Preparing for 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting
StoryHeights Church Team
Our pastors and leadership team here at StoryHeights are so excited that you're going to participate in this year's season of prayer and fasting. For 21 days, we're going to spend intentional time seeking God's presence, voice and will. We are believing God for miraculous breakthroughs and greater spiritual health for everyone that calls StoryHeights home, as well as everyone that we will pray for along the way! As Christians, there are times in our lives when we must deny ourselves physically in order to gain strength spiritually. When we fast, we remove distractions and strengthen our spirit and connection with God.
With the fast beginning in just a few days on January 21st, we want to help you get prepared and make a plan for your fast.
PREPARATION STEP #1: DECIDE WHY YOU'RE FASTING
Before you start this journey, we encourage you to read about Jesus' fast in Matthew 4:1-11 or Luke 1:1-13. There's also great insight about corporate fasting in these passages: 1 Samuel 7:5-6, Ezra 8:21-23, Nehemiah 9:1-3, Joel 2:15-16, Jonah 3:5-10, Acts 27:33-37.
Here's a list of reasons to fast:
- Are you in need of healing or a miracle?
- Do you need the tender touch of God in your life?
- Is there a dream inside you that only He can make possible?
- Are you in need of a fresh encounter?
- Do you desire a deeper, more intimate and powerful relationship with the Lord?
- Are you ready to have heightened sensitivity to the desires of God?
- Do you need to break away from bondage that have been holding you hostage?
- Is there a friend or loved one that needs Salvation?
- Do you desire to know God’s will for your life?
PREPARATION STEP #2: DECIDE WHAT YOU'RE GOING TO FAST
In the Bible, whenever you see someone fasting, they're voluntarily abstaining from food or types of food for a set time. While it's okay to fast chocolate, alcohol, social media, etc. during these 21 days, we encourage you to consider following the true Biblical model to receive the greatest benefits. Abstaining from types of food or all food for a set time helps you to gain mastery over your flesh, gain power over lust and greed, gain more self-control, and increases your hunger which will remind you of your spiritual hunger. Fasting luxuries is totally okay if that's where you want to start, but we've seen powerful breakthrough when following the original model we see in the Bible. Plus, God didn't encourage us to fast in order to deny us pleasure; rather, He wanted to give us freedom!
Fasting is not about losing weight, nor is it a matter or prerequisite to salvation. Therefore, I encourage you to seek medical advice to make sure that you're healthy enough to fast before proceeding.
There are many types of food fasts that you can do. Check out this site full of great ideas, FASTING IDEAS.
We do encourage you, though, that whatever you decide to fast, make sure that you pick something that you feel is achievable and sustainable and within your level of faith. Remember, babies crawl before they walk; and healthy mature adults never crawl. They walk and even run when necessary!
PREPARATION STEP #3: PREPARE YOUR SPIRITUAL MEALS
That was not a mistake! Fasting is not dieting, and it should ALWAYS be coupled with prayer and reading the Bible (your spiritual food). Check out these passages to understand why prayer + reading the Word + fasting is integral: 1 Samuel 1:6-8, 17-18, Nehemiah 1:4, Daniel 9:3, 20, Joel 2:12, Luke 2:37, Acts 10:30, Acts 13:2. As you tune out the World, tune out your flesh, you should TUNE IN to the Spirit and Voice of God. If you'll replace your physical meal times with spiritual meal times, you'll see significant gains in your spiritual health.
You're welcome to use any Bible reading plan in a version you understand best that you feel God wants you to study. May we suggest some resources from Church of the Highlands? PRAYER + FASTING RESOURCES. Whatever you use, the key is to keep it fresh and interesting!
We also encourage you to join us every day as we continue our corporate one-year Bible reading plan! We will be using the Read Scripture App through The Bible Project. For more information about that, check here.
SUPPLIES YOU'LL NEED:
Water (stay hydrated!)
Well, that's it! Make sure you look out for our weekly blog posts from StoryHeights members as we journey through the fast together!
Finally, remember, you're not doing this alone! If you begin to struggle, please reach out to your pastors or a church family member. We are here to help you! We cannot wait to see what the Lord does in your life and in the life of our church as we seek Him!
- The StoryHeights Team