than he ever has before. Prayer and fasting are two of the most powerful ways God has given us to walk deeper in his presence and understand the things he desires for our lives. And Jesus says there are some things that can only happen when we pray and fast.
WHAT IS FASTING?
Fasting is simply voluntarily setting aside the important things in your life and focusing on something far more important: Jesus, and his vision for your life. Usually, fasting is abstaining from or reducing food, drink, or both, for a period of time. Sometimes people just drink liquids, or eat only salads and soups, or sometimes if people have medical issues, they fast from other “important” things like social media, coffee, or TV….because “eating” and “drinking” can represent so much more than literal food and drink. A season of fasting is the perfect time to set aside anything that’s holding you back or standing in the way of seeing God more clearly.
What we “consume” in our bodies, our minds, our spirits, and our emotions often will distract us from our relationships with God. Where are you leaning on things that have little or nothing to do with God to get you through your day? When we “have to have” anything every day, and we are unwilling to give it up, we are likely relying on that “thing” to sustain us instead of depending fully on God. Fasting is our way of reclaiming those areas of our lives and devoting our attention to God instead.
A fast is a time when you can seek God for the things he is calling you to. What are you asking God for? How is he asking you to step out and trust him? How does he want you to grow?
As a church family, we’re separating ourselves for 21 days from those things God shows us to give up so we can see him more clearly. During these 21 days, take time to worship God in a deeper way. To pray like never before. Write down the things that God is putting on your heart, and watch what God does!
Note: If you plan to abstain from food and drink for long periods of time, consult a physician first. If you have medical issues with fasting from food/drink, find other important things you can abstain from instead.
YOUR GOAL: A PERSONAL ENCOUNTER WITH JESUS
“He must increase, and [we] must decrease.” – John 3:30
“Be holy, for I am holy.” – 1 Peter 1:16
There are many side-benefits to fasting, including cleansing your body, breaking long-term addictions, or creating healthy habits. But the real goal of your fast is to grow in your relationship with Jesus and experience God in a deeper way. Our culture teaches us that life is all about you…whatever you want, whenever you want it. Imagine what God could do if you separate yourself from the things you “need,” and he shows you like never before that abundant life is truly all about Jesus, and simply responding to him.
Prayer & Fast Guide
Read: Matthew 2-3
Pray: Reverence “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” (Matthew 6:9)
Read: Matthew 4-5
Pray: Surrender “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)
Read: Matthew 6-8
Pray: Provision “Give us today our daily bread.” (Matthew 6:11)
Read: Matthew 9-11
Pray: Forgiveness “And forgive us our sins, as we also forgive those who have sinned against us.” (Matthew 6:12)
Read: Matthew 12-13
Pray: Protection “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:13)
Read: Matthew 14-16
Pray: Equipping “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.” (1 Corinthians 12:7)
Read: Matthew 17-19
Pray: Help “Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray.” (James 5:13a)
Read: Matthew 20-22
Pray: Healing “And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well.” (James 5:15a)
Read: Matthew 23-24
Pray: Purification “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” (Psalm 139:23)
Read: Matthew 25-26
Pray: Direction “See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:24)
Read: Matthew 27-28
Pray: Sending “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I, send me!’” (Isaiah 6:8)
Read: Acts 1-3
Pray: Freedom “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus, the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2)
Read: Acts 4-6
Pray: Calming “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
Read: Acts 7-9
Pray: Hope “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
Read: Acts 10-12
Pray: Filling “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19)
Read: Acts 13-15
Pray: Strength “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” (Ephesians 3:16-17)
Read: Acts 16-18
Pray: Legacy “One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your might acts.” (Psalm 145:4)
Read: Acts 19-21
Pray: Discernment “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.” (Philippians 1:9-10)
Read: Acts 22-24
Pray: Empowerment “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
Read: Acts 25-27
Pray: Guidance “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” (John 16:13)
Read: Acts 28
Pray: Trust “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” (Philippians 4:6)