Maximize your spiritual experience during this 21 days of prayer with fasting (January 9 – 30, 2023)
As 2023 begins, we want to start the year with 21 days set apart to seek God with all our hearts in prayer and with fasting. We know that it’s in times like these where God reveals His heart and changes ours.
DEFINITION OF FASTING
Fasting is abstaining from food for spiritual purposes. Though there are biblical accounts of people fasting from food AND water, we will consider abstaining from food only. People can fast together in a group or corporate fast or individually. People can fast at a set time each week or at special times as the Holy Spirit leads.
SHOULD ALL CHRISTIANS FAST?
The Bible regards fasting as a normal part of Christian living, and Church history indicates that the Church practiced regular fasting for several centuries after the Ascension.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE?
- Join us to fast one or multiple days between January 9 – 30, 2023 and write to email@example.com indicating the day(s) you will fast with us.
- Join the eldership for three special Wednesdays of prayer and worship in the Identity Church sanctuary on January 11, 18, and 25 from 7-8 AM, 1-2 PM, and 7-8 PM.
The following guidelines are from the book “7 Basic Steps to Successful Fasting and Prayer” by Dr. Bill Bright.
PREPARING YOUR FAST
Set Your Objective. Why are you fasting? Is it for spiritual renewal, for guidance, for healing, for the resolution of problems, 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. Through fasting and prayer we humble ourselves before God so the Holy Spirit will stir our souls, awaken our churches, and heal our land according to 2 Chronicles 7:14. Make this a priority in your fasting.
Make Your Commitment. Pray about the kind of fast you should undertake. Jesus implied that all of His followers should fast (Matthew 6:16-18; 9:14,15). For Him it was a matter of when believers would fast, not if they would do it. Before you fast, decide the following up front: how long you will fast – one meal, one day, a week, several weeks, 21 days (beginners should start slowly, building up to longer fasts) and the type of fast God wants you to undertake (such as water only or water and juice, what kinds of juice you will drink and how often). Also decide physical or social activities you will restrict. Determine how much time each day you will devote to prayer and God’s Word. Making these commitments ahead of time will help you sustain your fast when physical temptations and life’s pressures tempt you to abandon it.
Prepare Yourself Spiritually. The very foundation of fasting and prayer is repentance. Unconfessed sin will hinder your prayers. Here are several things you can do to prepare your heart: ask God to help you make a comprehensive list of your sins, confess every sin that the Holy Spirit calls to your remembrance and accept God’s forgiveness (1 John 1:9). Seek forgiveness from all whom you have offended, and forgive all who have hurt you (Mark 11:25; Luke 11:4; 17:3,4). Make restitution as the Holy Spirit leads you. Ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit according to His command in Ephesians 5:18 and His promise in 1 John 5:14,15. Surrender your life fully to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Master; refuse to obey your worldly nature (Romans 12:1,2). Meditate on the attributes of God, His love, sovereignty, power, wisdom, faithfulness, grace, compassion, and others (Psalm 48:9,10; 103:1-8, 11-13). Begin your time of fasting and prayer with an expectant heart (Hebrews 11:6). Do not underestimate spiritual opposition. Satan sometimes intensifies the natural battle between body and spirit (Galatians 5:16,17).
Prepare Yourself Physically. Fasting requires reasonable precautions. Consult your physician first, especially if you take prescription medication or have a chronic ailment. Some people should never fast without professional supervision. Physical preparation makes the drastic change in your eating routine a little easier so that you can turn your full attention to the Lord in prayer. Do not rush into your fast. Prepare your body. Eat smaller meals before starting a fast. Avoid high-fat and sugary foods. Eat raw fruit and vegetables for two days before starting a fast. Avoid drugs, even natural herbal drugs and homeopathic remedies. Medication should be withdrawn only with your physician’s supervision. Limit your activity. Exercise only moderately. Walk one to three miles each day if convenient and comfortable. Rest as much as your schedule will permit. Prepare yourself for temporary mental discomforts, such as impatience, crankiness, and anxiety. Expect some physical discomforts, especially on the second day. You may have fleeting hunger pains, dizziness, or the “blahs.” Withdrawal from caffeine and sugar may cause headaches. Physical annoyances may also include weakness, tiredness, or sleeplessness. The first two or three days are usually the hardest. As you continue to fast, you will likely experience a sense of well-being both physically and spiritually. However, should you feel hunger pains, increase your liquid intake.
