Prepare for 21 Days of Prayer & Fasting

Our pastors and Soul Care Team 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 call 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 3 days on January 22nd, I 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, I 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. I also encourage you to listen to this short 15 minute message on what fasting is and what it's not that I taught on a few weeks ago at Newton's Sunday service.

Here's a list of reasons to fast:

  1. Are you in need of healing or a miracle?
  2. Do you need the tender touch of God in your life?
  3. Is there a dream inside you that only He can make possible?
  4. Are you in need of a fresh encounter?
  5. Do you desire a deeper, more intimate and powerful relationship with the Lord?
  6. Are you ready to have heightened sensitivity to the desires of God?
  7. Do you need to break away from bondage that have been holding you hostage?
  8. Is there a friend or loved one that needs Salvation?
  9. 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, sex, alcohol or social media during these 21 days, I want to encourage you to consider following the true Biblical model to receive the greatest benefits. Abstaining for 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 okay if that's where you want to start, but I've learned I see more spiritual breakthrough when I follow the model I 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.

I 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. Every day, you'll have an email in your inbox at 8pm with the next day's corporate devotional and corporate prayer request and a worship song for the day. I encourage you to make your own personal prayer requests, too! Maybe you can come up with 21! TIP: Set alarms in your calendar so you don't forget!

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 you use the resources that Church of the Highlands (our coaching network) offers? PRAYER + FASTING RESOURCES . Whatever you use, the key is to keep it fresh and interesting!


Here's a sample schedule, I suggest you follow:

BREAKFAST: Read a chapter from the Bible in the morning and pray for your personal needs by journaling about them before leaving for your day

LUNCH: Listen to a sermon during your lunch, and one or two worship songs

DINNER: Come eat at the "family table" (see below) with our corporate devotional and then pray for our corporate prayer requests before bed by journaling about them


PREPARATION STEP #4: SIT DOWN AT THE FAMILY TABLE

Corporately, we'll be resourcing you with devotionals and studies from the book "SOUL FOOD" by author/teacher Havilah Cunnington from Bethel Church in Redding, CA. This study is 20 days long and will be the perfect companion to our corporate fast as it compares and contrasts the food types we read about in the Bible (like milk and honey) with the different spiritual and emotional hunger pangs we all have as humans (like the need to be loved). This study will explore how God seeks to fill our needs and feed us. You're welcome to buy the book if you'd like to go a little deeper. This is a practical study for your day as you can do each in about 15 minutes! We'll send you devotional thoughts every day from the book, but there are also video teachings that are 7-12 minutes long by the author herself that I highly encourage you to take advantage! To access these FREE videos, you must enroll for the Soul Food Course (all free).

ENROLL IN SOUL FOOD COURSE HERE

PURCHASE SOUL FOOD BOOK HERE (use Amazon Smile to benefit StoryHeights Church)


SUPPLIES YOU'LL NEED:

Bible

Journal

Water (stay hydrated!)


Well, that's it! Make sure that you look for your first email on Saturday, January 21st around 8pm so that you can be ready to start on January 22nd strong! 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!

-Pastors Tyler & Crystal Tullos & The Soul Care Team