At the beginning of every year we intentionally set aside 21 days to seek the Lord together as a church through prayer and fasting. Consecrating these 3 weeks as the first fruits of our year creates spiritual momentum and sets a standard for the rest of our year.
The goal of fasting is intimacy with God and clarity in hearing His voice. Biblical fasting always has to do with eliminating distractions for a spiritual purpose; laying down the pleasures of earth to take up the pleasure of heaven. It also enables us to recognize the goodness of God and align our hearts with His.
Your fast should present a level of challenge, but it is very important to know your body, your options, and, most importantly, to seek God in prayer and follow what the Holy Spirit leads you to do.
- In this type of fast, you drink only liquids, typically water with light juices as an option. It is important to drink much more water that you usually do during the day. We suggest one ounce for your bodyweight. So if you weight 150 pounds, your goal would be 150 ounces.
This fast is not for the 'spiritually elite,' mostly because that's not a thing. This is for anyone that is medically able. Still, if you are new to fasting food we would suggest you check out the Daniel Fasts and Partial Fasts to get acquainted with this discipline.
In this type of fast you remove meat, sweets, and bread from your diet and consume water and juice for fluids and fruits and vegetables for food.
This is called a 'selective fast.'
- This fast is sometimes called the “Jewish Fast” because in scripture the Jewish people would often not eat from "sun up to sun down," and involves abstaining from eating any type of food in the morning and afternoon.
Another example of a partial fast is choosing to abstain from food for a certain meal. For example, maybe you could choose to fast breakfast and lunch but still have dinner with your family.
If you are new to fasting food, we would suggest starting with this one and maybe fasting one meal a day.
- This type of fast helps to restore and refocus areas of our lives that are out of whack. For example, you might choose to stop using social media or watching television for the duration of the fast and then carefully bring that element back into your life in healthy doses at the conclusion of the fast.
- If you are able to fast food, our suggestion is pairing a food fast with a soul fast.
The word 'fast' in Hebrew literally mean to 'close the mouth' so scripturally we hold that a fast involves not partaking in food or certain types of food for a period of time. Still, not everyone is able to do this medically. If you have health issues that prevent you from fasting food this is a great option.
The focus of prayer is communion with God. It's intentionally, and unselfishly, leaning into his nearness through conversation, reflection, petition, and most importantly, just being with Him.
When we pray things happen. When we intercede, situations shift. When we are diligent, the tide begins to turn. We consecrate 21 days at the beginning of the year to prayer because it makes a huge difference in the purposes of heaven bearing fruit.