21 DAYS OF PRAYER & FASTING
“If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” -God, Jeremiah 29:13 NLT
Bible Reading Plan
During this 21-Day period, (Jan 7-27, 2019) the Bible Reading Plan will be focused on our All Church Prayer and Fasting Initiative. Each day you will receive scripture and a prayer prompt that will help you focus on how God wants to work in you and through you this year. If you have already signed up for our Bible Reading Plan, you will receive this in your in-box automatically. In addition, be sure to join the Facebook group for daily videos from COMMUNITY Staff to dig deeper into this Bible Reading Plan
The goal of fasting is to draw nearer to God. Biblical fasting always has to do with eliminating distractions for a spiritual purpose; it hits the reset button of our soul and renews us from the inside out. Fasting allows us to create space in our minds and hearts for more of God’s presence.
The leadership of COMMUNITY senses that God has “greater things” in store for us as a church in the coming year (John 14:12). We want to be spiritually prepared for what is next so we’ve decided to enter into this season with a church-wide focus on prayer and fasting. From January 7th through January 27th, we are challenging one another to explore God’s character to come to know him better and discover who he has called us to be as individuals and as a community.
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. Jesus expects that we will fast regularly. In Matthew 6:16, Jesus addresses fasting specifically 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.
Prayer & Fasting
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 COMMUNITY’s Bible Reading Plan. Each day during the 21 days, the plan will direct you to explore an aspect of God’s character through Scripture reading and prayer. Together, we will explore God’s power, explore God’s mercy, explore God’s justice, etc. Sign up for the plan at communitychristian.org/Bible.
During a 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!