As an elder team we believe that God has challenged us to press into prayer this year. We are learning what that means, but we believe that desperation, confidence and participation are words that God is putting on our hearts to lean into. We are loving what we are learning so far and are genuinely longing for more. We want more desperation in our prayers. We want more confidence to approach the Father in every believer and we want more participation with Jesus in the work that he is doing through the Holy Spirit.
As we focus our attention on Easter this year, there is a sense of anticipation. Last year we saw a number of baptisms and an incredible response to Jesus. We want more. Maybe that sounds too ambitious, but we want to see more ground taken for the Kingdom of God as we present the risen Christ to a community that has suffered tragedy and turmoil. We want Jesus to be seen, known, felt, and believed.
We are calling a fast to contend for the souls of those who don’t know Jesus in our city. We believe in the power of prayer and that if anything of significance is going to happen it is going to be birthed in prayer. So let’s pray and fast on behalf of those who don’t know Jesus.
7 DAYS OF PRAYER
why are we fasting?
“You have to sacrifice something to make room for something else.” --George Harris from Anthem Summit
In preparation for the most intense season of ministry in human history, Jesus fasted for 40 days. (Matthew 4)
In preparation for a challenging journey, Ezra called for a fast. (Ezra 8:21-23)
As you read through the Scriptures and see the fasts of the Bible, they are centered around mourning, imploring God (David’s sick child), desperation (Nehemiah’s longing for Jerusalem) and cries for mercy (Daniel).
In Isaiah, we read that fasting has been abused and God shows them how they have fasted, but still been blind to the needs in front of them. (Isaiah 58).
These passages show that fasting is not a magic bullet, but it is absolutely an action that is implemented throughout Scripture to cry out to God.
We believe in the sovereign power of God to will and to work for his good pleasure (Philippians 2:16). We also believe in the command to pray and we see the apostles, prophets and teachers fasting in the book of Acts in key moments… and God responds (Acts 13-14).
So we walk in that tension of trusting a sovereign God and following the pattern of the Scriptures to seek God for ________.
So, what are we seeking God for?
A friend named Alan Scott recently wrote this: The dream of God over your life is not that you become a believer and help out the local church. The dream of God over your life is that you come alive in His presence and bring life to every environment, spilling contagious hope into hurting humanity.
We are seeking God for:
His presence. We want God to fill us. Empower us. Reveal his glorious presence and power in increasing measure (Eph 3:14-21)
The life of God (John 1:4-5). We want the light to shine in the darkness. The life of God to spill out of us into every environment that we walk into.
Hope for hurting humanity (Matthew 9:35-38). Our community is hurting, lonely, depressed, confused, ambitious for the wrong things, apathetic to the right things. This place that we live in, that we love… it lacks the life of God.
We are fasting and praying for God to come alive in us, to overflow that life into the places we go and to bring light and hope into a hurting community.
what types of fasts are there?
The fast you choose should present a level of challenge, but it’s important to know you body, your options, and most importantly, to seek God in prayer and follow what the Holy Spirit leads you to do. Fasting requires reasonable precautions. Take into consideration your health, any current medical conditions, and consult your physician, especially if you have health concerns, are taking medication, have a chronic condition, or are pregnant or nursing.
Here are a few types of fasts:
Complete Fast → You drink only liquids.
Partial Fast → This involves abstaining form eating any type of food in the morning and afternoon. Typically know as a sunup to sundown fast. You can also use specific times of the day, for example: 7:00AM-7:00PM.
Selective Fast → You remove certain elements from your diet. But, once again, there is an element of fasting where you are removing that is otherwise something normal in your diet.
Soul Fast → This is a good option in there are health concerns that prevent a full or partial fast. An example might be eliminating all media (social media, TV, music, podcasts, etc.), for the duration of the fast.
where do i start, and when is it over?
Our 7 days of fasting will start on Saturday, April 6th at 12:00 Noon. Take the opportunity the week leading up to the fast to share with your community group. What are you excited about? Nervous about? What type of fast are you doing? We will be breaking the fast on Saturday, April 13th.
what to do while fasting
Each time you feel a hunger pain or think about food or take a lunch break (with no lunch!), use it as a prompt for prayer. Turn your heart to God and ask him to starve your flesh and feed your Spirit. Use your imagination to “see” yourself drawing strength from God himself.
Here are a few other things that can be incorporated into those prayer times:
Break a Habit → Identify a specific sin or habit or pattern in your “flesh” that you want to break. Spend the fast in prayer for freedom in that area.
Journal → Take a little time for self-reflection. Get your journal out or go for a walk and think about what this practice is revealing about you. Richard Foster said, “Fasting reveals the things that control us.” If you just feel “hangry” all day, or if you can’t make it more than a few hours, ask yourself, “Why do I feel this way?” Treat yourself compassionately, as God does, yet honestly as well. Remember: the point isn’t a guilt trip, but freedom.
Read Scripture → “Feed” on the word of God, like Jesus did in the wilderness.
how can i prepare to fast?
Here are a few practical tips to prepare:
Think about your plan, write it down, and share it with your community group. Begin your fast with a committed heart.
Eliminate caffeine from your diet a few days before you begin. This will help reduce the likelihood of headaches.
Enter into the fast by ramping in, eater smaller meals or even skipping a few meals before the fast. Similarly, at the end of the fast, ramp off, i.e. don’t eat a huge feast the day after the fast, but slowly introduce greater amounts to food back in.
Consult with your physician if you have medical concerns or questions.
WRITE IT DOWN
MY FASTING PLAN:
WHAT I’M CONTENDING FOR: