Twenty-One Days of Prayer and Fasting

Fasting is denying yourself the natural, for the purpose, of calling on the supernatural.
Jesus said, “When you fast…” Our Lord fasted at times during seasons of desperate prayer. This is an all but forgotten practice in the church.It is one spiritualdiscipline that is the hardest physically and can be the most rewarding spiritually.

Physical limitations :Before you attempt to begin your fast,you might want to contact your physician. For some there are obvious medical reasons,you should not attempt a “total” fast.God made you and so He understands if you cannot fast.

Set Your Objective: Why are you fasting? There are many good,biblical reasons for fasting: for spiritual renewal, for guidance,for healing,for the answering of problems,for special grace to handle a difficult situation? Ask the Holy Spirit to clarify His leading and objectives for your prayer fast.

Commit to a length of time: start with one meal before trying one day or one week. (Beginners should start slowly, building up to longer fasts. Don’t attempt 40 days.}

What kind of fast:Biblical fasts seem to always be “total” abstention from food.Some people choose to give up certain things in place of food and call it a “fast”. While this is good,by biblical terms it is not fasting. If you do choose a “biblical fast”,again listen to your body. You may want to drink some natural fruit juices along with water. Avoid coffee and sodas.

Prepare Yourself Spiritually:The very foundation of fasting and prayer is repentance. Unconfessed sin will hinder your prayers. Here are 3 things you can do to prepare your heart:(l}CONFESS YOUR SIN; (2}COUNT ON GOD TO DO SOMETHING and (3} CONSIDER YOUR SPIRITUAL OPPOSITION

Prepare Yourself Physically: Eat smaller meals before starting a fast. Avoid high-fat and sugary foods. Eat more fruits and vegetables before starting a fast.

While You Fast:For maximum spiritual benefit,set aside ample time to be alone with the Lord.Listen for His leading. The more time you spend with Him,the more meaningful your fast will be. Read and meditate on God’s Word. Take a short prayer walk. Keep a prayer journal and write out your prayers and what God is speaking to you through His word.

Ending Your Fast : Don’t feel defeat,if you didn’t do as well as you would like to have. Celebrate small victories.Thank the Lord for His time with you and what He has taught you.

Gradually begin eating again. Don’t overeat.Try again when the time is right

Twenty-One Days of Prayer and Fasting
Woodland Heights Baptist Church

      Our Pastor is calling the whole church to observe a special period of 21 days of prayer and fasting from March 26 until Easter Sunday on April 16. This call is designed to bathe everything we do as a church in prayer, as Pastor described in the March 8 edition of The View newsletter. The call also marks a period of critical importance for us as we seek the Lord’s favor in growing our church and its ministries in the midst of a lost and dying world, under conditions of increasing economic and political turbulence. Our choir needs to respond to this call.

Prayer (talking to our Lord) is something we do regularly as part of our individual lives and corporately as part of our church. Fasting (voluntary abstinence from food) is less common, and less evident, in part because our Lord taught His disciples to fast in private (Matthew 6:16-18). Fasting was a common practice among Jews and Christians in New Testament times (Luke 2:37, Acts 14:23) and was particularly employed by Paul (II Corinthians 6:5, 11:27).

Fasting is a way to “afflict the soul” (Lev 16:29 – used for the Day of Atonement). It is typically mentioned in conjunction with prayer, because it helps us focus our thoughts, to “dispose us for other duties” (Matthew Henry). It is a way to remind us that we are not even worthy of our daily bread, and we depend on our Lord for our very existence.

How should we fast? There is no standard practice – it is up to us. Some choose to give up a particular part of a meal (e.g., abstain from meat) or a whole meal altogether (e.g. no suppers on Tuesdays and Thursdays) or all food for a period of time (as one extreme example, Christ totally fasted for 40 days when He was tempted, Matthew 4:2). Some choose to drink only water. Fasting is not designed to be unhealthy, nor to be a diet to lose weight (although some do lose weight). Ask yourself this question: What food can I give up that will help me focus more fully on praying to my Lord during these coming three weeks? Some people choose to temporarily give up particular activities as part of a fast – for example, limiting time watching television or time on social media – to make more time for prayer.

Finally, what should we pray about as we pray and fast? Again, the answer is up to each of us and the choir groups we will pray with. But there are two guidelines that might help us decide:
• What subject breaks our heart that we can share with the Lord?
• What subject concerns us the most with respect to our own life and our church that we can share with the Lord? We need to include prayer for our Pastor.

“Casting all our cares upon Him, because He cares for us” (I Peter 5:7). In that light, may the Lord richly bless us in the days ahead, as He leads Woodland Heights into a new era of growth and we depend on Him and seek His face with our burdens.

Scripture is full of examples of what happens when we fast and pray. Moses fasted while he received the Law (Exodus 24:18, 34:28); David fasted when he was oppressed by enemies and prayed for their welfare (Psalm 35:13) and he prayed for deliverance (Psalm 109:24); Elijah fasted as he fled from Jezebel (I Kings 19:8); the Lord restored Israel’s food supply when they fasted and repented (Joel 2:16-19); the Lord told Israel to celebrate fasts in joy and gladness, to love the truth and peace (Zechariah 8:19); Paul and Barnabas prayed and fasted as they commended new churches to the Lord; and Paul commended the practice to the Corinthians (I Corinthians 7:5).