A Fast is a period of time spent giving up something in our life (usually food) for a period of time in order to focus on God. I can’t emphasize enough that the purpose of a fast is to spend time with God in prayer. It’s in the place of prayer where we find the spiritual effects we’re seeking, which is nearness to God and clarity about what He wants for our life.
While this may seem like a practice reserved for “super-christians”, it was actually a common practice for the people of God throughout the Bible. Fasting is found in the scriptures over 50 times!
In the Old Testament we often see fasting as a means of expressing grief over a difficult or tragic situation or as a means of humbling one’s self before the Lord. For instance, in the book of Joel, we see God calling His people back to himself and calling them to fast and mourn (See Joel 2:12). As many of us mourn this past year’s events as well as our current events, we can find healing and comfort from our God in the place of prayer and fasting.
In the New Testament the primary use of fasting is to grow closer to God, to enjoy His presence, to gain clarity for direction and prepare for what God calls us to do. Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness in preparation for His ministry (see Matthew 4:1-2). In Acts 13:1-3 the leaders of the church in Antioch fasted and prayed before sending off Paul and Barnabus on a missionary journey. If you need clarity on the next step in your life, fasting is a great way to commune with the Lord and ask for that direction and guidance.
I’m excited about this season because I can personally testify to the power of fasting and prayer. Some of my most intimate times of spiritual breakthrough with the Lord have been in seasons of fasting. I believe one of the reasons I came to faith in Christ was because of my college roommate’s 21 days of fasting and prayer. I believe these seasons are pivotal moments in the life of a believer and I pray that you would find spiritual breakthrough the next 21 days.
I do want to make it clear that we don’t fast for the dietary benefits, or as a means to just get what we want from the Lord. We fast and pray because God deserves to be first in our life. So many times we get out of sync, caught up in so much of the world that it’s easy for God to slide down our list of priorities and values. Like the passage we shared above in Joel 2, God wants us to return to Him. He wants us to put Him in His rightful place in our lives, which is first.
With that being said, here are some things you can seek the Lord for during this fast. I would also encourage you to journal as you pray and write down specific things you are praying for and specific things the Lord shows you as well as prayers He answers.
Fasting and prayer to hear from God.
Fasting and prayer to expose sin in our life.
Fasting and prayer to strengthen our faith.
Fasting and prayer to grow our intimacy with God.
Fasting and prayer to be comforted by God.
Drink only liquids for a fixed amount of time/days.
Eat only fruits, vegetables, nuts and drink water and juices.
Fasting for a certain portion of the day and devoting that time to prayer.
Giving up something in your daily life to be replaced with time spent with God. Some good ideas would be: Social Media Apps and Television.
Set the objective for your fast. We will be providing Scriptures and prayer points throughout the next 21 days, but fasting is a time that’s very personal for you and the Lord.
Commit to your fast. Pray about the type of fast you want to do, the number of days and commit to it. Covenants are a very important idea throughout the Bible. See this time as a covenant commitment with the Lord. Commitment is key to experience God through prayer and fasting.
Make physical and spiritual preparations. Write down a plan for your fast whether it be food or whatever you decided to withhold and make the necessary preparations you’ll need.
Expect results from your fast. We walk by faith, not by sight. As we step in faith to withhold something and replace it with God, expect God to show Himself faithful to meet you where you are and to really answer prayer.
**Not everyone needs to fast from food or from a normal diet. If you have health conditions that won’t allow for a fast from your normal diet, you can fast another part of your life that will be sacrificial and can be replaced with time spent with the Lord.
This week's prayer focus will be for the Church. We’ll be asking God to grow the Church stronger in our faith and unity. Revival has to come to the Church before it can go forth to a nation.Click here for this weeks scriptures and prayer thoughts.
This week's prayer focus will be our nation. Praying that God would send sweeping revival across our nation. That the people of America would turn their hearts back to God.