January 11-31, 2021
For 21 days in January, we are asking God to awaken us to how we can help people find their way back to God
Helping people find their way back to God is our shared mission, the reason we exist as a community, the calling God has placed on us as a people. Our hope for this series and season of prayer and fasting is that every person would hear from God and join him in his mission. We are asking God to awaken us to all he has for us in the days, weeks, and months in this year.
Ask God to bring specific people to your mind and to your heart. Begin praying for those people to find their way back to him. Ask God how he wants to use you to reach them. The lives of our friends, co-workers, neighbors, and family members could be forever altered by how we awaken to God during these 21 days.
We have created two resources for you below. The Community Daily will include daily prayer prompts along with scripture, reflection, and next steps. For families, we have a resource for you to teach your kids in an age-appropriate way the meaning of prayer and fasting.
Jesus taught his apprentices to engage in practices that would help them draw near to the Father. That’s why we are inviting everyone to join us from January 11 – 31 for 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting.
Fasting is one of the oldest and most prevalent spiritual practices in the Bible. Great leaders in the Bible fasted routinely, including Moses, David, Jeremiah, Isaiah, John the Baptist, Jesus, and the disciples. In Matthew 6:16, Jesus addresses fasting when he tells the disciples, “When you fast…” Notice Jesus says “when” not “if.” Jesus assumes that we will fast. Though fasting is assumed, it is not required. We don’t have to fast. We get to fast. Like all intentional spiritual practices, fasting should not be legalistic – we are not earning approval from God through fasting.
Types of fasts
There are several different ways you can practice fasting. Here are some examples:
- Complete Fast – In this type of fast, you drink only liquids, typically water with light juices as an option.
- Selective Fast -This type of fast involves removing certain elements from your diet. One example of a selective fast is the “Daniel Fast,” during which you remove meat, sweets, and bread from your diet and consume water and juice for fluids and fruits and vegetables for food.
- Partial Fast – This fast is sometimes called the “Jewish Fast” and involves abstaining from eating any type of food in the morning and afternoon. This can either correlate to specific times of the day, such as 6:00 am to 3:00 pm, or from sunup to sundown.
- Soul Fast – This fast is a great option if your circumstances prevent you from fasting from food, you have health issues that prevent you from fasting food, or if you wish to refocus certain areas of your life that are out of balance. For example, you might choose to stop using social media or watching television for the duration of the fast.
During this 21 day fast, you can choose to fast for one day, one day a week, one meal multiple days a week, multiple days per week, etc. Your personal 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.
Fasting goes hand-in-hand with prayer. Plan to set aside the time you would normally spend on meal preparation and eating (or whatever you choose to fast from) for focused time with God. As a companion to this experience, we encourage every person to sign up for the Community Daily, where you’ll receive Scriptures, prayer prompts, and encouragement to help you during the fast. And don’t forget to join us Monday through Friday on Facebook for worship and encouragement through #Onthe8s.
During a food fast you may feel weaker than usual, irritable, and find difficulty concentrating. You may also get a headache. This is normal. You may need to restrict certain physical or social activities during your fast. Let your physical challenges draw you to a deeper dependence on God.
Do not be discouraged if you struggle the first few times you fast. It takes time to build your spiritual fasting muscles. God will honor your desire to experience his presence through this practice.
After the fast, share any insights or promptings you sensed from God during your fast with someone in your Small Group or a friend or a COMMUNITY staff member. Let’s encourage and challenge each other by sharing what we hear from God as we enter into these 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting!