Starting on January 8th, through January 29th, Movement City will pray and fast together. Though fasting is a centuries-old spiritual discipline, modeled by Jesus and many others, it may be a new or unfamiliar concept for you. The information below can help you have a successful fasting experience.
WHAT IS FASTING?
Fasting is the discipline of abstaining from something for a set period of time for spiritual purposes. 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 your soul and renews you from the inside out. It also enables you to celebrate the goodness and mercy of God and prepares your heart for all the good things God desires to bring into your life. Through fasting and prayer, the Holy Spirit can transform your life personally, and God can speak to you in new and dynamic ways.
Fasting is not required in Scripture but is highly recommended. In His teaching about fasting, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus stated, “When you fast” (Matthew 6:16). He assumed His followers would fast and then gave instruction on how to do it properly. Fasting is mentioned over 78 times in the Bible. In most cases, fasting was a private matter between an individual and God; however, occasional times of corporate or public fasts are also recorded in the Bible.
When God’s people fast with a proper Biblical motive – seeking God with a broken, repentant, and contrite spirit, God will hear from heaven and heal our lives, our family, our church, our city, our nation, and our world. Fasting and praying can bring about personal and corporate revival. Biblical fasting is simply denying oneself something for the sake of seeking and honoring God. In essence, prayer is connecting with God; fasting is disconnecting yourselves from the world.
TYPES OF FASTS
As you prepare to fast, it is important to choose a fasting plan that works for you. Fasting can include food, social media and entertainment, or even specific activities. It should be something that you are accustomed to doing so that it stretches you to make a personal sacrifice. Giving it up for a period of time enables you to focus on God. It is important to mention that there is nothing more inherently spiritual about one type of fast as opposed to another. Your personal fast should present a level of challenge, but it is very important for you 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.
This type of fast involves removing specific items from your diet. For example, you may choose to eliminate all red meat, processed/fast food, or sweets. This is a great solution for people with specific dietary needs or medical conditions that may cause certain limitations.
This type of fast involves removing meat, sweets, and bread from your diet and consuming water and juice for fluids, and fruits and vegetables for food. This is a great model to follow and one that is extremely effective in spiritual focus, bodily discipline, and purification of the body and soul.
Daniel 1:8- 20, Daniel 10:2-3.
This type of fast involves abstaining from any type of food during a specific time or meal of the day.
This fast is a great option if you do not have much experience fasting food, have health issues, or if you wish to refocus certain areas of your life that are out of balance. This type of fast encourages you to unplug from activities that keep you connected to the world. These may include television, social media, video games, and more. This is a great option to get your student or child involved.
PREPARING TO FAST
How you begin and conduct your fast will largely determine your success. By following these five basic steps to fasting, you will make your time with the Lord more meaningful and spiritually rewarding.
Step 1: Set your objective
Why are you fasting? Is it for spiritual renewal, for guidance, for healing, for the resolution of problems, or for special grace to handle a difficult situation? Ask the Holy Spirit to clarify His leading and objectives for your prayer fast. This will enable you to pray more specifically and strategically.
Step 2: Make your commitment
Pray about the type of fast in which you should participate. How long will you fast, and what food, meals, or activities will your fast include? How much time will you devote to prayer and God’s Word? Put yourself on a schedule and set aside ample time to be with the Lord. For accountability, consider communicating your plan to a spouse, family member, or trusted friend.
Step 3: Prepare your heart
> Remember that God is your Father, He loves you, and He is for you.
> Examine your heart and detect any unconfessed sin. 1 John 1:9.
> Seek forgiveness from people whom you have offended, and forgive those who have hurt you.
Mark 11:25, Luke 11:4.
> Do not underestimate spiritual opposition. Satan sometimes intensifies the natural battle between body and spirit. Galatians 5:16-17.
Step 4: Prepare your body
If you plan on fasting for several days, you will find it helpful to begin by eating smaller meals before you abstain altogether. Resist the urge to have that “last big feast” before the fast. Cutting down your meals a few days before you begin the fast will signal your mind, stomach, and appetite that less food is acceptable. Consider weaning yourself off caffeine and sugar products to ease your initial hunger or discomfort at the early stages of your fast. Prepare yourself for temporary mental discomforts such as impatience or crankiness. Expect some physical discomforts that may include hunger pangs, dizziness, or the “blahs”. Withdrawal from caffeine and sugar may cause headaches. Physical annoyances may also include weakness, fogginess, or fatigue.
Step 5: Expect results
Begin your time of fasting and prayer with an expectant heart (Hebrews 11:6). If you sincerely humble yourself before the Lord, repent, pray, and seek His face; if you consistently meditate on His Word, you will experience heightened awareness of His presence (2 Chronicles 7:14). The Lord will give you fresh, new spiritual insights. Your confidence and faith in God will be strengthened. You will feel mentally, spiritually, and physically refreshed. You will see answers to your prayers.
Always protect your health when considering any type of fast. If you experience any negative health issues during your fast, stop immediately and contact your doctor.
If you have a diagnosed illness or are taking prescription medication, talk to your doctor before fasting. The following are examples of people who should NOT fast without their doctor’s permission or without professional supervision:
> Women who are pregnant or nursing.
> Persons who are prone to eating or behavioral disorders.
> Persons who suffer from anemia or other blood conditions.
> Persons who suffer from cancer, tumors, or any other long-term or chronic illness.
> Persons who suffer from diabetes, hypoglycemia, heart conditions, or blood pressure problems.
FINAL FASTING TIPS
> Resist the temptation to binge-eat before or after a fast.
> Increase the amount of fluids you drink every day to avoid dehydration.
> Keep your fridge and pantry stocked with items you need. Being unprepared to fast sets you up to give into temptation.
> Make it a priority to attend a Movement City campus during your 21-day fast. Being around other believers will encourage you to keep on going when fasting gets difficult.
> Keep a journal with you as you study God’s Word and pray. Write down what the Holy Spirit is revealing to you.
> If you mess up, don’t get discouraged. Just get right back on track and keep going. God wants you to finish, and He will give you the grace and strength to do it!