Put Yourself on a Schedule. For maximum spiritual benefit, set aside ample time to be alone with the Lord. Listen for His leading. The more time you spend with Him, the more meaningful your fast will be. Morning – Before work, begin your day in praise and worship. Read and meditate on God’s Word. Invite the Holy Spirit to work in you to will and to do His good pleasure according to Philippians 2:13. Invite God to use you. Ask Him to show you how to influence your world, your family, your church, your community, your country, and beyond. Pray for His vision for your life and empowerment to do His will. Noon – For lunch break, return to prayer and God’s Word. Take a short prayer walk. Spend time in intercessory prayer for your community’s and nation’s leaders, for the world’s unreached millions, for your family or special needs. Evening – Get alone for an unhurried time of “seeking His face.” If others are fasting with you, meet together for prayer. Avoid television or any other distraction that may dampen your spiritual focus. When possible, begin and end each day on your knees with your spouse for a brief time of praise and thanksgiving to God. Longer periods of time with our Lord in prayer and study of His Word are often better spent alone. A dietary routine is vital as well. Dr. Julio C. Ruibal – a nutritionist, pastor, and specialist in fasting and prayer – suggests a daily schedule and list of juices you may find useful and satisfying.
Modify this schedule and the drinks you take to suit your circumstances and tastes:
- 5 a.m. – 8 a.m.: Fruit juices, preferably freshly squeezed or blended and diluted in 50 percent distilled water if the fruit is acid. Apple, pear, grapefruit, papaya, watermelon, or other fruit juices are generally preferred. If you cannot do your own juicing, buy juices without sugar or additives.
- 10:30 a.m. – noon: Fresh vegetable juice made from lettuce, celery, and carrots in three equal parts.
- 2:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.: Herb tea with a drop of honey. Avoid black tea or any tea with caffeine.
- 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.: Broth made from boiling potatoes, celery, and carrots with no salt. After boiling about half an hour, pour the water into a container and drink it.
Tips on Juice Fasting – Drinking fruit juice will decrease your hunger pains and give you some natural sugar energy. The taste and lift will motivate and strengthen you to continue. The best juices are made from fresh watermelon, lemons, grapes, apples, cabbage, beets, carrots, celery, or leafy green vegetables. In cold weather, you may enjoy a warm vegetable broth. Mix acidic juices (orange and tomato) with water for your stomach’s sake. Avoid caffeinated drinks. When your designated time for fasting is finished, you will begin to eat again. But how you break your fast is extremely important for your physical and spiritual well-being.
End Your Fast. Begin eating gradually. Do not eat solid foods immediately after your fast. Suddenly reintroducing solid food to your stomach and digestive tract will likely have negative, even dangerous, consequences. Try several smaller meals or snacks each day. If you end your fast gradually, the beneficial physical and spiritual effects will result in continued good health. Here are some suggestions to help you end your fast properly. Break an extended water fast with fruit such as watermelon. While continuing to drink fruit or vegetable juices, add the following:
- First day: Add a raw salad.
- Second day: Add baked or boiled potato, no butter or seasoning.
- Third day: Add a steamed vegetable.
- Thereafter: Begin to reintroduce your normal diet. Gradually return to regular eating with several small snacks during the first few days. Start with a little soup and fresh fruit such as watermelon and cantaloupe. Advance to a few tablespoons of solid foods such as raw fruits and vegetables or a raw salad and baked potato.
Expect Results. If you sincerely humble yourself before the Lord, repent, pray, and seek God’s face, if you consistently meditate on His Word, you will experience a heightened awareness of His presence (John 14:21). 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. A single fast, however, is not a spiritual cure-all. Just as we need fresh infillings of the Holy Spirit daily, we also need new times of fasting before God. A 24-hour fast each week has been greatly rewarding to many Christians. It takes time to build your spiritual fasting muscles. If you fail to make it through your first fast, do not be discouraged. You may have tried to fast too long the first time out, or you may need to strengthen your understanding and resolve. As soon as possible, undertake another fast until you do succeed. God will honour you for your faithfulness.
11 Ways to Experience & Maintain Personal Revival
- Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any unconfessed sin in your life.
- Seek forgiveness from all whom you have offended, and forgive all who have hurt you. Make restitution where God leads.
- Examine your motives in every word and deed. Ask the Lord to search and cleanse your heart daily.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to guard your walk against complacency and mediocrity.
- Praise and give thanks to God continually in all ways on all days, regardless of your circumstances.
- Refuse to obey your carnal (worldy) nature (Galatians 5:16,17).
- Surrender your life to Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord.
- Develop utter dependence on Him with total submission and humility. Study the attributes of God. Hunger and thirst after righteousness (Matthew 5:6). Love God with all of your heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:37).
- Appropriate the continual fullness and control of the Holy Spirit by faith on the basis of God’s command (Ephesians 5:18) and promise (1 John 5:14,15).
- Read, study, meditate on, and memorize God’s holy, inspired, inerrant Word daily (Colossians 3:16). Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Fast and pray one 24-hour period each week.
- Seek to share Christ daily as a way of life. Determine to live a holy, godly life of obedience and faith. Start or join a home or church Bible study group that emphasizes revival and a holy life.